The police station at 'the Katherine' lay as if in ambush on a bush track around the corner of the pub, one of the town's most famous visitors recorded in 1902.
This was celebrated author Jeannie Gunn of We of the Never Never who was making her treacherous journey from Darwin to Elsey Station near Mataranka.
There wasn't much in the way of law, not much in the way of anything, when Mrs Gunn spent her celebrated year in the outback.
The history of police in Katherine is being marked as part of the NT's 150th celebrations of policing which will see a traveling exhibition visit Katherine next week, from 6pm at the Godinyamayin Yijard Rivers Centre on Tuesday, August 11.
Often referred to as 'the last frontier', policing in the Territory was first established in 1870, under South Australian control.
Since then, the policing presence in the Territory has grown significantly and the year 2020 marks 150 years of continuous policing to the Territory.
When she visited, Mrs Gunn says there was the pub, a single cottage, an overland telegraph office and the police station apparently positioned "to keep one eye on the goings on" at the river crossing pub.
After she recovered from her perilous river crossings, the policeman sent Mrs Gunn on her way with a freshly baked cake and even the offer of a buggy to help with her trip into the wilderness.
Constable Michael John ( Ballyhooly) Kingston and his wife took over as licensees of the Sportsman's Arms in 1907, local history records.
Sadly the former constable died from a bout of malaria the next year.
His wife, Elizabeth, continued on as licensee until her own death in 1912.
The Katherine Telegraph Station was established in 1872 and town began with a small permanent population on the west side of the Katherine River.
Springvale Homestead, sadly now closed to visitors, was built in 1879, is the oldest original homestead in the NT.
The town's present site on the east side of the river was gazetted in July 15, 1926.
The original post office and the Overland Telegraph station were set just above Knott's Crossing and next to the Sportsman's Arms Hotel that had quarters for the station master at the telegraph station and a single room police station.
NT Police Museum and Historical Society Inc. president Mark McAdie said the police station at Knotts Crossing next to the Sportsman's arms was opened in November 1886.
At Adelaide River, a new, larger police station was built in 1884.
The old (built in 1875) police station was removed in 1886 to Katherine to serve as a Police Station there (at Knotts Crossing which is pictured at the top).
There was a police station at Emungalan from 1919 to 1926, it co-existed with the Knotts Crossing Station, no photo known but we know it was next to the Post Office from various references.
In 1924 Commissioner Dudley said: "At very small cost, a number of the stations he inspected would make very good married men's stations. Most of the stations he inspected were in good repair except Katherine, which he had been given to understand will be moved shortly to the new town site."
Early in 1926 the Secretary of the Home and Territories Department forwarded a memorandum to the Minister stating that the Commissioner of Police proposed to station a Sergeant and two Constables at Emungalan, the extra Constable being required in view of the intended work on the railway extension to Daly Waters.
This work was due to commence early in June.
Following reports in previous years that the Police Buildings at Katherine were in poor condition, (not surprising as it was a timber building which by this stage had been in use for 42 years). it was decided to build a new police station there.
An extract from Schedule of Works No. 18 issued by Works and Railways Department in respect of the month of June 1927, was as follows: "Katherine Erection of Police Station. Funds have been authorised and a contract let to H. Snell and Co. for (pounds) 2,219 on the 9th March 1927. Due for completion on 23rd August 1927."
This police station was next to the Post Office in Giles Street and was a corrugated iron building.
The 1927 Police Station was replaced in 1959 by a much more substantial police station at the corner of Giles Street and First Street where the Courthouse now stands. The buildings constructed of grey concrete bricks, included a large cell complex and a separate courthouse.
The 1959 police station was extended in the early 1970's but had become too small for police by 1990, when it was replaced by the present station at Katherine East.
The oldest police facility still in use in the NT as a police station is Pine Creek Police Station. which was opened in 1964.
One of the most significant incidents in the history of Katherine police was the murder of Constable Bill Condon in June, 1952.
Constable Condon was shot by a man with a rifle while responding to a call in the main street.
The Katherine Police social Club is named in honour of Bill Condon.
Each year National Police Remembrance Day in Katherine is commemorated at the graveside of the fallen policeman.
Commander Janelle Tonkin said: "The opening of the 150 year travelling display will coincide with a Honours and Awards ceremony which will recognise the meritorious achievements of NT Police, Fire and Rescue personnel, including volunteers in Katherine and surrounding regions."
"This event is a wonderful way to recognise the tireless and often courageous efforts, members of the police, fire and emergency service go to, to protect the community every day. As well as recognise the sacrifices and support provided to front line workers by their families and friends."
A traveling exhibition will visit Katherine next week, with an invitation only event to include a medal and awards ceremony from 6pm at the Godinyamayin Yijard Rivers Centre on Tuesday, August 11.
The display will be open to the public from Wednesday, August 12 through to Sunday, August 16 during regular opening hours for the Arts centre.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.