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John Ruffles and the name ‘Jestyn’

John Ruffles is almost a brother. This is a qualification that is extremely hard to come by as it entails long residency at Bondi Beach and a few contacts amongst the renegade South Bondi crew, the blood brothers.

‘Call me Ruffles,’ he said today when I rang.’What do I call you?’


We spoke for 20 minutes. I filled him in.

By now he’s read Gordon Strapp’s deposition again and found the mention of striped trousers. Ruffles told me he had never taken notice of it before. So now he’s a member of that club too. The one I’m chairman of.

We never noticed it either.

Ruffles gave me something for the burrowers, which means I owe him beer and oysters when we meet.

He gave me a link between Ballet, a person(s) named Jestyn and Robin Thomson.

A trifecta.


Meet Hilary Trotter.

Meet Hilary Trotter, husband John and their son Gavin Jestyn.

Meet Hilary Trotter and Victoria Jestyn.

Meet Hilary Trotter and Robin Thomson.

Thanks, John Ruffles.

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. gordon1552 #

    Pete, what job did Robin have ‘outside of Ballet’?

    November 21, 2018
    • Don’t know …. but I have a (slender) link between ‘Jestyn’ Thomson and Otis Pearce.

      November 22, 2018
  2. Byron Deveson #

    Robin worked in Canberra as a car salesman with one of the big dealers. I can’t remember the dealership at present. A friend of my brother knew Robin (in the 1980) but he wasn’t able to tell me anything that might be relevant for us. I was told Robin raced a Ford Escort in hill climbs. I even know the colour of his Ford Escort – aqua. I think the dealership was called Greg Cusack in Canberra City.

    November 22, 2018
    • gordon1552 #

      Thanks Byron!

      November 22, 2018
  3. Byron Deveson #

    Canberra Times 27th February 1988 page 12
    “WANTED to buy late model,
    low km, good, clean used vehicles. Ph Robin Thompson on 671672.
    Licensed Motor Dealer 20-24 Lonsdale St Braddon 671600”

    Canberra Times 27th May 1980 page 19
    “Dick Bates posted the fastest time of the day in the second round of the Swiss Motors ACT Hillclimb Scries on Sunday with a sizzling 31.73sec run up the 804 metre Lakeview hill climb course. Bates drove a 351 V8 powered XD Falcon. Next best was Ian Keys with a run of 34.18sec in his Torana. Third fastest was Robin Thompson who recorded 34.50 in his Ford Escort RS 2000”

    Canberra Times 18th November 1981 page 39
    Wanted to buy lop line RX7 coupes. Top prices paid.
    Hire purchase paid out. Contact Robin Thompson on
    Ph 478580.”

    November 22, 2018
  4. Clive #

    I wonder when the lost Gold watch ad will turn up?!

    November 23, 2018
    • gordon1552 #

      Now that would be a turn up for the books 🙂

      November 23, 2018
  5. Misca #

    Robin actually danced with Victoria Jestyn. I posted the trove link a while back. There are lots of interesting connections along this line…

    Another link:

    November 25, 2018
  6. Misca #

    The “Jestyn” name comes through Hilary’s father. It’s Hilary’s middle name too.

    November 25, 2018
  7. Thanks, Misca, there’s got to be a connection somewhere … all these Jestyns, all that ballet.

    November 25, 2018
  8. Misca #

    And they all knew each other…

    November 25, 2018
    • Jestyn the mother of Robin, Robin the dancing partner of a Jestyn. That Jestyn the daughter of a Jestyn. The same Jestyn who was the wife of a Jestyn.
      Have I got it right?

      … and, come to think of it, did someone say, somewhere, Jessica may have been adopted? NickP mentions the adoption of Rachel in one of his posts.

      November 25, 2018
  9. Clive #

    Adoption of Rachel is mentioned in: “The Lost Man-The California Sunday Magazine”.

    November 25, 2018
    • Thanks Clive. Hilary’s dad, how far back can we go?

      November 25, 2018
  10. Byron Deveson #

    WILLIAMS, Thomas Jestyn. August 25, ’68 at Canberra formerly county architect of
    Breconshire in Wales. Dearly loved husband of Ethel, loved father of Hillary, fond father-in-law of
    Dr John Trotter, loving grandfather of Deborah, Victoria, Gavin and Simon.

    November 25, 2018
  11. Thanks Byron … if only we had a bisecting line with Jessica, the woman who seems to have left little record of passing through.

    November 25, 2018
  12. Byron Deveson #

    Thomas Jestyn Williams, born April 26th 1895 at Crickhowell, Breconshire. Married Ethel Maria Bush b 1905 d 1998 at Crickhowell, Breconshire September 1928. One child – daughter (Hillary I presume). Ethel was born July 1905 at Crickhowell, Breconshire and died 2nd August at Canberra, ACT.

    November 25, 2018
  13. gordon1552 #

    See latest post Pete, Major William Jestyn Moulds, Royal Australian Engineers, signatures are interesting plus other info.

    November 26, 2018
  14. Misca #

    Before we knew her as “Jessica”, was she Theresa Powell? My memory and notes on this are vague. There might be a Powell connection of sorts to the Jestyn/Trotters. Byron???

    November 26, 2018
    • The Sydney Morning Herald, 28/11/12. The Riddle of The Sands.
      ” the telephone number (on the back of the ROK) was unlisted and belonged to a nurse called Teresa Powell or Johnson.”

      November 26, 2018
  15. Misca #

    Ha! Probably nothing…But I’m going to dive in!

    November 26, 2018
  16. Misca #

    Mr. John Ruffles…I read your report and scoured every word and would like to thank you sir for the research you did, so many years ago…Before anything was available at the touch of a hand! You were and remain, ahead of your time in this SM saga!

    November 26, 2018
  17. Thanks GC. In my day we always knew who we took our middle name from: a saint, an uncle, father …. so what might be the significance in carrying the name Jestyn through three generations?

    November 26, 2018
  18. Clive #

    Thomas Jestyn Williams, an architect, and we all know what architects have to be good at? Not just quick on the draw but, small writing, very small writing.

    November 26, 2018
  19. Byron Deveson #

    I note that Robin lived in Canberra for a decade or so. Hillary Potter seems to have lived in Canberra for several decades and her parents retired to Canberra from Wales and died in Canberra. And Alf Boxall died in Canberra. What is it with Canberra?

    November 28, 2018
  20. Clive #

    You almost get the sense that, with Canberra not exactly being the centre of the universe, these individuals, and whatever secrets they held, felt that they, wouldn’t attract unwanted attention. Silly notion I suppose!

    November 28, 2018
  21. gordon1552 #

    Canberra would be a convenient place to look after your assets.

    November 29, 2018
  22. gordon1552 #

    Lots of resources on tap to look after those who looked after you. Of course others may have different ideas.

    November 29, 2018
  23. Byron Deveson #

    Pete, How so? How so? Cop this.

    Why Canberra matters.
    Peter Wright (“Spycatcher”) said that in the 1940s western intelligence realised that the Soviets had decided that Australia was the best target for spying in the anglosphere and were applying apparently disproportionate effort in Australia. The Soviets had realised that a lot of US and British (and Canadian, and New Zealand and South African) intelligence passed to Canberra. And the Soviets knew from experience that Canberra leaked like a sieve. On one occasion a Russian diplomat, a known KGB agent, was found sitting in Doctor Evatt’s (“Get their names! Get their names!) desk at Parliament House, reading the confidential files. Evatt was the Attorney General and Foreign Minister and was well known for having an attitude that “it would be better if we told the Russians all our secrets.” He was notorious for leaving top secret files lying about in public areas. He was suffering from neurosyphilis and that sort of behaviour goes with the disease.
    During WW2 and immediately after the quantity of known cipher traffic from the Russian embassy in Canberra was exceeded only by that from London and Washington. That speaks volumes for why a sleepy, little (population about 40,000), town that was otherwise insignificant was of great interest to the Russians. The soft underbelly of the Anglosphere was more or less in the hands of Evatt and his mates in the 1940s.
    Incidentally, my feeling is that the Russians used Evatt as an unwitting agent of influence, a useful idiot, and Evatt certainly was in positions to be very useful and was an idiot. Evatt was a leading light in setting up the United Nations and he was the first President of the UN General Assembly. Evatt “ … was prominent in the negotiations that led to the creation of Israel as chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Palestinian Question…… He helped draft the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” (Wikipedia).
    The Russian moved Victor Zaitsev from Japan where he had been running Richard Sorge (who was as important to the Russians as any of their atomic spies) to Sydney. Why? Zaitsev had left Australia several years before ASIO realised that he was a very senior GRU agent. What Zaitsev got up to in Australia is not known as he was never under observation. I think it is significant that Alfred Hughes was the head of MI in Sydney and supposedly monitoring the communists and Russians in Sydney during WW2. Hughes was a KGB agent.
    It has been suggested that Zaitsev was handling a very senior source in the Australian Government. Doc Evatt is my guess. Evatt was a Sydney boy and Zaitsev lived in Darlinghurst, close to where Evatt would have hung out when he was in Sydney.
    Bottom line? Canberra might very well have been a dusty and otherwise insignificant fly speck in international terms, but if you wanted to eavesdrop on the Americans and the British then Canberra was the place to be. And, as a long term resident (five and a half decades in Canberra and I grew up nearby), I know that the Russian would have found rich pickings long after the 1940s, and probably still do. There is good evidence that the Russians had a source, probably a group of six, within ASIO in the 70s and 80s. This information came from a defector post 1992 and the Russians were never able to discover who their informants were.

    December 3, 2018

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