Edward Napoleon Buonaparte Catchlove South Australian History

Edward Napoleon Buonaparte Catchlove

ENB Catchlove
Courtesy of his Great Grandson

Henry Catchlove and his nine year old son George Henry, left England on the Hooghly on 20 February 1839 and arrived at Port Adelaide on 17 June 1839. On 26 July 1840, Henry married Emma Filmer. His son George Henry, from his first marriage, became the publican of the Bridge Hotel at Echunga and also showed an interest in mining. At one stage he held shares in the Lyndoch Valley Mining Company. He died on 17 October 1892, aged sixty-one. Most of Henry and Emma's children died very young. Those few who survived to adulthood would also have the sad experience of having many children being born but few living for any great length of time.

Edward Napoleon Buonaparte Catchlove, the first child of this second marriage, was born in Adelaide on 16 March 1842 and lived a long life. His brother Francis Henry, born in 1846 also had a long life. Annie Bertha lived long enough to get married at the age of 23 to Robert Henry Fiveash on 29 October 1873. Most of their other children died very young. Amelia Ada Augusta and Henry Charles both died at the age of five, William Harold only lasted sixteen months whereas Alfred Henry barely made it to twenty-one months. Harriett Louisa died on 6 April 1863, age fifteen months and Charles Henry who was born in 1853 just made seven months. The death of Amelia Ada was reported in the Adelaide Register of 30 July 1864.

Whereas Henry and some of his family were, or became, involved in the hotel and brewery trade, Edward, and his younger brother Francis Henry preferred the open spaces and joined the police force. Edward, after enlisting as a third class Trooper on 4 March 1863 and initial service in and around Adelaide, gained promotion and a transfer to the north of South Australia.

On 13 April 1865 he was promoted and became a second class Trooper. A year later he was stationed at Yalata on the West Coast as first class Trooper and postmaster. However on 1 January 1867 he was demoted to third class Trooper while at Fowlers Bay.

As it turned out, 1867 became an eventful year. On 26 April Catchlove was able to arrest J. McInnery for cattle duffing at Black Rock, Coonatto, Willochra and Lake Hope and recover all the cattle. By August of the same year he had regained his first class status again. The only sad part of the year was the death of his father, Henry on 26 October 1867 and his little brother William Herald on 12 December 1867.

Yalata Homestead

Edward enjoyed the police work and did well, wherever he was posted. Even better results were obtained in 1869 when he was able to arrest T. Whitehead for indecent assault on four year old Fanny M. Warland of Echunga on 11 June 1869. All the while though he longed for more excitement and seeing new places.

On 15 March 1870 he applied for a transfer to the Northern Territory but was unsuccessful. Although considered for the shortlist he missed out because of his health, having just broken his leg, and because another trooper was considered to be better qualified. The other trooper was Samuel Gason who already had a long experience with, and knowledge of, Aborigines and their habits. Having set his mind on going north Catchlove did not take no for an answer. He went to see a doctor who gave him a certificate stating that he found Catchlove 'in perfect health'. With this good news he applied again on 31 March.

This time he wrote 'I am glad to say that my leg has much improved and should the Commissioner of Police be pleased to give me one of the vacancies in place of one of the Troopers returning I feel fully confident that I shall be well able to perform any duties imposed upon'. A week later he wrote an additional letter informing the inspector that he had considerable experience in shoeing horses and the treatment and curing of injured feet. After another medical examination by Dr William Talbot Clindening, who also found him to be in good health and fit to proceed to the Northern Territory Catchlove did get his transfer on 14 April 1870.

His contingent was commanded by Inspector Paul Foelsche, who had previously been the Officer in Charge of the Strathalbyn Police Station. They travelled from Adelaide on the Schooner Gulnare and arrived at Darwin on 14th June 1870.

Gulnare at Southport 1871 (SLSA)

First Class Trooper Catchlove kept a diary where he made daily entries, which included all the happenings at the small outpost, as well as their duties, his thoughts of his contemporaries, the weather, and the general life styles of the small community. It also contained many references to cockroaches, sand flies, pleuro-pneumonia, bunged eyes, boils, sores caused by scurvy due to lack of vegetables and mosquitoes.

After two years service he resigned on 30 April 1872 to run a business in Palmerston in partnership with his older sister Rosa Haussen and Robert Henry Fiveash. After the death of her husband Rosa remarried in 1874 Her second husband was Frederick Estcourt Bucknall who later became Mayor of Hindmarsh and a Member of Parliament. He is best known for building Estcourt House in 1882, for which Rosa laid the foundation stone. For two years the large family lived in it looked after by many servants and entertaining on a large scale. Sadly the property had to be sold to settle the accounts with his creditors.

While building a store and residence, Catchlove became also involved in the gold mania of the Northern Territory. He was keen enough to walk to the diggings at Yam Creek Reef where he camped with a party of prospectors from Kapunda. On 5 December 1872 he applied for a claim in the names of Fiveash and Catchlove. He also obtained a part share in another claim at Yam Creek from Charles Gavin Neil and 'some nice pieces of gold to make two wedding rings'. A month later he proposed to Lilly Fiveash, whom he hoped 'would be Mrs. Edward Napoleon Buonaparte Catchlove in twelve months from now'. As it turned out, his northern adventure was not very successful, he did not catch his love, made no gold discoveries and the partnership of Rosa Haussen, Robert Henry Fiveash and Catchlove was dissolved by mutual consent on 1 November 1873.

Catchlove continued in partnership with Fiveash but soon became disillusioned with his partner and eventually returned to South Australia where on 13 December 1875 he rejoined the police. Once again he started as a third class Trooper in Adelaide before being stationed at Sliding Rock and other stations in the north. By 1877 he had transferred to Waukaringa and Edward finally married fifteen year old Elizabeth Jane Roberts on 6 September 1877 at the residence of her father William Roberts at Waukaringa. They were to have twelve children in due course.

Their first son, Henry Edward, was born on 20 January 1879 at Waukaringa. Catchlove stayed for some time at this gold mining township and saw all the action, hopes and despairs, tried to settle arguments between the miners, issued licences, arrested those who broke the laws and was promoted several times. His good work was appreciated and on the first of September 1880 he attained the rank of First Class Mounted Constable. A second son was born on 8 July 1881 in Adelaide and on 19 February 1883 the Catchlove household expanded even further when Ernest William was born at Copperhouse.

In January 1882, Catchlove asked his superiors for a Justice of the Peace to be appointed at Waukaringa. Prisoners now had to be taken more than hundred kilometres to the nearest JP. who could be absent when he arrived with his prisoner. He recommended Edward Poynton Evans, manager of the Mid Alma gold mine for the position. His request was supported by the Acting Commissioner who added 'that a mining population is generally a rowdy one and I think that although the number of cases have not as yet been very large, it would be as well to have the means of dealing with them on the spot'.

On 24 January 1884 Catchlove was severely reprimanded for discourteous behaviour involving the local Magistrate and transferred to Yongala. It was at Yongala that Henry Edward died on 1 May 1885 age just six years. Two days after this tragic event Elizabeth gave birth to Edward Hurtle. After a short time there he was appointed to Farina on 25 August 1885. Regardless of the many different postings Elizabeth was able to join him most of the time, although living conditions for her and the young children must have been horrendous. On 8 June 1887 she gave birth once more, this time it was a girl who was named Emily Ediva. While at Farina Catchlove was twice more severely reprimanded for speaking roughly and writing offensive remarks and in January 1887 he was censured for drinking at the local hotel at midnight.

On 4 November 1887 he was transferred to what would have been South Australia's most isolated and largest police district with some of the poorest facilities and buildings at the Diamantina Police Camp. Here he and his family worked with Mounted Constables Burt and Grosser. For more than five years he performed his job well travelling the desert sand dunes, Sturt's Stony Desert and the Birdsville and Strzelecki Tracks. Tragidy though struck here too; Emily had to be taken to Adelaide where she died on 6 January 1889. Another son was born on 22 October 1889 but not at the Diamantina Police Camp. Elizabeth must have taken the family down south as Albert Harold was born at Hampton. In 1891 Catchlove, who was still in the far north, gained the additional appointment of Inspector of Stock.

Beltana became his next posting on 29 November 1892. This town had first class accommodation with a large stone police station and living quarters. Two more children were born at Beltana, Emma Jane on 25 November 1894 and Lionel Clarence on 26 September 1896.

Catchlove's next station was at Port Augusta where he was posted on 31 December 1897 followed by Fowlers Bay on 17 January 1898. While there he also was appointed clerk of the court, bailiff, affidavits commissioner and temporary stock inspector. Once again Elizabeth and family went with him and on 15 May 1899 Cecil Horace was born at this west coast town followed by Elsie Maud on 17 July 1901 and Roy Oswald on 20 April 1903.

The last transfer was announced on 17 April 1903. Again the family packed up and had only just settled in at Goodwood when Roy Oswald died on 23 October 1903. On 1 January 1904 Catchlove was promoted to Senior Constable. He resigned on 31 March 1907 and died on 20 June 1920. His wife Elizabeth died on 16 July 1949.

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