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Armfield, Lillian May (1884–1971)

Australia’s first policewoman, Lillian Armfield, died yesterday, aged 86.

"Her death has closed an era", the NSW Police Commissioner, Mr N. T. W. Allan, said last night.

"She was a pioneer, a pathfinder for the present-day policewoman.

He said Miss Armfield had played an important part in solving numerous criminal cases, but she would also be remembered for the help she gave so many young people.

"She did such a wonderful job on her own for so long," he said. "She was a gallant and very lovely woman."

Miss Armfield who came from Mittagong, NSW, was appointed as a special constable on July 1, 1915.

Miss Armfield, partially crippled with arthritis for several years, had lived at the Harold Hawkins Court Hostel for Senior Citizens, Leichhardt, since 1964.

She became seriously ill two weeks ago and was taken to Lewisham District Hospital. She died a 1 pm yesterday.

Miss Armfield had seen the women’s police she helped found grow to its present strength of 84 and policewomen receive the same pay, privileges, and responsibilities as policemen.

Nearly all her service was with the Sydney CIB and she worked on any case where a policewoman was needed.

She retired with the rank of sergeant on December 2, 1949, after being awarded the Imperial Services Medal and the King’s Police and Fire Services Medal for outstanding police service.

Original publication

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August 1971, p 2

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Citation details

'Armfield, Lillian May (1884–1971)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/armfield-lillian-may-5050/text24560, accessed 27 June 2019.

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