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jessica’s links with the somerton man

If you can believe Derek Abbott ..

SM came to town to see Jessica and his son. He brought the Rubaiyat with him. He was the one who wrote her telephone number on the book’s back cover.

.. you can believe GF’s fiction.

SM tossed the Rubaiyat into the window of a car on his way to the beach.


The ASIO listening post in Somerton Park

Somerton had its own branch of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) and there were several CPA heavies living in the Somerton Park/Glenelg area.

I tried to get to see the file: “CP of A (Communist Party of Australia) South Australia, Glenelg Branch” dated 1949. Series number A6122, Control symbol 624, but was told it was closed because of security concerns. I am fairly sure this file was previously open to some degree, but the archives now seem to be restricting material relating to the CPA.

I think the listening post probably used land lines to tap into telephone lines before they reached the local exchange. I think that by 1949 it was common practice for the security services to covertly adjust the telephones of targets so that the line was continuous open (by replacing one insulating washer with a dummy washer from memory). That way the telephone line was continuously open and any conversations within range could be intercepted.

Lifted from a comment by Byron Deveson on CM.


Jessica was known to be passing or receiving intelligence with Alf Boxall when she was working in Sydney, and in the doing was likely to have come under the notice of the Australian Security apparatus and their sparrows.

It was in Sydney she gifted Boxall an inscribed  copy of the Rubaiyat.

Do you think the little man in the darkened bedroom at Somerton Park, surrounded by his dials telephones and winking lights, would have the mind to add Jessica to his list of Persons of Interest when she arrived in Somerton?

Do you think the Adelaide police may have knocked on his door, figuratively speaking, in their quest for information about the man found dead on the beach near to their listening house.

A phone number of anyone local under listening surveillance, other than the known CPA heavyweights.

pic is an OSS listening station

Thanks Ellen, down to you.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. ellen #

    That whole period after the war when all the German secrets were up for grabs is fraught with intrigue. What secrets were so great that Heisenberg set aside working on the atomic bomb. Australia was probably a mecca for those fleeing post war Europe.
    Jessica was perhaps under surveillance so they couldn’t name her in the newspapers.

    December 10, 2017
  2. That’s why SM was met at the station .. they knew he was coming.

    December 10, 2017
  3. Ellen #

    And they searched his luggage after he checked it ….or was it Tibor’s?

    December 11, 2017
  4. More like they checked SM’s bag after they searched it. How else to explain the gap between the early am express train arrivals and the time the suitcase was lodged.

    December 11, 2017
    • Misca #

      Doubt it Pete. None of these blokes were of the acumen required. You are giving them creds they have not exhibited.

      December 11, 2017
      • I’m not talking about the South Aust police here …

        December 11, 2017
  5. ellen #

    I’m sure Jessica was under a lot of surveillance, just because she was a single pregnant woman in 1949 as warm weather was coming to Adelaide and her private life was becoming apparent.

    December 16, 2017

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