Lance Hayes Townsend (1915-1978) was a formidable athlete. He received this trophy as Champion Athlete at the Penrith Amateur Athletics Carnival in April 1935 after winning the javelin throw, the high jump, the discus throw, the broad jump, the shot putt, and the hop, step and jump. He joined the New South Wales police in January 1936 and quickly became a champion police athlete. He spent much of his career working in northern NSW, and while stationed at Lismore he famously outran a horse-drawn milk-cart in which two men were attempting to escape after robbing a butcher’s shop. He was 6ft 5ins tall and was invaluable to police raiding parties for his ability to scale high walls. His police service card has some colourful entries including one in 1940 when he was fined for being found drunk in bed whilst ‘clad only in an athletic singlet and running trunks’. Perhaps a post-victory celebration got out of hand? He was also punished in 1955 for taking a prisoner to a pub and consuming a middy of beer with him. Alongside these misdemeanours are commendations for courage in single-handedly pursuing an armed offender at Boggabri in 1952 and for his devotion to duty during the devastating floods of 1955.
JP87/1192 + JP87/231 (photograph)