Friday, March 25, 2011

The Young Constable "The Case of the Tuberculosised Chimpanzee"

* a collection of stories and memories, in no particular order, from the life and times of John Clarke, who served as a policeman in the Australian Police Force, a great practical joker, he also had a great affinity with people and wildlife, was a champion swimmer, snooker player, loved golf, still loves fishing and is also an artist. I hope you enjoy his recollections - cheers, karin (his daughter)
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The young constable is one of the Century's innocents.  He has no malice in him.  He goes about his business in a quiet and private way, it's just that life's circumstances and strange and weird incidents have a habit of catching up with him. The young constable's father was amazed when he reached the age of 21, and why this is so, we just don't know except we must think that similar stories to those related here must have been occurring during the YC's  lifetime prior to him reaching his majority. Whenever I'm absent for a time one of the first questions I need answered on my return is whether any further Young Constable stories have occurred in my absence. These are some of the stories about the Young Constable that come to mind.  I have written them down as they are too good to allow them to be forgotten.
John Clarke
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The YC and I were working the day shift at Tweed Heads.  At the time, the Developers in the area had purchased Coolangeatta Zoo for a development (now called The Grove - a poor housing area).

The Zoo owners had a pretty torrid time disposing of all the animals and had sold them to zoos and parks all over Australia and they had come to the point where the developers wanted to move in and start work.  Unfortunately, some animals were still on hand.  A number of these were kangaroos which they fixed up by having a shooting match and buried them all in a big pit which of course hit the headlines.   The next problem they had were a huge husband and wife chimpanzee family who were too vicious for anyone to buy.   So suddenly this story started up that these chimpanzees were suspected of having tuberculosis and therefore had to be destroyed.  Well, after the kangaroo shooting match you can understand that the animal liberationalists weren't too happy about this and we got some calls at the Station that Police should be on hand to ensure that the executions were carried out in a humane manner.

Well, the YC and I rolled up quite prepared to do our duty.  The zoo owners were there.  The vet was there and there were we.  The vet had decided to do the job he would first use an anaesthetic blow pipe to knowck the chimps out and then give them the fatal injection prior to a post mortem to check out the TB side of things.  The veet blew the gun at the female chimp and she began to stagger about before lapsing into sleep, but the male, seeing this, began to beat his chest, bare his teeth, shake the cage bars and generally became completely enraged.

The YC, being the kind animal lover that he is, approached the chimp and spoke words of calm.  The chimp completely misunderstood, hacked and coughed and cleared his throat and with the utmost accuracy let the YC have it in both eyes and face.  The YC staggered back, hands to his face and quite shocked.  Slowly it dawned - a member of the Force had been spat in the face by a tubercolosised chimpanzee.  

Weeks of blood tests and injections ensured but luckily no TB reactions were evident and the YC was given a clean bill of health.  The poor chimp was destroyed and the post mortem revealed no sign of TB.  A convenient way of getting rid of something inconvenient.  So sad 

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