June 30, 2017
When the station cat came crashing through the ceiling on to an unsuspecting police officer below, it became obvious to everyone that the old Kingaroy Police Station was well past its use-by date.
A new $8.3 million police station, which stands like a battleship on the corner of Alford and Short streets, has been operating for several months now but that didn’t take anything away from the excitement at the official opening ceremony on Thursday morning.
Guests included serving and retired police officers and emergency services representatives who enjoyed morning tea and a tour of the station.
Police Minister Mark Ryan and Police Commissioner Ian Stewart travelled to Kingaroy for the event, but cheekily it was actually local MP Deb Frecklington who unveiled the plaque.
Mrs Frecklington said the station was an important boost for the region and a proud moment for the South Burnett.
She said a new police station had been one of her first priorities when she was elected as the local Member.
“The old police station was built in the 1960s and was no longer functional, appropriate or safe for the town,” she said.
“When I was working as a solicitor, I had first-hand experience of the problems faced on a daily basis by our local police officers. Local solicitors had to interview clients in the breezeway between the police station and the cells.
“The sub-standard facilities also included non-flushing toilets for male police officers.”
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the new police station was a magnificent building compared with the “patchwork” collection which made up the old facility.
“The community expect their police to be well-equipped, have good leadership and have good facilities,” he said.
“When we support our police with the best resources, we get the best community outcomes.”
Assistant Commissioner Tony Wright described the old station as a “rat-infested, termite-eaten building”.
“When the adopted station cat fell through the ceiling … we knew something had to be done!”
(Assistant Commissioner Wright assured listeners that no cats or police officers were injured during the dramatic incident.)
Policing in Kingaroy dates back to 1907 when police operated out of a railway carriage.
During construction of the new building, several hints from those early days were uncovered, including horse shoes and part of a water trough.
The new station houses 33 staff, including 30 police officers and three administration officers.
As well as uniformed officers, the station also has facilities for Kingaroy CIB detectives and the Major and Organised Crime Squad – Rural (probably better known as the Stock Squad or SARCIS). Scenes of Crime forensic officers have their own expanded facility.
Police Minister Ryan said the new police station would enhance frontline policing and contribute to a safer community.
“Kingaroy police have consistently delivered a high level of service to the community and it is my hope this new station and watchhouse will further encourage the continuation of this service into the future,” he said.