From John Mannion
(Supplied by John Mannion via Anne Dawes of Farina Station)
The News – Wednesday October 2, 1935
MR. N. A. Richardson has sent me these notes from his diary on Mr. John Opie, who died on September 22:— John Opie joined the mounted police in 1882, and a year later, with others, was stationed at the Government Gums, now known as Farina. A canvas tent was their dwelling place, and their lock-up a post, to which prisoners were chained.
Accompanied by Troopers Marshall and Matthews, he left on camel backs for the Queensland border to collect statistical returns. These were the first returns ever collected.
Returning from this trip he received orders to arrest two men who were making their way to Queensland, and accompanied by Trooper Lynch, he tracked them up the Diamantina River and arrested them at Birdsville.
Two of his horses knocked up and died at Caratunka, 25 miles from Birdsville, which distance he and his companion had to walk. It was a droughty season, and they had to wait at Birdsville for a month before they could hire camels to do the return journey, which took three weeks, and every night Opie went to sleep with a prisoner on each side, securely handcuffed to him. Eventually he delivered them in Adelaide, and was highly complimented by Judge Bundey.