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the keanes of hay

Standing back here, admiring the work being done by GC and Clive, wondering how we could assist in the endeavour.

I had lunch yesterday with John B, a retired NSW policeman who was part of the great Terania Creek drug bust and who counted Roger Rogerson as one of his most skilled instructors. John B has looked at the holes in the end of a shotgun barrel, pointed at him by a villain who could run no further.

Rogerson on the right, the unarmed man he’s just killed in the gutter

John B is abreast of the Tamam Shud mystery; we discuss developments every week, in particular the work being done by GC and Clive. Those boys dig for information as greedily as a gold miner does for a nugget.

We were talking about the Keane name-labels; one on a white tie, another on a singlet and one on a laundry bag. John B agreed that they might have been second-hand clothing items sold or distributed in one of the internee camps.

From what we’ve learnt the internees only arrived from Europe and the UK with one (leather) suitcase each and over the course of a two to four year internment they would need replacement clobber.

‘Fair enough, said I, ‘but three Keane name-labels in the one bin. How is that likely?’

John B is a cagey fellow, when he’s got an idea he doesn’t let on too quick, being an ex-cop he likes to listen. But yesterday he had a glint in his big blue eyes.

‘What if there was a Keane family in town,’ he said, ‘and they gave the St. Vincent de Paul Society a bag of clothing to be taken to the camp?’


Phillip James KEANE b: 1878 in HAY. NSW


‘Then,’ he said, ‘look for an organisation in town that requires the men to wear a white tie on their special occasions.

T Keane, written on the back of a white tie

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great work John B! Thanks Pete..:)

    October 26, 2016
  2. That cost me a beer.

    October 26, 2016
  3. Robert Nowak #

    Good one, Pete! BTW remind me one day to tell you about Rogerson’s stage show. Atheneum theatre, Melbourne circa 2008. Hi all!

    October 26, 2016
  4. Clive #

    Pete, Only one beer? John B’s got the type of thinking that would buy him a brewery, Hi Robert.

    October 26, 2016
  5. .. by that I mean a beer every time I see him,

    October 26, 2016
  6. pete: do you mean something like this –

    October 26, 2016
  7. That was 2014, this is now.

    October 26, 2016
  8. B Deveson #

    It appears that Phillip James Keane born 1878 at Hay; father Michael Keane, mother Bridget nee Delaney, died 10th November 1935. The electoral rolls indicate that in 1913 he was a labourer living in Annandale, Sydney. In 1930 he was an engine driver living at 10 Edwin Street, Mortlake, NSW. 1935 as for 1930.
    He does not seems to be listed in the electoral rolls between the years 1913 and 1930, at least under the name Phillip James Keane.
    Sydney Morning Herald 11th November 1935 page 10
    KEANE.-November 10, 1935, at Western Suburbs Hospital, Philip James, of Edwin-street, Mortlake, beloved husband of Ada Keane and dear father of Albert, Dorothy, Leslie, and Evelyn, aged 57 years.

    October 26, 2016
  9. Thanks Byron, that’s where I started.

    October 26, 2016
  10. ellen #

    I think the suitcase was switched with another. It didn’t matter what was put in the T Keane suitcase but it did contain the thread which matched the tamum shud pants repair. I think SM and Tibor missed each other on the first go around but connected later so the suitcase receipt would go to Tibor. In his strange suicide note, Tibor stresses the suitcase.

    Perhaps SM was Tibor’s alter ego and false identity. When he was taken out, the jig was up.

    October 27, 2016
    • SM arrives on the 30th and books the suitcase, leaves the luggage ticket for Tibor in a dead-drop.
      Then he dies, mysteriously.
      An secret agency representative waits for Tibor to arrive in Adelaide and lead them to the luggage ticket. There is something in the suitcase they want, without police help.
      Tibor arrives with only one small bag, he is followed and fatally dealt with.
      The agency now have access to SM’s suitcase.
      Tibor’s suicide note is meant to be read by his connections, who know he only travelled to Adelaide with the one small bag.

      Whaddya reckon, Ellen, is that happened?

      October 27, 2016
  11. ellen #

    Oh good. I thought you would laugh me out of the park. I was thinking more like the movie Jackie Brown with Pam Greer….the suitcase switcheroo. The suitcase had the thread that matched pants which could have come from Tibor’s cadaver. That threw the investigators. The tamam shud ripped paper clue was in the secret pocket. Let’s say another suitcase contained uranium. Somerton Man was somewhat radioactive from carrying that around. He put that suitcase into the train station and later met Tibor. Tibor and SM were supposed to meet in tandem. That was why SM had two train tickets. He didn’t need a dead drop. SM gave him the receipt. Tibor than picked up the uranium suitcase and checked the phony. If he was followed, it would look like the same suitcase that he had when he arrived and might have been searched at customs and found harmless. Tibor’s suicide note seems phony to the core. No one is so unemotional that there would be no spelling, grammar or smudges under such conditions. The last sentence refers to the suitcase….”There is an inventory
    of clothing articles in the bigger suitcase.” The word “Danetta” might be similar to “Dimona”.

    October 28, 2016
  12. Clive #

    Miss Marple strikes again! Good thinking Ellen, as you state, Tibor’s letter seems almost clinical, no emotion/ramblings etc. If, and it’s a big If, Tibor could have written that letter months before and it was only dated at the time of his “suicide”?

    October 28, 2016
  13. MW65 #

    there was a Keane family at Semaphore, I passed this info on to GF after reading his book. Son died in WW2 so possible clothes got donated or given to someone. The son’s wife was a nurse in NSW too .. 😉

    October 28, 2016
  14. .. Thanks. Let’s see how this travels.

    October 28, 2016
  15. Didn’t Lawson also talk a bit about how well built and large the guy was? Huge hands? That doesn’t sound like Tibor…

    October 29, 2016
  16. Clive #

    Hi Misca, I believe you’re correct. The frustrating “thing” is that if the SM had unusual ears, large hands and highly developed calf muscles, you would have thought photos would have been taken somewhere down the track?

    October 29, 2016
  17. Misca:
    Lawson made a few comments but this I think is what you may be referring to:
    Lawson’s observations of the body
    Lawson was not allowed by the Police to transport the body to his laboratory, and the moulding work had to be carried out at the City Morgue using limited materials and tools. Lawson was not allowed any assistance, and carried out the work with three detectives watching over him. As the frozen body was thawing, the skin became very damp and Lawson co-opted the detectives to keep padding it dry. Lawson observed that all the internal organs and brain had been totally removed previously (for toxicological testing). Due to discolouration of the skin, as the body was 6 months old, Lawson could not see the nicotine stains on the dead man’s fingers. Lawson was not able to observe the man’s teeth as the mouth was locked closed. Lawson noticed the toe and finger nails were clean and well trimmed. He also noted high calf muscles and wedged toes. Having been an amateur wrestler, himself, Lawson particularly admired that the man had a strong upper body with narrow waist. He noticed the skin on the hands and feet were particularly soft with no signs of manual labour.

    That could apply to Tibor, he was meant to have been fit and he may have had large hands. I think it may have been Cleland who observed the hands? Lawson actually made a comment about how the body appeared to have shrunk.

    October 29, 2016
    • Thanks for that, GC, real information is very rare in this case.

      October 29, 2016
  18. Edmund Kean, Passed Away October 18th 1948 in Sydney. The short form of Edmund being Ted:

    To put it in place, the Sydney Train goes via Wangaratta, Shepparton, Ouyen and then Tailem Bend to Adelaide OR via Wangaratta to Melbourne and then via Ararat, Horsham, Nhil to Tailem Bend and then Adelaide. To put it another way, SM could have been from Sydney, stopped off in Melbourne? And then on to Adelaide.

    October 30, 2016
  19. John sanders #

    Apart from our old mate Tom, there was another Keane worked at 115 and may have joined him at 130 in Kure as he wasn’t demobbed until 6/‘47. Name was Edward but called himself Ted and doesn’t appear to have had a missus though was a little old, also a little on the short side to be SM, but for the life of me I can’t find hide nor hair of him alive or dead since his discharge. I noted that his printed ‘K’ is good for the suitcase tie and for what it’s worth he gave his pre military occupation as ‘painter’ so he might have been inclined to have a brush handy for a quick cash job. I was only able to check his non photo ww1 fille so someone might pick something groundbreaking on his ww2 sheet and become a celebrity God willing, but I doubt it.

    January 18, 2017
  20. He will if he finds out what sort of function you’d wear a laundry labelled white tie, don’t you reckon?

    January 19, 2017
  21. John sanders #

    Only one person I can think of off hand who would see need to put his moniker on a tie and his initials are GI as in General Issue. It appears quite similar to a fairly standard design WW2 ‘Ties Neck Open Weave Lt. Tan Dress Service All Ranks’. (Military jargonistics) and would appear to be in the Empire style with V bottom as opposed to the US squared off design which only came to Australia with introduction of the new polyester uniforms circa. 1964. Obviously it would only look white against a khaki background and I guess I’ll go with tan if the army says so. Can’t see anyone in a lodge, bowls club or similar needing to mark an item like a necktie which would usually be pinned with a tag by Lawrence’s for dry cleaning as opposed to a soldier being more concerned about some ‘tea leaf’ flogging his clobber than having something so unsightly as his name printed upon same. Puts one in mind of the yarn about the sheila reporting a rapist to the cops and nominating Fletcher Jones, who was silly enough to have had his name printed on the inside lining of his strides.

    January 19, 2017
  22. ‘ ….. Empire style with V bottom as opposed to the US squared off design which only came to Australia with introduction of the new polyester uniforms circa 1964.’

    For these small morsels, John, us story-tellers are grateful.

    January 19, 2017

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