Hussey Chomley

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New Houses of Parliament, 1854. State Library of Victoria Collection, Designed under the general instructions of Captn Charles Pasley, R.E. Commissioner of Public Works. Architects Messrs Lynght & Kerr (H18179)


Hussey Chomley was born in Dublin, Ireland.[1] He died at Malvern and is buried the St Kilda Cemetery


The ex-Chief Commissioner of Victorian Police (Mr, H. M. Chomley) died at Melbourne yesterday, aged 74 years. The deceased, who was born at Dublin, was attracted to Australia by the discovery of gold. He joined the police in 1852, and after doing duty at Eureka Stockade fight at Ballarat was appointed Acting-Commissioner of Police In 1881. He was made commissioner in the following year, and in 1902 he retired from the service.[2]

DEATH OF A EUREKA STOCKADE VETERAN. United Press Associaption — By Electric Telegraph— Copyright. (Received July 13, 10.4 a.m.)
The death is announced of Mr H.M. Chomley, formerly Commissioner of Police, and a participator in the Eureka stockade fight.[3]


The Eureka Anniversary. It went without much in tile way of celebration, but the 3rd December was one of the historic anniversaries of the colony. The following abbreviated account of the storming of the Eureka Stockade, on the 3rd December, 1854 - one of the best yet published-is taken from "The Early Days of Victoria" in the current number of the "Australian Journal." After describing the events of the week previous and the reasons why Captain Thomas of the 40th, then in command, resolved to attack the stockade early on Sunday morning, the writer goes on to say : in pursuance of this determination Captain Thomas, who was ably assisted by Captain Pasley, R.E., and Captain Wise, had the whole force at his disposal under arms by 2 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, 3rd December. Mr Commissioner Amos, who was intimately acquainted with the locality, acted as guide, and led the troops to within a quarter of a mile of the Stockade. The force consisted of 30 picked men of the 40th Regiment; mounted, under the command of Lieutenants Hall and Gardyne; 87 men of the same regiment, under Captain Wise and Lieutenants Bowdler and Richards; 65 men of the 12th Regiment, under Captain Queade and Lieutenant Paul; 70 mounted police, under Sub-inspectors Furnell, Langley, Chomley and Lieutenant Cossack; 24 foot police, under Sub-Inspector Carter. Total, 100 mounted and 176 foot. The troops reached the ground just as the morning began to dawn, and when about 300 yards from the Stockade the detachments of the 12th and 40th Regiments ex tended in skirmishing order. The mounted men moved to the left, and threatened the flank and rear of the insurgents. As the advance in this order was being made, a sentry within the Stockade gave the alarm by firing his piece. Upon hearing the shot Captain Thomas said "We are seen. Forward, and steady, men ! Don't fire ; let 'the insurgents fire first. You wait for the sound of the bugle." Within the Stockade were about 150 men, and when the soldiers had approached to the distance of about 150 yards they fired a volley, which wounded Captain Wise, Lieutenant Paul, and three men of the 12th Regiment, and killed two and wounded one man of the 40th. Then the bugle sounded the order to fire, and a general discharge brought down all the insurgents who were visible above the enclosure; nine were killed by this volley. Then the order, "On, 40th! Forward!" was heard, and the soldiers cheered, and notwithstanding scattered shots fired at them, rushed at the enclosure with fixed bayonets, followed by the foot police. The hastily arranged face of the enclosure did not impede the troops an instant, and, breaking through it, a series of combats ensued between brave diggers armed with pikes for their ammunition was spent and the soldiers, who had loaded muskets and bayonets fixed. Some, as the swarm of police joined the soldiers, took refuge in the shallow holes and smithy, and, as one of the military officers wrote, many were put to death in the first heat of the conflict, either by bullet or bayonet thrusts." In less than ten minutes the resistance and slaughter were over. Nine soldiers were wounded, one fatally, in the hand-to-hand combats within the Stockade. Vern, with a number of his companions, did not wait to exchange blows with the troops, but escaped by the rear of the Stockade. Lalor, when the troops fired their first volley, was standing upon the top of a logged-up hole close to the barricade, and was shot in the left shoulder as he was in the act of signing to the defenders to retire to the rifle pits. When wounded he fell under a stack of slabs, some of which, in falling, partially covered him, and when the soldiers charged by the spot he was left for dead. While, the soldiers were busy among the tents making prisoners, three non-combatants, whose curiosity brought them to the spot, saw him, and carried him a short distance down the Eureka Lead to a hollow pile of slabs, into which they lifted him. When the resistance was over, fifteen of the diggers lay dead, sight were fatally wounded,and thirty to forty others were more or less severely wounded, some of whom subsequently died. The Southern Cross flag had been torn down by one of the police at an early stage of the combat, and was carried off to the camp. The troops set fire to all the tents In the enclosure and the immediate vicinity, and collecting all the prisoners, to the number of 125, marched back to the camp. Captain Wise died of his wounds before the week ended. [4]

Hussey Malone Chomley was born on 8 August 1832 at Merrion Square, Dublin, the second son of Rev. Francis Chomley, rector of Wicklow, and his wife Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Griffith, M.P. In 1847 his father died; his mother took her seven sons, including Arthur Wolfe, to Port Phillip, where they arrived in February 1849.
Chomley was educated at Dr Delamere's school in Wicklow and then at Richard Budd's college at Eastern Hill, Melbourne. After leaving school he spent some months on the diggings but was unsuccessful and joined the Victoria Police Force as a cadet in September 1852. He was soon promoted an officer, and spent his early years patrolling the diggings, first at Ballan and Ballarat and then as sub-inspector at Creswick in 1854. He was second in command of a police detachment kept in reserve at the Eureka stockade. He was promoted paymaster at Benalla and soon afterwards, in charge of number three division in Melbourne, he was deputed to look after a series of short gold rushes. In this duty Chomley was stationed at Inglewood, Swan Hill, Jericho and Benalla, and finally returned to Bendigo in 1862. As a superintendent he had charge of the Bendigo, Bourke and Geelong districts in turn and was gazetted first-class superintendent in 1876. While he was in Geelong the Kelly gang was at large and although Chomley volunteered to pursue the outlaws he was sent instead to Brisbane to select black trackers for a permanent Victorian detachment. With the death of Police Commissioner Frederick Standish in 1880 and the forced retirement of Superintendents Hare and Nicholson after the royal commission of 1881, Chomley was appointed chief commissioner of police. He took office on 3 March 1881, with instructions to reorganize the force. His appointment was confirmed on 20 March 1882 and he held office until June 1902 when failing health caused his retirement.
During his fifty years as a police officer Chomley's record was without a blemish. A tall and robust figure he was noted for his piety, courage, honesty and impartiality. As chief commissioner of police he led the department out of a period marked by inefficiency and dissent. Under his command the force reached a high degree of effectiveness, although Chomley was often ready to overlook certain imperfections in the force in his enthusiasm for a smooth-running and respectable organization. He died at Malvern, Melbourne, on 12 July 1906.
In 1865 Chomley married Aubrey Emma Elizabeth, daughter of Captain Alexander John Smith, R.N., police magistrate and later a member of the Legislative Assembly; they had two sons.

Buried in the St Kilda Cemetery.[5]

Also See


Gregory Blake, Eureka Stockade a Ferocious and Bloody Battle, Big Sky Publishing Pty Ltd, 2012.

External Sites


  1. The Australian Star, 13 July 1906.
  2. The Australian Star, 13 July 1906.
  3. Christchurch Star, 13 July 1906.
  4. Oakleigh Leader, 15 December 1894.
  5., accessed 10/11/2014.