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50 George Saul Haim Joseph Marshall


George the dark Malay, with all the troubles in the world. Lying dead in the Mosman scrub for fifteen days, being torn around by rogue possums and wild rats, some semblance of a soft copy Rubiayat lying around him somewhere. A couple of pencilled asterisks by a particular verse. His Rubiayat.

” Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,

Before we too, into the dust descend:

Dust under dust, and under dust to lie,

Sans wine, sans song, sans singer and sans end. “

Omar Kayaam was selling well in those days. Blame the war. A book of romantic Persian verse to be sent home to the little woman, or the lonely bride.

George also had his poison, and his cup and flask – a lemonade bottle. Only the mountain top missing, George.

How you quested.

George was a marriage of great fervour to shifting hopes. And he was troubled to hell. There was his small book of poetry, ‘ Just You and I ‘ published and ignored. The Bunbury doctors in Western Australia thought him insane and had him taken to the Heathcote Asylum after George had expressed his desire for the sea to take him.

George was a painter without a brush, a poet without a listener.

Talkative and philosophical at all times, ask me anything he might have said at some dinner table. He enthralled all who knew him well and there were many he entertained.  He was kind, George, and generous to Gwen the hairdresser. Gwenneth Graham.

Gwenneth knew his heart. I’ve heard it said before that all hairdressers do that, know your heart.

Gwenneth bled herself to death in her warm bath not long after she was made to appear at the inquest into George Marshall’s suicide.

What isn’t clear anywhere are the questions they asked of this woman on that day. A Courtroom of White Men. A dead black man, his friend this white woman, the one who accepted his money. George’s gift to her. When he offered the money over lunch Gwen had laughed. George!

Three days later there was two hundred pounds in her bank account.


Australia. 1945.

George had propped his head up on a stone to await his end.  He would call that optimism for the eternal life to come. Nobly gone George, and good luck old lad. The convulsions would have thrown him everywhere.

But what was he doing across the harbour from his home, and on a headland overlooking WW2 harbour movement?

george marshall

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pete, do you have an image of the Marshall book? Be interesting to see just where the asterisks were placed.

    July 31, 2018
  2. Sorry, mate, never seen one, probably in pieces after such a long exposure.

    July 31, 2018
  3. Clive #

    Hi Pete, A couple of items, I’m sure you’ve seen them before! “Smith’s Weekly” 27 Mar 1948 Page 18 & “Truth” 19 Aug 1945 Page 18.

    July 31, 2018
  4. Well, no it wasn’t in pieces, it was under the body and therefore protected somewhat from the elements. I’ll see what I can find.

    July 31, 2018
  5. Gordon, Clive – thanks.

    July 31, 2018
  6. Clive #

    Another body without any i.d., facing the sea and another copy of the Rubaiyat which seems to have disappeared without trace.

    July 31, 2018
  7. Patterns, Clive … how we love them. Looks like 51 is in the pot.

    July 31, 2018
  8. jestyn72 #

    Look at what was happening in the world when George’s body was found. The atom bomb had just been dropped. What was happening in England? Heisenberg and company were at the farm selling out their secrets….last minute race to bring that baby home.

    August 1, 2018
  9. I’m looking, can’t see a connection.

    August 1, 2018
  10. So we have a ‘small edition’ of the Rubaiyat lying on his chest. Barry Traish on his blog states that Methuen published a range of miniatures of the book from 1904 I believe. He noted that some of these books contained adverts for other editions but he was not able to find an ad for a Methuen 7th edition.

    Here’s the question, how come a small book, measuring about 120mm square, could lie on a mans chest for about 2 weeks, (the date on the copy of the newspaper found spread beneath the body was 20th May 1945), without being either being blown off by the wind or soaked by rain or spray especially given its proximity, some 30 feet up from the edge of the water? Some light research would show the weather conditions during that time so here’s the weather for the period according to Wolfram Alpha:

    Would it not be reasonable to assume that the breeze in that location would be somewhat stronger than the normal wind speeds? Some test results I read recently showed a wind speed of 9/10 metres per second on a cliff top some 10 metres high. That’s quite a breeze, it equates to 36 kmh. It should be said that the location of the body in terms of its precise distance from the cliff edge was never clearly defined.

    One wonders what the newspapers headlines were?

    August 7, 2018
  11. Clive #

    One newspaper reported that the body was some 50 yards from the edge of the water.

    August 7, 2018
  12. My thoughts go back to Paul Lawson’s comments regarding a certain detective meeting with Jestyn after she had laid flowers at the grave of SM. She had apparently told the detective that the laying of flowers was a part of a ritual associated with a Persian religious sect. Whilst there are numerous sects from that country, the one that stood out was Zoroastrianism, the Parsis. Air or Sky burial was the ritual for this particular religion where the deceased were consumed by birds, vultures, and other animals. To some extent, both SM and George had a form of air burial with George’s being the closest; he was found in a ‘high’ place akin to a Dakhma perhaps?

    There is a reference to flowers although that seemed to be within 30 days of the funeral and not for many years as was the case with Jestyn and SM’s grave.

    I think that it’s preferable to provide some substantiation to comments and posts, it helps keep the audience informed and provides some credibility to any claims made and even additional leads, and so here is some reading for those who are interested:

    August 8, 2018
  13. Clive #

    Gordon, just one question that springs to mind with the Persian religious sect, taking into account both George Marshall and the SM, I wonder if part of the ritual with the bodies is not to have any sort of i.d. on the body?

    August 8, 2018
  14. Not sure about the ID ritual Clive.

    The Marshall shoes did show a makers name whereas the shoes SM was wearing had no name just a number, there was some excitement about 8-9 years ago when I managed to track down a manufacturer in the UK, John Lobb and Co. I had a discussion with Mr. Lobb junior and he agreed that this was one of their numbers but it referred to a pair of riding boots. He also wasn’t terribly complimentary about the design of SMs shoes stating that they were not made by Lobb and Co. Further research revealed that it is not uncommon for makers of shoes to use similar numbering systems and that bespoke shoes without a makers ID were manufactured in Adelaide and other cities in Australia by a Government body specifically for returned servicemen. Whilst there was a major factory in Adelaide, there are no records that have survived at least as far as I have been able to ascertain.

    Bottom line is yes, Marshall’s shoes were identifiable but the source of SM’s shoes remains a mystery.

    August 9, 2018
  15. Regarding the copy of the ROK, 7th edition; the book was opened on pages 52/53 where the quoted quatrain was located. There is an argument that compares earlier editions of the book where that particular quatrain does not appear on pages 52 or 53. However, you could also say that the Marshall book was in miniature which could have resulted in a different page number.

    August 9, 2018
  16. Back to the shoes, back in 2016 Clive and I published a post regarding the Dunera boys and the shoes:

    I hope you find it informative 🙂

    August 9, 2018

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