The grandfather of the Victoria Police

October 02, 2017

Bob Dowdell (front) with daughters Joy Rowston, Annie Dowdell and Jennifer Hall.

Shepparton Police Senior Sergeant Ross Brittain presents Bob Dowdell with a gift from Victoria Police.

Bob Dowdell's Victoria Police headshot. He served on the force from 1942-1966

TO MAKE it through one century of life is a big achievement alone, but former Moama local Bob Dowdell was bestowed with another important milestone this week.

Celebrating his 100th birthday on Sunday, Mr Dowdell was presented with a special memento from the Victoria Police, having served as an officer from 1942 until his retirement in 1966.

‘‘Bob is actually the oldest retired Victoria Police member,’’ Shepparton police Senior Sergeant Ross Brittain said while visiting Mr Dowdell on Monday.

Mr Dowdell was presented with the Victoria Police’s 150-year anniversary book as well as a card from Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton. Mr Dowdell is pictured above in his first police headshot.

‘‘One hundred years is a fantastic effort,’’ Sen Sgt Brittain said.

‘‘And you’re looking really well.’’

Mr Dowdell thanked Sen Sgt Brittain and fondly recalled his time in the police force.

‘‘I was always happy in the police force,’’ he said.

‘‘I made a lot of friends.’’

He laughed as he spoke about the many people around the district who could remember him issuing them their driver’s licence.

Having joined the force in the early 1940s, Mr Dowdell said it was very different from today’s operations.

‘‘We used to work 13 days each fortnight,’’ he said.

‘‘And we earned five quid every week.’’

In his role as first constable, Mr Dowdell and his fellow officers were required to clean the station each night before the night shift officers began work.

‘‘Just as I was leaving (the force) they finally decided to put a cleaner on,’’ he said.

Mr Dowdell, also an accomplished footballer, decided to join the force with his work friend Tom.

‘‘I was a country boy, working in the country,’’ he said. ‘‘I had a mate who was two years younger and he was working ...on the farm. He said he was hoping to finish and join the police force so we joined together.’’

Playing ruck for the police football side, Mr Dowdell cemented himself in the state’s history books.

Mr Dowdell was joined by family and staff at the presentation at Banskia Lodge, where he now resides. Its care manager David Shipston also presented him with a framed photo collage of his time there.

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