INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Blast From the Past
Volunteers in Action
Next Month's Meeting
Dr. Ramsey Smith (Left) Adelaide Coroner During early 1900's.
Photo taken 1911 During the reinternment of remains of Frank Hawson
who was speared to death by natives in October 1840 at Port Lincoln aged 12 years.
We mourn the passing of one of our esteemed members Arthur Robert (Bob) Calvesbert QPM. Bob was one of our very entertaining monthly meeting speakers. Those who knew him will remember him as one of nature’s gentlemen. Many of our members attended his funeral on Thursday the 4th which was a very moving ceremony. Our thoughts are with the family at this time.
The Christmas/30th Anniversary dinner is now fully subscribed. This promises to be a wonderful and entertaining night.
Our congratulations go to members Jim & Ruth Sykes who recently celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary. Ruth you deserve a medal!!
On Friday the 5th October our monthly meeting was attended by about 40 members. We celebrated the 90th birthday of volunteer Shirley Hayward who is still an extremely active member. A large cake was produced, however, we thankfully did not put 90 candles on the cake.
Trevor Porter was the speaker on the night the subject of his talk being Notable Capital Crimes in
. His talk was most interesting and entertaining. He donated several of his books for the Society’s library. I proposed a vote of thanks & presented him with a certificate of appreciation and a copy of Tales of the Troopers. South Australia
Thanks to Isabel Brooks & Joyce Richardson for conducting the raffle, which raised $57.00.
At the upcoming November 2nd meeting Speaker Gerald Brown will give us a very entertaining insight into Humorous & Eccentric Wills.
Our segment was shown on “Postcards” on Sunday 7th October & we will be screening the DVD at our November Meeting for those who missed it.
Christmas Anniversary Dinner SOLD OUT!
Australia's First Chief Constable.
by Steve Price.
This article was brought to our attention by member Bill Rojas. It appeared in the February 2007 Edition of “Police Down Under” Bill was so taken with this story that he obtained permission from both the editor & the author to enable us to reprint it in the Hue & Cry, and it will be ‘serialised’ over the next couple of Editions.
Superintendent Stephen Pierce has a 29 year police career with Victoria Police and significant operational experience in uniform and the State Crime Squads, particularly in the Asian and organised crime areas He is a Visiting Police Fellow at the Australian Institute of Police Management, and a holder of number of gnificant academic qualifications, including Masters Degrees in both Business Administration, and Leadership and Management (Policing). In his current role he is responsible for delivery of Leadership Programs at post graduate level for senior police in Australasia and the Pacific region.
Who knows the first Chief Constable of Australia?
There is a fascinating insight into a particular part of early policing within the new NSW colony.
The Marines of the First Fleet were the keepers of law and order upon the original settlement of the convict colony at Port Jackson in 1788. However only 6 years later one Henry Kable was appointed to the position of Chief Constable of the colony.
Henry Kable created a number of ‘firsts’, which included his marriage with fellow-convict Susannah Holmes alongside four other couples in the first marriage ceremony in Australia conducted by Rev. Richard Johnson on February 10th, 1788.
Henry and his future wife Susannah Holmes arrived with the first fleet as prisoners. Records reveal that Henry was sentenced in March 1783 to be “hanged until dead” for the heinous offence of burglary. This was later reduced to seven years transportation. Susannah was also sentenced to death for a non related burglary but this was reduced to 14 years transportation.
Both commenced their sentence at the frightful Norwich Castle Gaol, Norfolk and despite the cells and primitive conditions a union was formed which saw the arrival of Henry junior. When the first fleet was assembling for Botany Bay, Susannah and Henry junior wwer taken with two other female prisoners to Plymouth where they had been assigned to the convict transport ‘Charlotte’. Henry was left behind because his sentence was “transportation to America” - a technical hitch.
However upon Susannah’s arrival at Plymouth, the ship’s captain refused to take on board the baby, Henry junior, as the baby had no papers. The gaol turnkey Simpson who had delivered her to Plymouth traveled to London where he tried to see the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney, to get papers for the child. Simpson failed at first but after a small demonstration by he and several well meaning sympathizers Sydney gave him audience and arranged for papers for the child and for his father Henry Kable to join the fleet . Sydney re-assigned the mother and child, with Henry Kable to the convict transport ‘Friendship’, because he intended that ship to be a sort of hospital ship suitable for mothers with young children.
A London journalist picked up the story (possibly during the demonstration) considered it a gut-wrenching article for the London Chronicle and it was subsequently published. The newspaper published two follow up letters from well to do readers, which led to a collection being taken up amounting to 20 pounds. The money was subsequently outlaid on goods that were thought to be useful to a young couple at Botany Bay. The parcel of goods was given into the care of Captain Sinclair of the transport ‘Alexander’ to be delivered to the couple on their arrival at Botany Bay,
A fleet of 11 ships—with Arthur Phillip, the first governor of the settlement, in charge of 160 marines and 729 convicts—weighed anchor in Portsmouth, England, on May 13, 1787, and reached Botany Bay on the 18th January, 1788. Finding it too barren, sandy, and shallow for permanent settlement, fresh water inadequate and the anchorages too open in the wide bays Phillip investigated the next inlet to the north. There, spreading its fingers of deep water into sheltered sandstone promontories, he found “one of the finest harbours in the world, in which a thousand said on the line might ride in the most perfect security”.
The harbour, which had been discovered and named by Cook earlier, was Port Jackson—now better known as Sydney Harbour.
But there was no shipboard romance, Henry and Susannah traveled firstly on ‘Friendship’ as far as Table Bay (Cape of Good Hope) where the Fleet took on supplies. Here Phillip split the fleet so that the faster vessels could speed ahead and start the settlement at Botany Bay before the rest arrived. Susannah and baby were transferred to the ’Charlotte’. Cramped, unbearably hot or cold due to their geographical location, it is perhaps a miracle that young Henry survived the journey (a number of newborn babies and an old female prisoner died). However the voyage was remarkably incident free. Upon arrival Susannah and the other women of the fleet were kept aboard the ‘Charlotte’ in Sydney Cove until nine days after the men had been disembarked there.
Next month Henry sets a legal precedent & he and Susannah are married.
Further Historical notes taken from letters written by
William Charles Miller to Eleanor May Ewens.
Borroloola. August 27th 1911(cont’d)
Giles informed me that Murphy may not get this station but M.C. Dow from The Alice, with I, had a chance of getting it permanently. It is my tip top house and now I am living like a fighting cock. In the garden there are pumpkins, tomatoes, English potatoes, beetroot, turnips but they will all be finished except tomatoes in a month but I can get a case of potatoes every three months per boat. Think the Katherine will be a good place. It’s supposed to be the healthiest place in the Northern Territory, but before I would ask you to come there would need to be a good building. Yes I read nearly all of it, “We of the Never Never” while at the Katherine. The “Fizzer” Harry Peckham was drowned last wet. His last words to the natives was something to the effect “save the mails”. It gives southerners a very good idea of Territory life.
After the 31st will have a few days writing making out my monthly returns, Police, Local Court, Warden, Post Office and Sheriff quite a mob and all, excepting the police, are new to me so will need to be careful. M.C Stott planted nine different sorts of Indian Wheat and one lot of white oats as an experiment for the Government on May 10/11. It is ripening and I am reaping it to send on next boat to Darwin to show what can be grown here by irrigation. Holland took a picture of it and if I get one will send it to you. Would make an interesting article for your local Rag, the Clarion, might induce some of the Peninsula cockies to try their hand at wheat growing here. Two beardless varieties seem to grow the best, seven feet are bearded, the oats are beautiful and the wheat four feet high and full in ear but it seems to be ripening rather irregularly perhaps on account of having no natural rain on ear.
September 12th, 1911.
Things have been very lively here since the arrival of Captain Barclay’s exploring party, seven Europeans and two natives and 19 camels. Can smell the latter for miles but they are useful in dry country. The Party are camped in the Court House and will probably be here for a considerable time.
Borroloola, via Camooweal October 24th, 1911.
Since I last wrote everything has been very tame. Barclay went to Camooweal with the mailman to get some communication with Head Quarters in Melbourne. The rest of the party made a camp about 14 miles down the river, some of them come up twice a week for rations. Mr. Waldron came up last night, has been here all day, he has just gone. Last Sunday I was out mustering horses all day. Got some kangaroos and had splendid tail soup. The grass here is getting very dry and water scarce, we just missed the early storms here only had about 30 points. 40 miles away they had three inches and floods but rain ought to come soon, if not, it will be serious.
Went into a bit of poultry raising and have got six little white chicks. They are over a week old and are doing well. There are a few good flowers in the N.T. but few of them have any scent. Often play crib and more often win than lose. Last time I won seven games out of nine. Think this must be that ironwood scrib board which I made. It seem to have brought me lots of luck. I would like to hear a good concert or see a good opera.
Am going to Darwin per Nelson tomorrow. Will wire on arrival.
Next Month : William ends up in Hospital.
The Ann Arbor News crime column reported that a man walked into a Burger King in Ypsilanti, Michigan at 7:50am, flashed a gun and demanded cash. The clerk turned him down because he said he couldn't open the cash register without a food order. When the man ordered onion rings, the clerk said they weren't available for breakfast. The man, frustrated, walked away.
David Posman, 33, was arrested recently in Providence, R.I, after allegedly knocking out an armored car driver and stealing the closest four bags of money. It turned out they contained $800 in PENNIES, which weighed 30 pounds each and slowed him to a stagger during his getaway so that police officers easily jumped him from behind.
Following our September Meeting we have had numerous requests for a reprint of Dorothy Pyatt’s story on this Mystery. As a result, as follows is a copy of the article printed in the Hue & Cry in 1997. With photographs from our archives.
Adelaide 30 November 1948. Time of the Bobby Soxers. The hit tune of the day was "Slow Boat to China". For one man it was a day of deep significance.
We first learn of this man during the morning of that day, when he lodged a suitcase in the Cloakroom of the Adelaide Railway Station. He then bought a 2nd Class ticket to Henley Beach, but for some reason did not use it; perhaps he missed the train. He put the ticket in his pocket and crossed North Terrace to a bus stop outside the Strathmore Hotel at about quarter past eleven, and instead caught a bus to Glenelg.
That evening at about 7 pm a man named Lyons and his wife were strolling along the beach at Somerton, enjoying the pleasant evening air. They were about opposite the old Crippled Children's Home, when Mr. Lyons looked up and noticed a man lying on the sand with his head against the seawall and with his feet pointing towards the sea. He was within about a yard of the steps up the sea wall. As Lyons looked at him, the man made a movement with his right hand, as though he was trying to smoke a cigarette. Mr. Lyons said to his wife, "Look at the way that man is slumped". They both formed the opinion that the man was drunk and passed on.
Half an hour later a young girl named O'Neill and her boyfriend named Strapps were walking along the promenade, on the top of the seawall at Somerton. They stopped for a while on a seat near the steps going down to the beach. Miss O'Neill could see a man's left hand lying beside his body. From the position of the hand she had a thought that perhaps there was something wrong with him. She said to her companion, "I'll have a look at him."
Strapps replied, "Oh, don't be a sticky beak." She said, jokingly, "Perhaps he's dead." They remained there for about half and hour and during that time the man did not move. They thought perhaps he was sleeping as he did not appear to be worried by the mosquitoes.
The following morning Mr. Lyons went to the beach again at about 6.30 am to have a swim with some friends. After his swim he again saw the same man in the same position beside the seawall.. He became suspicious and went to have a closer look. He decided that the man was dead and hurried to his home nearby to ring the Brighton Police Station. Lyons returned to the body and Constable Moss, Officer in Charge of Brighton arrived shortly after and examined the body. He looked for signs of disturbance around the body, but there were none. He found the body fully clothed with no marks of violence. The left arm was lying beside the body and the right arm was bent double. A half-smoked cigarette was lying on the right collar of his coat.
The body was conveyed by Police Ambulance to the R.A.H., where life was pronounced extinct. An opinion was given that death had occurred at about 2 am. The body was taken to the morgue and Police enquiries commenced. There was nothing unusual about a man dying in a public place. It was assumed that someone would soon come forward to claim him.
Two days later a post mortem was conducted. Up to now it had been thought that the man had died from natural causes, but now a mystery began to develop, because, despite all the tests which were conducted, no cause of death could be discovered. The body was found to be that of a man of about 45 years of age, tall and in excellent physical condition, that of a man who had taken care of himself. He was thought to be of European appearance.
His clothing was of good quality. Certain organs were sent to be examined. The stomach had been highly congested with blood, as though by poisoning and the heart had failed.
Tests were conducted to try to find possible poisons which could have caused death, but still no answer could be found. It seemed that death had been brought about by someone with a sophisticated knowledge of poisons. There was not one single identifying mark upon the body. No scars or vaccination mark.
It was now time for the Police to commence wide enquiries to establish the identity of this man. Photographs and finger-prints were taken and circulated within Australia and New Zealand and also overseas in all English speaking countries, but no record of the man could be found.
When the clothing worn by the deceased was first searched by Police they found an unused rail ticket to Henley Beach, a used bus ticket to Glenelg, cigarettes and matches, but no money. The clothing had had all the identification marks removed. The mystery began to deepen and the Press began to take a great interest.
In January 1949, Police enquiries found an unclaimed suitcase in the Cloakroom at the Adelaide Railway Station It was a suitcase which had been lodged there on the 30th November. The suitcase was in fairly new condition and a luggage label had been removed from it. Clothing in the case matched that worn by the deceased and most of it had all identification marks removed. In the case was found a brush which was of the type used for stenciling, a knife with a sharpened point and a pair of scissors also with a sharpened point. They were of the type used by the Third Officer on Merchant ships responsible for the stenciling of cargo.
A dry-cleaning mark was circulated Australia wide but without success.
One name of T. Keane was found on three items, but even this did not lead to any success. An examination of the coat found on the deceased showed that it was of American origin. It seemed that painstaking efforts had been made to conceal the identity of this man.
And so the mystery deepened. Numerous people went to view the embalmed body, claiming that he was someone known to them, but still the identity was not established.
In April, a Professor Cleland made a further examination of the clothing found on the body and discovered another cryptic clue. Deep down in a rather obscure fob pocket of the trousers he found, rolled up, a tiny piece of paper. When unrolled the paper showed two printed words “Taman Shud".
The enquiring Police tried to make sense of this, but it was a reporter from the Advertiser who directed them to the old Persian poet, Omar Kyam and his poem 'The Rubaiyat', written some 900 years ago. The philosophy of his poem was that we should live life to the utmost and have no regrets when it ends. Translated, the words Taman Shud mean The End or The Finish. The words occur at the very end of the book of poems. This strange find opened up new lines of enquiries for the Police. They commenced a search for a copy of 'The Rubaiyat' which may have the last page missing.
In June, Mr. Paul Lawson, the taxidermist at the Adelaide Museum was asked to make a plaster cast of the man's head and shoulders. He found the body to be tall and beautifully formed, with wide shoulders and narrow waist. A strong and robust man, with well cared for hands and nails, with no signs of hard work. The feet he found curious with the big and little toes meeting close together in a wedge shape, as though the man had been a dancer. The calf muscle was formed high up in the leg, like that of a woman who habitually wears high heeled shoes.
This led Police to other lines of enquiry, as to whether the man had been a dancer or a stockman. Still the enquiries proved fruitless.
Shortly afterward in 1949 the body was buried in the West Terrace Cemetery. Police kept the arrangements secret to keep sightseers away. The South Australian Grandstand Bookmakers Association paid for the burial service to save the man from a pauper’s burial. The Salvation Army conducted the burial service.
An inquest had been opened shortly after the body had been found and was adjourned. Three days after the burial, the inquest was resumed. The Coroner was unable to make any finding on the identification of the man, or the cause of death. The matter was further adjourned without coming to any conclusion. Indeed, the Coroner said that there was no absolute certainty that the man seen alive was the man found on the beach next morning, as nobody had seen his face during life.
The wide publicity given to all this brought some result. Soon after this, a doctor who lived at Glenelg came forward with a copy of the book 'Rubaiyat of Omar Kyam' and the last page of this book a piece had been torn out.
Although the scrap of paper bearing the words 'Tam Shud', which was found on the deceased, had been neatly cut around the edges, scientific tests proved that the scrap of paper did, in fact, come from the same book as that produced by the doctor. The Doctor told Police that he had found the book tossed on the front seat of his car when it was parked in front of his house on the 30th November. He had previously attached no importance to the finding of the book.
On examining the book Detectives found faint pencil markings on the back of the book. These appeared to be four cryptic lines of capital letters. Police thought that this may hold some clues, but although the letters were submitted to cypher and code experts, they could not find any solution. There were also what appeared to be telephone numbers in the back of the book, but enquiries along these lines brought no clues as to the identity of the man.
The last stanza in the book before the words 'Taman Shud' reads,
"And when yourself with silver foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scattered on the grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made One - turn down an empty glass!"
A number of questions remain intriguing and unsolved.
Who was this man and how did he die?
Why did he appear to make such efforts to
Did he die by his own hand and how?
Was he murdered and matters arranged as to make it appear that he had died by his own hand?
What manner of death was it that no clue remained?
Was a poison used which cunningly dissipated so that no trace of it remained
Why should a man in top physical condition want to die, if it should have been by his own hand? Was it an affair of the heart, or some other desperate problem that beset him?
It was the time of the Cold War and the Berlin Blockade. The Rocket Range was being established at Woomera. At that time one of world's top physicists was in Adelaide. It had been suggested that the man may have been involved in espionage, and may have been killed because of what he knew.
Was he an agent for a foreign power, a spy or an intelligence officer?
The circumstances surrounding this death were very usual, but is seems likely that he suicided. Did he inject himself with some obscure poison, or did he swallow it?
If that is so, we can only speculate and conjecture as to the state of his mind as he lodged that suitcase in the Adelaide Railway Station, and caught the bus to Glenelg, perhaps reading again that last stanza in the old Persian book of poems before he tossed it away.
"And when Yourself with silver Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scattered on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one - turn down an empty Glass!"
Will the mystery ever be unravelled, I wonder? Perhaps you and I as we pass this spot at Somerton may give him a thought, wonder again who he was, this man of mystery, this man with no past and "turn down an empty glass".
This address was given by Dorothy Pyatt at the SA Police Historical Society's meeting on 1 August 1997. Especially present was retired Chief Superintendent Len Brown, who with the late Lionel Leane, were the two detectives assigned to investigate the mystery of the Somerton Beach body.
Len congratulated Dorothy for such an accurate account of the events and went on to add his own thoughts and comments.
It is Len's belief that the man may have been destitute, the reason for not finding any money on the body. At that time he explained there were no Social Security benefits and the labels missing from some of the clothing may have been because they could have been from a charity store.
It was most probable that the deceased had intended to travel to Henley Beach, but on presumably missing the train, he placed the unused ticket in his pocket and then caught a bus to Glenelg, where he walked to Somerton and committed suicide by swallowing an unknown poison which dissipated in the body before the autopsy was conducted. In those days Len explained the procedures were not as they are today and the autopsy was not held until several days after the deceased had been found.
Len also explained that he believed that the man may have come from a country in the Communist Eastern Block. At that time there were no communications between such counties and the western world and therefore a thorough check of the man's identity could not be made.
There is no doubt, however, that the deceased did make every effort to conceal his identity, which along with the cause of his death, still remains a mystery.
The police file is still maintained at Major Crime Task Force in the 'open files', and the bust of the deceased remains in the safe keeping of the Police Historical Society.
His fingerprints were distributed around the world, but recorded no match, and it has since been discovered that formalin used to embalm the body has destroyed all DNA. All police know is that his last meal was a pasty. Will this case ever reach “Taman Shud”?. or will he remain a mystery forever?
Detective Senior Sergeant Gerry Feltus (retired) has been delving into the mysterious circumstances of the Somerton man for more than a decade, mostly in his spare time.
He first became interested in the case when he was at boarding school at Somerton Park in 1956. During the winter, when it was too cold to swim, he would walk past the location where the body was found & the older people from the area would tell him about “the guy who was murdered here”
He has suggested that he may even write a book, outlining the facts of a case he first learnt about as a young detective working in Major Crime. His eyes light up when he talks about the case. He speaks of the conspiracy theories, the logic & the unknowns.
Esteemed member of the S.A. Police Historical SocietyREST IN PEACE.
Many of our members attended the Remembrance Day Service at Fort Largs on Friday 28th September. Because of inclement weather the large crowd packed the Academy Auditorium for a very moving Ceremony conducted by Chaplain David Marr, honouring Police Officers who “laid down their lives in the line of duty” from Australia & the Pacific Region. 58 South Australian Officers have lost their lives in the period between May 1847 and May 2002. President Geoff Rawson laid the wreath on behalf of the Society, & morning tea in the Academy Mess afforded members an opportunity to reminisce with old friends & colleagues.
Society Members Mark Dollman & Ernie McLeod travelled further afield to Banrock Station, Kingston on Murrray, for the ceremony there to remember the fallen, in particular John Dunning & William Carter, the first members of the South Australian Police Force to lose their lives in performance of their duty.
Again another moving ceremony with the Barmera S.E.S. boat arriving at the bank of the river. S.A.Police Department members coming ashore, carrying 2 Australian Flags, which were erected at the memorial site. Following the laying of wreaths the Blessing Service was conducted by Father Adrian Noonan.
“We, the privileged, to assemble and remember, let us be inspired and encouraged by the
commitment and example of those we have remembered. Help us then to proceed from
this place, positive in attitude in our own duties—to our Police fraternity and to the
Australian community. With the help of God we pray”
At the conclusion of the service the Riverland 4W.D. Club provided morning tea. Police Historical members were cordially welcomed by Riverland serving members representing the towns of Berri, Loxton,. Barmera & Waikerie.
Story: Ernie McLeod Photos courtesy Mark Dollman
Our sincere thanks must go to all our dedicated volunteers who helped out during the month. Thursday is our official “Volunteers Day” with approximately 25 members attending each week, carrying out a variety of duties to help keep the Society functioning efficiently.
On Monday the 3rd September President, Geoff Rawson, spoke to residents of the Fullarton Lutheran Nursing Home on South Australian Police History.
Former heart surgery patients, their partners & friends from Heartbeat Central toured our Museum & Vehicle Shed on Wednesday 12th September.
Sunday the 23rd September was an exceptionally busy day. 11 of our volunteers hosted The Rotary Club of Tea Tree Gully to a tour of the Mounted Division, Vehicle Shed & Museum & also provided a BBQ lunch for some 47 enthusiastic Rotarians. The day raised a total of $379.50 toward Society Funds.
Our Vehicle team participated in a pre Bay to Birdwood Parade of some 40 cars through the centre of Adelaide. Mark Dollman & Ernie McLeod rode the 2 BSA motor cycles whilst Rex Greig & Dave Aylett manned the Chrysler Royal.
Friday 28th September saw a large contingent of our members attend the SA Police Remembrance Day at Fort Largs, in memory of police officers killed in the line of duty. President Geoff Rawson laid a wreath on behalf of the Society. Mark Dollman, & Ernie McLeod attended the Banrock Station ceremony.
Several of our members participated in the Bay to Birdwood run on Sunday 30th September, once again showcasing the Chrysler Royal & BSA Motor Cycles.
The “HUE & CRY” is Published by the
South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.,
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/- G.P.O. Box 1539