Ms D M Pyattm

The Hon. C.L. WINGARD (Gibson—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing) (15:41): Before I make my grieve, I table the quote as requested by the member for West Torrens during my response to a question in question time.

It is with sorrow that I address the house on the passing, on 8 April 2009, of Ms Dorothy Pyatt OAM, one of South Australia Police's women policing pioneers. Dorothy May Pyatt OAM was born in London on 26 August 1918 and celebrated her 100th birthday last year.

Dorothy had a wonderful policing career as both a woman police officer and then as a woman police auxiliary, retiring in 1983. She is best known for her long-term commitment and outstanding contribution to the South Australia Police Historical Society, which was formally acknowledged by her being awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2007. Throughout her career, Ms Pyatt also received two Commissioner's Commendations, in 1951 and 1957, for 'zeal and attention to duty'.

Ms Pyatt was only eight years old when she and her family emigrated to Adelaide in 1926. In 1947, at the age of 29, she joined South Australia Police as a Women Police constable. At that time, the Women Police were a separate branch from that of the male officers, with the majority of their work linked to criminal or welfare matters involving women and children. She also joined the Women's Royal Australian Naval Service towards the end of World War II.

In 1951, Ms Pyatt was chosen to be stationed at divisional headquarters at Port Augusta. At that time, it was one of the largest policing districts in all of Australia, covering more than one million square kilometres. As the first female police officer in the town of 6,000, Ms Pyatt caused a sensation and people often came to the police station window just to look at her. She continued to break ground for women in her career, becoming the first Women Police constable to obtain an Operators Certificate in radio telephony, the only means of communication in the area at the time. She later was the first Women Police constable to obtain a permit to drive a police Land Rover.

Passionate about history and the area she patrolled, she found city life was not to her liking after being recalled to Adelaide in 1967, so she resigned from the police force and returned to England, where she joined the Women's Royal Voluntary Service. Later, after returning to Adelaide, she rejoined South Australia Police in 1972 as a woman police auxiliary and was posted to the Adelaide CIB. She held this position until her retirement in 1983.

Ms Pyatt was an inaugural member of the South Australia Police Historical Society and was made a life member of the organisation in 1986. Ms Pyatt was the driving force behind the collection, restoration and preservation of the society's 31,000 photos. She was also heavily involved in locating the burial places of police officers in cemeteries across the state and in the renovation of their graves.

I am honoured to acknowledge the life of such an important and well-respected pioneer. I also acknowledge the member for Florey's interest in Ms Pyatt's career. Ms Pyatt was a true South Australian who made an enormous contribution to South Australia Police and the community she served for so many years. May she rest in peace.

Authorised by Corey Wingard MP, Member for Gibson. Level 2, 1 Milham Street Oaklands Park SA 5046. ©Copyright / Legal / Login