You appear to be looking for trouble and if you carry on like this you will get trouble.
Inspector MacKay, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 August 1929
William John MacKay (1885–1948), known as Bill, was a Scottish-born police officer who played a major role in policing Sydney’s underworld during the 1920s. Affectionately known as ‘Big Bill’, he was 6 feet (183 centimetres) tall and weighed almost 100 kilograms. He was not afraid of a fight, and was said to have used his large fists to great effect during violent skirmishes with criminals. He joined the New South Wales Police in 1910, and after a period on the beat and then as a detective he became the Commissioner of Police in 1935.
Even as a senior officer, MacKay was known to stand shoulder to shoulder with his men during raids. In January 1928 the then inspector came to the aid of officers during a violent brawl at a home in Riley Street, Surry Hills, which was known to police as a ‘thieves’ kitchen’. MacKay was hit by an assailant, Christopher Smith, and the two fell to the ground and traded blows until, as MacKay stated in court, the man ‘became quiet’1 and was arrested. Thrilled journalists headlined the story‘C. I. B. Chief Mackay in a swirl of fists and boots at “Party”’.
- 1. Evening News, 24 January 1928, p9.