From the headlines: Officer Frank Johnstone

From the headlines: Officer Frank Johnstone:

A short story this week; again from the headlines of the Courier Mail newspaper:  The remarkable story of the officer who accidentally shot himself with his own pistol!

From the Headlines: Officer Frank Johnstone


The morning started out like any other for Frank; he rose early and dressed for work, eating his breakfast and collecting his lunch and flask of hot coffee from the kitchen table. Hurriedly he kissed his wife on the cheek as he left the door of their Bardon home.   Little did he know how his morning would unfold!

The cold winter’s morning had taken its toll on Frank, even before he had arrived at work.  He had put on an extra layer of clothing before the ride on the tram to Annerley and the short walk to the gaol.

Arriving at the gates of the gaol he clocked in with his fellow officers.  As usual he lined up at the Armoury door for his pistol.  Shortly before 5:45am as he was collecting his pistol it slipped from his cold hands, with a crash the pistol hit the floor and Bang!  It went off.

The bullet flew from the chamber passing through Frank’s right leg, only narrowly missing his fellow officers before lodging in the wall of the armoury.

Frank fell to the floor wounded, the noise from the discharge of the pistol rang out over the prison and all haste was taken in discovering its source.

Frank was seen to at the prison hospital, his wound not being serious he was allowed to go home to recuperate.

A subsequent investigation ruled that the incident was an accident and no disciplinary action was taken against officer Johnstone.

The armoury and likely the bullet remain to this day, inside the gates of number 2 division Boggo Road Gaol.   You can see the armoury on any of the tours of Boggo Road Gaol.

Want to know what it was like to be an officer at Boggo Road Gaol?  Want to know how easily an accident like this could happen on a cold winter’s morning?  Come along this Sunday for our officer tour and meet former officer Kevin Hayden!  For more information click here

This article was contributed by Research Coordinator Sue Olsen as part of the ongoing research program for Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd. The aim of the program is to bring to light and share articles relating to Boggo Road for the purposes of review and study. Do you have a story to share or something you would like us to know about? You can contact the research team here.

Boggo Road Gaol
Boggo Road Gaol