Queanbeyan's first police officer Patrick Kinsella honoured in painting

Sergeant Paul Batista and Constable Walter Scharner accept the painting of Patrick Kinsella from artist Phillip Greinke.
Sergeant Paul Batista and Constable Walter Scharner accept the painting of Patrick Kinsella from artist Phillip Greinke.

Wandering the halls of the Queanbeyan Police Station you are surrounded by history.

Countless photographs, artworks, posters and articles line the hallways as a constant reminder to those in the force of those who came before them.

They now have a representation of their earliest history and forebear, Patrick Kinsella, the first senior constable in Queanbeyan.

Kinsella died in 1841 when his cart overturned in a dry creek bed in Queanbeyan East, snapping his neck and killing him instantly.

Local artist Phillip Greinke this week presented a painting to the Queanbeyan Police depicting the moments just prior to Kinsella’s death.

Sergeant Paul Batista, who has taken great interest in the history of police in the region, commissioned Mr Greinke to produce the work and was thrilled with the result.

“We had very little history of that time and now we’ve got something,” Sergeant Batista said.

“We’ve got a visual of the town, of Kinsella, of that moment in history forever.

“I think it’s a perfect representation of that period and in particular that moment in our policing history.

“A lot of work has gone into this and it will certainly be a great asset for our new police station.”

Sergeant Batista said Kinsella transformed a region that before his arrival was “lawless”.

He was the first law enforcement officer for Queanbeyan and the limestone plains, which at that time included Canberra.

The free settler from Cork County, Ireland had several run-ins with bushrangers and eventually married the first European woman in Queanbeyan, Joanna Wigmore.

“By all accounts he was a good man, he was well liked by the poor and he was a good constable,” Sergeant Batista said.

For Mr Greinke the painting represents a two-and-a-half year labour of love.

It began when Sergeant Batista, Mr Greinke and his wife Jill Grienke sat up to the early hours of the morning discussing Kinsella. They took countless hours of research and planning to get to an end product Mr Greinke was happy with.

Local historian Gillian Kelly assisted in the process but the rest was left to Mr Greinke poring over the few letters, photographs and drawings of the era to capture his subject in his final moments.

“We had nothing really to attach ourselves to,” Mr Greinke said.

“It was so difficult to get all the information to bring it all together.

“But giving something back to the community and providing that knowledge for the place was very important to me.”

The project came at a difficult time for the 84-year-old artist as he battled some health complications from a fall, but Mrs Greinke said looking back it was a blessing.

“It moved him forward because he had something so positive to focus on,” she said.

“It kept on drawing him out of this state he had been in.

“I could just see him coming to life with it.”