Special Constable Grace Hopkins was one of the first female police officers in NSW. Prior to this, the attractive blond had a career on stage, working with the JC Williamson Company, a well-known light opera troupe of the time. She also appeared on stage with Noel Coward when he toured Australia.
Her police career spanned 12 years. Grace is best remembered for her role applying makeup to the corpse of the Pyjama Girl in preparation for the identification by witnesses.
Women police officers were paid far less than the male officers and were required to provide their own uniforms. Their duties included ‘women’s matters’ and in particular, looking after women and children. Nicknamed the ‘glamour girl of the NSW police force’, Grace also promoted road safety and was a popular public face for the police force.
She was instrumental in helping arrange the marriage of two teenage runaways, who had been recovered by the police. Once given permission by their parents to marry, the young lovers were married in a ceremony with members of the police force fulfilling the roles of the bridal party. Grace played piano.
When it came time for Grace’s own marriage in 1955, she was forced to retire from the police force because of laws prohibiting married women from working.
She lived until her 80s, and had children and grandchildren. Grace died in a car accident in 1994.