Territory Stories

The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society



The citation : Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society


Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society Inc


Citation; E-Journals; PublicationNT; Citation






Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Northern Territory Police Historical Society; Northern Territory Police Force; History; Police; Periodicals

Publisher name

Northern Territory Police Museum & Historical Society Inc

Place of publication





v. 7 no. 6

File type



1839-3918; 1839-390X


Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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~"t",,,ed ~ m 1'''9'' 5 A couple of days later] was driving passed the hotel and Johnson store heading towards the Police Station. When near the store] was startled by two loud reports of a fireann being discharged nearby. ] stopped the utility and saw Johnson outside his premises with a long barrelled .45 revolver in his right hand. "What is all the shooting about Jack?" ] asked. "] was only trying to scare the pub goats away Gordon. Johnnie lets them wander and they keep coming on my property." ] said, "When 1 see Johnnie again 1 will mention it. Don't fire anymore shots about here. It is dangerous." That night an agitated Johnnie O'Shea called on me. "You will have to do something about Johnson," he quavered. "He has been threatening to shoot me and using dreadful language. " ] told O'Shea about the shots fired that afternoon, and Johnson's complaint about the hotel goats. "Goats be damned," exclaimed Johnnie. "They were nowhere near his place. The goat shepherd, Jemina, had them down along Rocky Creek. Johnson meant to scare you when he fired those shots. It is more than a coincidence he fired just as you were driving past." "Anyway, he didn't scare me," ] assured .0' Shea. "When 1 was at Tennant Creek] came up against gunmen, or would-be gUlunen, on more than one occasion, an I'm still alive to tell the tale. ] will have a talk with Johnson and let you know later." "Take your gun with you," the hotelkeeper advised. . "] think 1 can handle this without resorting to firearms,"] replied. "Don't say 1 didn't warn you," retorted O'Shea. certainly hesitated to antagonise him by carrying a revolver. Johnson was lying, fully dressed, on his bed in a room at the rear of the store when ] entered at his invitation, after knocking at the door. 1 told him the substance of O'Shea's complaint, and asked the cause of the trouble between them. "O'Shea isa liar," Johnson exclaimed. "] only threatened to shoot his goats if they trespassed on my property again." I pointed out that he could not take the law into his own hands in that fashion. Johnson then burst out, "It is Johnnie's brother, Tim, who started the trouble. He put that boy up to take Florida away. She was a good worker, and he only wanted her as cheap labour in his pubs." "Nonsense," 1 retorted. "1 knew some time ago that Dick was coming to claim her. Under tribal law she belongs to him as her former husband was his brother. It just happened that he got a lift out of here with Tim 0' Shea." "Nothing can make me believe that Tim O'Shea wasn't behind it all," was Johnson's rejoinder. "Even if he was, 1 don't see why you are taking it out on Johnnie, who had nothing to do with it," I said. 'They are al tarred wi,th the same brush," Johnson replied. . "Look Jack," I advised. "We are only a small white commnnity here amongst a larger Aboriginal population. There is no reason why we all shouldn't enjoy a peaceful life without any trouble. You are upset about Florida, and 1 am sure you . will get over it in time. My advice to you is to go away for a while, a canoe trip down the coast perhaps. Then when you have calmed down you will see things in their right perspective." "That sounds a good idea," said Johnson. "I may take your advice." After leaving Johnson I ran into John It was with mixed feelings that I walked O'Shea outside. 1 told him that I had down to Johnson's store later on. Maybe spoken to Johnson and that he seemed Johnson was exaggerating as he and alright now. 1 advised the hotelkeeper to Johnson always appeared to be on go to bed and not to worry. fiiendly terms. ] was reluctant to take any shouting, "You bastard O'Shea, dobbing me in with the police again. ] will get you and your precious brother if it's the last thing I do." He aimed a blow at 0' Shea but 1 grabbed his arm and it failed to connect. In the same instant Johnnie lashed out with a large electric torch, striking Johnson on the face. "Let me go Gordon," Johnsonyelled. "You hold me while he hits me." Breaking away from me, Jack rushed in to his premises and returned brandishing a large revolver. "1 will get you both for this," he shouted. "I'll burn the damned pub down first." Speaking quietly, 1 said, "Put that gun down Jack." Johnson pointed the weapon at me and yelled, "Stand back Gordon. I'll shoot you if you try to stop me." 1 stood back, and he rushed around the back of the hotel. 1 ran towards the police station. Looking back 1 saw the reflection of flames behind the hotel. Before reaching the station 1 met Tracker Donegan coming towards me. 1 told him what had happened as we both raced into the office. 1 quickly loaded a .45 service revolver and a .303 rifle and returned to the hotel with the tracker. Both the hotel and Johnson's premises were in darkness. 1 called out and John O'Shea emerged from the rear of the hotel. "1 don't know where Johnson has gone," he Mid. "I saw flames behind the pub as 1 was running back to the station." 1 said. "Yes Johnson set fire to some papers in the storeroom. After he left 1 ran in and put it out with a few buckets of water. Have a look." 1 looked inside a door while O'Shea iIIuruinated the interior of the storeroom witll his torch. 1 saw some blackened papers and several planks of the board floor were charred. "Lucky you got to it in time or the whole place would have gone," 1 observed. drastic action against the latter on "1 am not sure that he is alright. Can you Next morning 1 drove the utility to account of his assistance to me in the lend me a gun to defend myself with?" Johnson's store. Prior to leaving the stolen revolver case, and for other O'Shea asked. station I buckled on my gun belt with a reasons. Perhaps] could smooth out any Just then Johnson rushed out of his store loaded.45 Webley revolver in the holster. trouble when 1 talked to Johnson. I e" .. tutued "',cape 7 Volume 7, No 6 - December 2001, Page 6