Queensland Police Museum – Brisbane, Australia - Atlas Obscura
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Brisbane, Australia

Queensland Police Museum

It's home to the taxidermy remains of Peter, the dog who helped convict a murderer.  

Among the more expected items such as vehicles, equipment, uniforms, weapons, souvenirs, and badges, this police museum also has a rather unusual piece of evidence: the taxidermy body of a dog named Peter.

On May 22, 1952, 23-year-old taxi driver Athol Henry McCowan was murdered. The investigation progressed quickly, as police had witness reports and details about the suspect’s vehicle—and even the dog he had with him.

After an intensive Australia-wide investigation, Arthur Ernest Halliday was arrested that November and charged with murder. His dog, named Peter, had died in the meantime, but the prosecution insisted that he was mounted for his court appearance. 

On the big day, witnesses identified Peter as the kind of dog seen at the crime scene. Halliday himself was so surprised to see his faithful friend in the courtroom that he blurted out it was his dog. This outburst, along with other evidence, linked Halliday to the crime scene. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Like the Black Museum at Scotland Yard in London, the Queensland Police Museum was initially established as a collection relating to crime and suicide, and was for the education of police officers only. It grew from a small cupboard to something much larger, and offered occasional public viewings before being opened to the public in 1980. The newly built Police Headquarters in Roma Street opened in 1990, and had space set aside for the museum, which now has several employees and thousands of annual visitors.

Know Before You Go

The museum is free, and open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and in the last Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is also a separate gift shop that's open Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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