Collection - Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Historical Society collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Historical Society collection

General material designation

  • Sound recording

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on contents of collection
  • Variations in title: RNC collection

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

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Physical description area

Physical description

30 audio cassettes

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Archival description area

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Biographical history

The Newfoundland Constabulary came into being as a recognized entity in 1871 when the colonial government budgeted $20,000 to unify the existing scattered individual constables, many of whom were tavern owners, into one police force under the direction of Thomas Foley. Foley had served 22 years with the Royal Irish Constabulary and administered the Newfoundland Constabulary accordingly, as did his successor, Paul Carty, a veteran of the same force. In 1909, John Sullivan became the first native-born Newfoundlander to head the force and in 1923, the Newfoundland Constabulary made its first foray into Labrador, under contract with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In 1949, with Confederation, the RCMP replaced the Constabulary in all areas of Newfoundland and Labrador except St. John's. Over the years, working conditions improved gradually until 1969, when Constable Tom Fraize led an elected group, which was to become the Newfoundland Constabulary Association. After an initial set-back and two-day strike the Association was recognized as a bargaining unit and negotiated its first collective agreement. Women were admitted to the Constabulary in 1980, following the 1974 example of the RCMP. New dress uniforms were adopted in 1977 and a new headquarters opened in 1979 at Fort Townshend, just a short distance from where the force was founded. In 1979 also, Queen Elizabeth II conferred the prefix "Royal" upon the force and it began once again to take up duties outside St. John's.

In 1987 the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Historical Society was formed and a museum collection was begun; the museum officially opened in 1989. In 1988 Paul Kenny was hired to undertake an oral history project that would gather information from senior and retired members of the force. Although the RNC have an extensive archival and artifact collection at Fort Townshend, it was decided, for conservation reasons, to deposit the audio cassettes in MUNFLA.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Collection consists of 30 audio cassettes of interviews with members and former members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on the history and evolution of that police force. Interviews have not been transcribed.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Donated by Chief of Police E.J. Coady, 1989.


Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No access without written permission of the chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary until 2008.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Material in MUNFLA is available primarily for research and has copyright protection. It may not be published in any form without first obtaining permission from the archivist and the copyright holders.

Finding aids

Tape inventories are available.

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Accompanying material

Photocopied article from The Evening Telegram, November 25, 1989; photocopied article from The Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - May 11, 2013

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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