“One of nature’s truest gentlemen” was how Malcolm ‘Mal’ Waterhouse would compliment people during his time as a police officer in Ballarat.
Yesterday almost 600 people at his funeral said goodbye to one of Ballarat’s truest gentlemen – one described as a hero, mentor and even a legend among police.
With full honours, including a pipe band, mounted and motorcycle escorts, Mr Waterhouse left through a guard of honour for his final patrol through Ballarat’s streets.
The large gathering at St Peters Anglican Church yesterday remembered the officer who received the Victoria Police Valour Award, the highest award possible for bravery, but also a loving father, husband and mate.
Mr Waterhouse’s son Peter, lovingly called “boy” by his father well into adulthood, spoke glowingly about his dad.
“I recall growing up, there were certain characteristics about dad that annoyed me ... lo and behold, they’re my defining characteristics now,” he said.
“Dad’s my mentor, he’s my inspiration, I draw a lot of strength from him.”
Mr Waterhouse said his father was “one of a kind” who instilled a sense of morals, principals and ethics among his children.
“I’m extremely proud of him ... he’s a remarkable man. I’ll miss you dearly, Pa.”
Ballarat police Superintendent Andrew Allen read out Mr Waterhouse’s record of conduct and service, beginning with his appointment as a police officer in 1955.
The service heard Mr Waterhouse worked in Melbourne’s CBD, Footscray, Sale, Flemington, Carlton and Moe, before coming to Ballarat as a Sergeant in 1969.
In 1973 he was promoted to be in charge of the mobile traffic section (now Highway Patrol), before suffering life-threatening stab wounds on the job in 1974.
He was discharged from the police force as “medically unfit” but returned as a reservist in 1984 until his retirement in 1995.
Delivering the eulogy, friend and former colleague Peter Butters said the 1974 stabbing effectively ruined Waterhouse’s police career.
“He received a call to assist as a man had gone berserk with a knife ... the divisional van had not answered the call, so Mal responded,” Mr Butters explained.
“Who was driving the divisional van that morning? I was.”
Mr Waterhouse arrived to find a boy lying in the street with a knife embedded in his chest. He found the man responsible kicking at a neighbour’s door and went to assist – unarmed.
He was stabbed but the offender was later caught.
“If the court finished early he’d go on a foot patrol down Sturt Street and people would ask him what the ‘R’ was on his police uniform,” Mr Butters said. “He used to say that R was for “real policemen”.
Mal Waterhouse died peacefully on Friday night after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.