In December 1869, Lord Kintore, the Governor of South Australia, commissioned Paul Foelsche, a Corporal in the South Australia Mounted Police stationed at Strathalbyn, as a Sub-Inspector.
He sailed shortly afterwards on the steamship Kohinoor with six Troopers for the town of Darwin to establish the Northern Territory Mounted Police.
For the next 34 years, Inspector Foelsche devoted himself to the policing of the fledgling Northern Territory. In addition to being a Police Inspector, Paul Foelsche was a keen and skilled photographer and a collection of his photographs forms a permanent exhibit at the NT Museum.
Paul Foelsche was a Freemason in SA prior to being sent to the NT and he subsequently formed the first Masonic Lodge in Darwin in 1896. It was named Port Darwin Lodge and met at the Vic Hotel in Smith Street. As Freemasonry expanded, further Lodges were formed in Darwin and in 1962, Lodge Foelsche was formed and named after the first Worshipful Master of the Port Darwin Lodge.
Inspector Foelsche retired in 1904 and spent the remainder of his years in Darwin. The Commissioner of the South Australia Police, Sir George Hamilton, described Paul Foelsche as "One of the most capable men in the Police Force". He was awarded the Imperial Service Order in 1905 and died on 31 January 1914.
Since 1962, the members of Lodge Foelsche have conducted an annual graveside service to commemorate the life and service Paul Foelsche to the people of the Northern Territory.
This year, Her Honour the Administrator of the Northern Territory, the Honourable Sally Thomas AO, the Commissioner of the Northern Territory Police, Mr. John McRoberts APM and Her Worship the Lord Mayor of Darwin Katrina Fong Lim, joined the Worshipful Master of Lodge Foelsche, Worshipful Brother Wayne Woodhouse, the Master of Ceremonies, Worshipful Brother Alasdair McGregor, a Guard of Honour formed by Police Recruit Squad 118 along with family, friends and members of Lodge Foelsche in celebrating the life of Paul Foelsche.
Next year will mark 100 years since the passing of the founder of the Northern Territory Police. Lodge Foelsche, in conjunction with the City of Darwin and NT Police, will mark the centenary with a special memorial service celebrating the life of a remarkable and dedicated man.