Vincent Thomas CondonBiography, Nostalgia | November 24, 2013
By Chris Paduano
Coming from a country town, ‘Vin’ has always been a big fan of many sports and still has a large interest in cricket and horse racing today. Including his 30 years with the Victoria Police, Vin has always felt the need to keep busy and has sought something more interesting if he has ever felt bored.
Born on August 1, 1937 to Vincent Alexander and Lorna Jesse, Vin was an only child until he was 11 years old, after which his parents had another four children. Growing up in Melton, he attended Bacchus Marsh High School where he captained the football team and was the School Captain.
Vin says he had a great childhood and always enjoyed spending time with his father who was a very keen rabbit trapper and hunter, winning the Victorian Gun Club Championship. Vin said, “It was magnificent time for me,” and suggests that while he never had much time alone, it was how he wanted it.
Vin’s favorite subjects at school were Australian History and English; however, he suggests that playing sport was his favorite part of school and Fridays (sport day) were his favorite day of the week.
After starting fifth form at school, Vin was offered a job as an apprentice grocer. While he wasn’t sure about leaving school, he chose to work as his family didn’t have a lot of money. Working as a grocer for seven-eight months, he began to feel bored with the work. He was then told a job driving a front-end loader for the council was available and despite still being 17 and unlicensed, he accepted the job. Vin had begun working when he was told to go and see the local police officer, Dick Murdoch, who gave him a farm permit to allow him to keep driving the truck. Vin admits that the permit was not meant for his situation but it meant that he was covered if an accident occurred. He said “I wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary, he would have helped others like that. Everyone knew first Constable Murdoch because he was a very fair man and if he knew that you were trying to do the right thing he would look after you.”
After two and a half years with the Council, Dick Murdoch talked Vin into joining the police force and he joined on January 31, 1958. Vin admits that many times he questioned whether or not the police force was for him, because he was a country boy with the “bulldust” still on his boots. After sticking it out for a year he started to enjoy it much more.
The year after he joined the police force, Vin had his name drawn out to join the national service. While living in Melton he was outside of the 20km radius, however he had moved to Melbourne and was picked. He completed three months of basic training and opted not to continue for an additional six months.
Not long before his stint with the national service, Vin met his wife Lyn at a weekly Police dance on a Thursday night. They were engaged in 1961, married in 1962 and had two sons named Paul and Grant (born 1964 and 1970)
Spending some years at the South Melbourne station, Vin chose to transfer to Maidstone with the intention of being closer to his family. Dick Murdoch then told him about a job at the Maribyrnong station, which he accepted. After a year, he chose to move back to Maidstone because Maribyrnong was too quiet and he had nothing to do most of the time, following this he moved to the more busy station in Flemington.
After some years at Flemington, Vin was appointed to the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB), working in Russell Street. In 1973 he was promoted to Sergeant and was transferred to the Kingsville Police Station. In 1977 he began working as a Detective Sergeant at the Footscray CIB, this is where he spent the rest of his career until he retired in 1988. Around the time of his retirement, an article was published in the Western Times about his life and career.
Vin believed that golf would become his new passion but after only a year he was becoming bored. He chose to accept a job working for Ansett. This lasted around 10 years until Ansett went broke. He was then offered a job driving cars around an auction yard. He did this for five- six years until an employee stole $8 million from the company and left it broke.
While he has finished working, Vin still has regular commitments and spends around 10 hours a week assisting a cricket club with preparing and growing their cricket pitches. Outside of this, Vin spends time at the TAB, has a small ownership of a horse named “Excitus” and occasionally plays golf when he can. Vin and Lyn still live in Avondale Heights, in the house they bought in 1972.
Favorite Memories while working:
• Started the Viet Squad when he was a Sergeant. Was given three men and was supposed to get rid of the “Shonkies”. Vin suggests that there were plenty of them around.
• For 18 months he worked in a plain-clothes job with the special duties out of Flemington.
• “When I was a sergeant we got the heavier stuff.”
• One of his most fond memories is the testimonial he got when he left the Victoria Police. Vin says it was a very emotional night but a good night.
Most Memorable Case
They got a whisper that a man who had robbed a bank was hiding out in a motel on Springvale road. They busted the door down and the man was in the room with his girlfriend. “It was hell to do for about five minutes”. Vin had snuck in the back window, which was unlocked. Luckily the man had his gun hidden under his pillow. “Surprise was the thing that got him”, Vin said. He received 8-9 years in jail.
Why did Dick Murdoch suggest that you joined the Police?
“I think he thought that I was probably a good kid that would never be in trouble and was willing to help people. I don’t know.”