Prior to the passing of the "Police Act of 1863", Queensland's police force was highly de-centralised. Police were appointed by local police magistrates or justices of the peace. The network of police districts throughout the colony mirrored courts of petty sessions and small debts courts districts. The 1863 Act instituted a centralised police force under the control of the Commissioner of Police.
As the population of Brisbane grew and more Queensland towns became settled, police stations proliferated. Gold and mineral discoveries, economic forces and crime rates also affected the growth and strength of police, with variations from place to place.
In more remote areas, police stations (and native police camps) were staffed entirely by native police. Once white settlement in these areas became more established, the native police were replaced by regular forces.
By 1895 there were 222 police stations throughout the colony. Additional 'portable' police stations were erected from time to time in towns where there was only a temporary need for police presence. In 1905 there were 9 police districts and 272 stations. In 1963 there were 19 police districts throughout the State.
Police stations throughout the State were frequently used simultaneously as the local court house, police station, lock-up and residential accommodation for police officers. The station at Isisford was also being used in 1879 as the Government Savings Bank and court of petty sessions office.
The return showing the strength and disposition of the police force at 30 June 1880 is the first mention of the establishment of the Eulo Police Station that could be located.
Police officers stationed around Queensland performed (and still do) a wide range of 'traditional' and extraneous duties, some of which are listed below:
Law and order / patrols
Statistical returns for the Registrar-General
Collection of license fees (liquor, etc.)
Attendance at Court (eg. police, small debts, mining warden's and licensing courts)
Searches (missing persons)
Service of warrants, summons and arrests
Rail and mail escorts
Prisoner and lunatic escorts
Prisoners - short term custody of
Public education and awareness
In addition, police prepared jury lists and electoral rolls and acted as clerks of petty sessions, rangers of Crown lands, inspectors of slaughterhouses, district registrars of births, deaths and marriages, inspectors of brands, agents for the curator of intestate estates, customs officers, etc..
For administrative purposes, Queensland was divided into police districts (designated by a letter of the alphabet - eg. 'A' District,' B' District, etc). These districts were further divided into sub-districts, within which were numerous police stations. Police inspectors visited at these stations at least once every year and reported to the Commissioner of Police on such matters as the condition of police stations and equipment, staffing levels and related issues, the keeping of police records and the performance of police duties. In the mid 1920s the police districts were significantly revised and stations were re-grouped according to these new districts. In the 1970s regionalisation was introduced.
The police station at Roma Street served as Police Headquarters.
NOTE: Although staffed by police officers, police lockups form an integral part of prison administration. As it is often difficult to distinguish between the records of the police station and the police lockup, it has been decided that the agency of Police Station will be used whenever dealing with police lockups.