Correctional Officers Remembrance Day

Prisons across the state will today honour the lives of 12 frontline staff whose lives were lost while keeping our community safe.

Corrective Services NSW Remembrance Day will see flags at the State’s 35 correctional centres flown at half-mast.

Minister for Counter Terrorism and Corrections Anthony Roberts said while ceremonies may look different this year, masks and social distancing won’t take away from the importance of this day to the families, friends and colleagues who have lost loved ones.

“My thoughts are with every correctional officer past and present, on what is a very challenging day for all. To lose a life on duty is a tragedy and their sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Mr Roberts said.

“Our dedicated officers bravely go to work every day with the utmost professionalism and an unwavering commitment to duty. May this be a reminder that prisons are dangerous places and the men and women who keep our community safe are remarkable individuals.”

Commissioner Peter Severin said the Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Correctional Centre was this year renamed to Geoffrey Pearce Correctional Centre, to honour the former officer who died in 1997 after being stabbed by a HIV-contaminated syringe.

“This new name is a reminder of the unpredictable environment our dedicated officers bravely face every day,” Mr Severin said.

“Unlike other frontline workers, what our officers deal with is hidden by prison walls, so the public don’t see their ongoing commitment to duty.”

“CSNSW is one big family and every loss, every life taken, affects all of us.”

The 12 men who died on the job were fatally attacked by inmates with weapons including axes, iron bars, hammers and even a gun.

The officers who died in the line of duty over the past 178 years are:

  • Henry Kingsmill Abbott at Parramatta in 1842
  • Thomas Craig at Berrima in 1862
  • John Carroll at Braidwood in 1867
  • George Spinks at Windsor in 1869
  • John Sutherland Brown at Cootamundra in 1908
  • Alan Cooper at Bathurst in 1958
  • Albert Hedges at Berrima in 1959
  • Cecil Mills at Emu Plains in 1959
  • Willy Karl Faber at Parramatta in 1978
  • John Colin Mewburn at Long Bay in 1979
  • Geoffrey Pearce OAM at Long Bay in 1997
  • Wayne Harold Smith at Silverwater in 2007

CSNSW Remembrance Day also commemorates the lives of staff who passed away after retiring or died from other causes while still employed.

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