Retirement and Death; Acknowledgements
Thomas retires from the Police Force, Oamaru
Thomas retired from the New Zealand Police Force in 1901 aged 62.
New Zealand Tablet 8 April 1909
Mr O’Grady or as he is more popularly
known, Sergeant O’Grady retired from the public service on April
1. Since the inception of the Labor Department about twenty years ago
Mr O’Grady has watched over its interests in Oamaru (says a local
paper). But it is by his connection with the police force that Mr O’Grady
is most widely known. He joined the police department in 1861, and served
in Christchurch, Lyttelton, Kaiapoi, and Rangiora. While at Lyttelton
he received promotion to the rank of Sergeant Major. In 1880 he was transferred
to Auckland, where he was in charge for eighteen months of the North of
Auckland district, Russell being his headquarters. From Russell in 1883
Sergeant O’Grady transferred to Thames, and had charge of that district
for three years. From Thames he went to Greymouth, where he remained in
charge for another three years, afterwards transferring back to the North
Island and making Napier his headquarters for three years. From Napier
Sergeant O’Grady transferred to Oamaru where he has resided since.
At the time Oamaru and Timaru formed one police district under Inspector
Thompson, and after Inspector Thompson's retirement Sergeant O’Grady
assumed charge of the district and retained control until the time of
his own retirement from the force on superannuation in 1902. Sergeant
O’Grady was ever a popular official, and his career as an officer
has been marked by many a stirring adventure.
Herald, 5 October 1901
The death of Thomas O’Grady Oamaru 15 June
Thomas O’Grady died in Oamaru on 15 June 1913 aged 73 of duodenal
ulcer and peritonitis at the Nurse Stronach’s Private Hospital Oamaru.
(Death certificate in Oamaru courthouse ref 1580). Thomas is buried in
the Oamaru Cemetery with his wife Frances Jackson O’Grady and his
eldest son Thomas William O’Grady Block 158 Plot 7.
Tombstone of Sergeant Thomas, Frances Jackson O’Grady and Thomas
William O’Grady, Oamaru
From Thomas’ obituary in the Oamaru Mail
17 June 1913 in the Oamaru museum:
Thomas was a prominent member of the Roman Catholic community and in the
counsels of the church organisation his opinions were regarded with respect
and esteem. Sergeant O’Grady also held strong political opinions
on the Liberal side and although a good fighting man in tines of political
stress he was never offensive. The late Sergeant O’Grady had attained
the age of 73 years. He is survived by Mrs O’Grady, four sons and
three daughters to whom the sympathy of the community will be extended
to their bereavement.
The headstone was erected from a bequest of Georgina
(Tottie) O’Grady who was Thomas and Frances’ daughter. The
inscription reads “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away
Thomas’ funeral mass was held on Wednesday 18 June at 9 am at the
Catholic Basilica in Oamaru.
Thames Star, 26 June 1913
“Sergeant O’Grady was ever a popular official,
and his career as an officer has been marked by many a stirring adventure”.
Acknowledgements and references:
Desmond Joseph O’Grady
Rangiora historical museum
Oamaru historical museum
Lyttelton Police Station
Oamaru Police Station
Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.
Heritage Images Collection - Christchurch City Libraries
Thomson, Barry & Neilson, Robert. (1989), Sharing the Challenge, History
Christchurch Police District. J C Rowe and the Christchurch Police District
History Book Committee.