From humble beginnings

More from Max Gray, Detective Sergeant (retired) as told in 2000

I came to Wodonga and opened the CIB office on 13th January 1958. All I arrived with were a diary and a few books, nothing else! The old Police Station at 93 High Street near the railway line was an old house and had been the residence of the Customs man quite a few years before and it was really run down. Eventually I was given a bedroom at the rear to use as an office. We had an old table and two chairs and one old wardrobe. Nearly two months and plenty of paper work later, I was given some second-hand furniture, a phone plus a pistol and the necessary books and forms to go with the office.

I was in Wodonga a month before my wife and two young boys arrived. The Department did not supply a house and I had to find one to rent. They did not pay the rent. Eventually we were able to rent an old house at 10 Bank Street. It belonged to an old identity, Mrs Anne Ryan. No hot water, an old wood stove, no bath heater, but we survived. It was hard on my wife as I was away from home a lot and called out at all hours.

When I arrived I had an old Morris Oxford car which I used for my Police duties and it lasted for about 18 months. One day I had to go to the Snowy Scheme which had started up at Khancoban. I had to go down what was known as the Geehi Wall, but the car could not take any more and the engine blew up. I had to get myself another car (compensated sixpence a mile).

There was a Paddy Wagon at Wodonga, the old cage type, the only Police vehicle here. The Police radio had arrived here. The radio could contact and receive Wangaratta Headquarters but they could not contact the local car if it was six miles down the highway. There was a lot of interference. It was quite a few years before the set-up improved.