When on 5 January 1975 the coastal steamer Lake Illawarra collided with the Tasman Bridge, a crisis resulted which was quite unlike those due to fire, pestilence or famine in which there is considerable loss of life and devastation. In this case a city was suddenly cut in two and the resulting disorganisation was due to the destruction of the only direct means of communication between the two halves of the city, and a complete disruption of personal, community and occupational life.
The police force was intimately involved with the preservation of public order and in providing assistance. The situation also gave a unique opportunity to examine the development of the pattern of crime and offences and to study the adjustment made by the defaulters compared with the population in general. Such a research would have little value unless a wider sociological survey was also undertaken in conjunction with the criminological study.
I have to thank the various government departments who willingly participated in this program, the social agencies involved and the three co-authors who have produced the report on my behalf.
Commissioner of Police,