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Thomas Ambrose Keane.



  1. ‘A couple of pages were released of Thomas Keane’s ASIO file. It shows that he was a member of the Eureka Youth League (note 6) when the file was opened in 1945 by the Commonwealth Investigation Branch. It also shows that someone requested a report on his activities and whereabouts in 1950, however who and why are redacted out. It also shows that the file was closed in 1953, however it appears that the reason for the file being closed is redacted. There’s only enough room in the blacked out area to write something like “Found Deceased” or such like.
    What is available doesn’t say how old he is, or what sort of position he held in the EYL.
  2. Eureka Youth League amongst it’s activities performed ballet! (note 1)
    They would’ve needed a coach and someone to make their shoes, presumably.
  3. Unfortunately all the Queensland files on the Eureka youth League from 1942 up-to 1949 have been restricted due to:
    33(1)(a) – would damage Australia’s security, defence or international relations;
    33(1)(d) – would be a breach of confidence;
    33(1)(g) – would unreasonably disclose information about the personal affairs of a person;
  4. Record at NAA of a Thomas Ambrose Keane of 19 Abington St, South Brisbane opened in 1945 is not available due to National Security concerns.’

73051 Davo .. you’re a genius.


1. Margaret Walker (born 1920) a dancer, worked with both the Junior Eureka League and Ballets Russes.

Source: Papers of Margaret Walker (Trove)

2. Thomas Ambrose Keane’s NAA file – 11 pages.

3. Was Thomas Ambrose Keane a Jewish Bolshevik?

‘From about 1870 till at least 1970, Jews were conspicuous for their involvement in socialist and communist parties and movements.’

Source: Phillip Mendezs, eurekastreet.

4. Kate Thomson suggested that her mother and the “Somerton Man” may both have been spies, noting that Jessica Thomson taught English to migrants, was interested in communism, and could speak Russian, although she would not disclose to her daughter where she had learned it, or why.[47]


5. Was Jessica Harkness a Jewish Bolshevik?

(a) ‘You’ll find Jestyn buried under an ornate headstone in the Jewish section of Centennial Park cemetery in Adelaide, I think grave number 602. Her husband Prosper Thomson was cremated and his ashes interred in Springbank Creek, boulder 2 position, also in Centennial Park. Definitely Jewish but not sure why the family had a Scots surname.’

Source: specific comment on spydersden blog.

(b) The Kate Thomson 60 minutes interview done in her home shows her sitting in front of a menorah.

menorah 2

6. Members of the Eureka Youth League 1945 Healesville camp – Howard collection 2-1. One injured, the other applying 1st aid.

EYL members



69 Comments Post a comment
  1. Byron Deveson #

    A possible match. Thomas Ambrose Keane born 1911 at Tallarook, Victoria (Victoria BDM 7289/1911). Father: John Keane III. 1867-1951. Mother: Bridget Nolan 1876-1938. Wife: Lily Maud McDonald 1911-1998 married 25th December 1938.
    In the 1943 and 1949 electoral rolls he gave his occupation as “striker”. Thomas lived in Newport, (29 Salisbury Street) an industrial suburb of Melbourne at the time. Thomas was still listing his occupation as “striker” as late as 1968 (I note that the intel files says his address was in Brisbane).
    I have some knowledge of “strikers” living in the Newport and Williamstown area as I was born there and my Williamstown roots go back to the owners of a Williamstown pub once called the “Bucket of Blood”, a notorious crimping joint “celebrated” in sea shanties of the 1850s. I hasten to add that my forbear apparently cleaned the joint up and it is now a high class chow joint (or at least it was when I last visited).

    During WW2 the waterside workers living around us in Williamstown were openly skiting about sabotaging military supplies.

    September 1, 2019
    • If he was still on the books in ’68, he’s not our man.

      September 1, 2019
  2. misca #

    The Thomas Ambrose Keane described by Byron above, died 30 March 1970 in Newport. (Father John, mother Bridget Nolan).

    September 2, 2019
  3. gordon1552 #

    Hey Misca, Byron, Pete, I have a book that contains all of the names of men from the Dunera who changed their names, so original name in the left column, new name in the right column.

    Obtained from the library, titled ‘DUNERA LIVES’ there’s another volume on its way in the next few months. It will contain the names of 161 German Internees from Singapore including Doctors and nurses etc. They were originally housed at Camp 7 in Hay before being moved to Tatura.

    Not sure what if any connection exists between this medical staff and Hospitals in Sydney at the time. They arrived in Sydney via the Queen Mary in September 1940 I think.

    September 3, 2019
    • If he had indeed changed his name to TA Keane at Dunera, if he was an internee .. would his new name have been approved by the authorities for a NAA file?
      Are there any examples of this happening?

      September 3, 2019
  4. gordon1552 #

    Tibor was not amongst the names that had changed and neither was a T Keane showing anywhere in the list. The details of how the camps were run and how the notes were made etc. are a little thin, it does appear that the authors had access to many personal records. I would feel fairly certain that NAA would have approved any formal name changes, it is mentioned in other sources that some changed their names informally and melted into the background. Will do some searching.

    September 3, 2019
    • There‘s no provision in the NAA paperwork, as far as I can find, for an Also Known As, which would make the individual’s record incomplete, not to mention giving an opportunity for a hostile agent to assume a new, absolutely legal identity.

      September 3, 2019
  5. gordon1552 #

    There are quite a few pages of name changes that I could copy, time is at a premium but will try over the coming weekend. The internees had a high rate of suicide and disappearances.

    As an aside, th book is filled with some amazing images of Artwork created at the time of internment and some after. Stunning work.

    September 3, 2019
  6. Clive #

    And if some individuals showed ‘promise’ in certain, restrictive/secretive tasks, what’s the betting that the ‘powers that be’ managed name changes without question?

    September 4, 2019
    • misca #

      Name changes were most definitely managed without question. Surprisingly, much easily so if the person in question was subversive. I have seen it.

      September 4, 2019
  7. Clive #

    If you go onto the NAA website, Search the Collection, in the Explore box type in AKA and what do u c?

    September 4, 2019
  8. misca #

    Name changes/spelling/variations occurred all the time. I have seen many. Some were formal changes, others; simply evolving slight family informal name changes that stuck. Sometimes, they are marked in NAA files, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes the government figures it out; sometimes they don’t. Often, one only sorts them out when doing family trees.

    I have been out of the mix for a while but has anyone ever considered that the first initial could have been an “I”? (i.e.. Ivan). I haven’t gone back to search for this but it’s a possibility? Upper Case Script “I” looks a lot like a “T”.

    September 4, 2019
  9. gordon1552 #

    About 1000 of the Dunera Boys changed their names, might be interesting to see if they show up on your list Clive? If they appear that’s all good and if not then maybe not Kosher?

    It might be that a good many of the NAA names were also local internees of German or Italian heritage?

    September 4, 2019
  10. Clive #

    Right, unfortunately!

    September 4, 2019
  11. This from petedavo

    ‘A search of Trove using “19 Abingdon st” limiting the search to Newspapers, and the state to Queensland produces interesting results.
    There’s a lot of stuff being sold off in the 40’s (no names mentioned). Then an advert in 1950 which gives the name “Bryce” as the seller. Did the property change hands? Was it a rental? A new tenant in 1950, hence the difference in adverts? Where did Thomas Ambrose Keane go?’

    September 4, 2019
    • And again, from petedavo ..

      ‘Very few clues to his age. The few pages released in his ASIO file just say EYL member. Doesn’t say whether he was an organiser or music/dance coach, or just an ordinary member. The fact that it’s still embargoed suggests the former rather than the later, and someone of some importance. The classified adverts in newspapers suggests someone at his address was reselling prams from the address, about the same time that Robin Thompson was born.
      Since coming across his file, I’ve been going down a rabbit warren of archives.
      I’ve had to work backwards to try and work out who this Thomas Ambrose Keane might actually be, if he is the deceased found at Somerton Beach.
      So far I’m searching Soviet Agents that had disappeared, but had actually defected without the Soviets becoming aware. One of the intriguing possibilities that piqued my immediate interest was one I posted the MI5 file of Aaron Ehrenlieb from the UK Archive yesterday. A bloke who passed himself off under different identities and different nationalities. What piqued my interest was his travels to Argentina, and other countries where the Dutch Diplomat’s daughter, Tania Teppema who became Richard Hemblys-Scales wife also frequented. It all made me wonder if this Thomas Ambrose Keane was a new identity of that Soviet agent that defected. Was he being hidden in Australia for the information on the networks that he created and a Verona code pad or two?
      Did he almost bugger up the fact that MI5 had compromised Soviet networks and codes by going on a private errand to Adelaide and either getting himself killed, or was stopped from exposing the whole shooting match a few doors from where he was going by lethal force? If Keane was Ehrenlieb, he was 53 years old in 1948.’

      Once again, petedavo, thanks for your work ..

      September 4, 2019
      • The same Hemblys-Scales who accompanied Roger Hollis to Australia in 1948 and who assisted in setting up ASIO before relocating to the Middle East under the governorship of Kim Philby …

        September 4, 2019
  12. Clive #

    Aron Zelig Ehrenlieb had a brother Abraham, both Austrians of Polish origin, apparently both worked in Soviet Military Intelligence. Aron worked in China in late 1930’s. Both brothers were refused entry to the USA in 1921-22. I’m presuming this is the one and same Aaron Ehrenlieb?.

    September 4, 2019
  13. misca #

    He was an ALP member and can be found on trove by searching “T A Keane”. His views were not subtle:

    September 5, 2019
    • misca: a bloke with that much to say publicly would surely have been remembered if he went missing ..

      September 5, 2019
      • misca #

        He didn’t go missing. He died in 1970. That’s not to say he wasn’t involved. Or that they weren’t his clothes.

        September 6, 2019
  14. misca #

    Death Index

    Name: Thomas Ambrose Keane
    Birth Year: abt 1911
    Age: 59
    Death Place: Will, Victoria
    Father’s name: John
    Mother’s name: Bridget Nolan
    Registration Year: 1970
    Registration Place: Victoria
    Registration Number: 6647

    Name: Thomas Ambrose Keane
    Death Registration Year: 1970
    Death Registration Place: Victoria, Australia
    Father: John Keane
    Mother Maiden Name: Nolan
    Reference Number: 6647

    Wills and Probate:

    Name: Thomas Ambrose Keane
    Death Date: 30 Mar 1970
    Death Place: Newport
    Occupation: Clerk
    Grant Date: 5 Oct 1970
    Grant: P

    September 5, 2019
    • I should’ve kept on eye on these comments. Thanks for that info about the Thomas Ambrose Keane of Newport. I thought he had become a priest in the 1930’s because there’s a Father Thomas Ambrose Keane knocking about with Maddox and the Catholic Boy Scouts. And the Uncle who ‘s house he initially stayed at in Newport in the 1920’s was organiser of carnivals at a local Catholic school in 1918.
      BTW. I don’t think the Keane from Newport is the same Thomas Ambrose Keane of Brisbane, but I might be wrong.
      Keane is a common Irish Catholic surname, and there’s a infamous Tom Keane who was executed by the British after an Irish Republican Uprising. So the first name Thomas might’ve been fairly common after that.

      September 6, 2019
  15. misca #

    Have a look at naa file INSIDE STORY PART 1 – Barcode: 7937871. Page 181 of 197. Last two lines on the page:

    “What I do know is that in the list of persons mentioned in the Royal Victorian Commission of 1950 as being in the in the Victorian CPA is a Mr. Tom Keane.”

    Mr. Ruffles probably knew more then than we do now.

    September 6, 2019
  16. mica #

    Tom Keane is listed in this article as Newport Branch of ARU.|||dateTo=1950-12-31

    September 6, 2019
  17. Thomas Abraham Keane – EYL – Abingdon Street Brisbane – NAA file restricted for National Security reasons.
    Not every member of the EYL would have had the same treatment. Surely.

    September 6, 2019
  18. gordon1552 #

    Misca: Years back we looked at a man named Thomas Keane employed by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation, involved somehow with Mr. Sharkey? He was also mentioned in court proceedings if you recall.

    Pete: Very classy address in Brisbane

    September 8, 2019
    • There was also another Thomas Keane in Warwick, Queensland. ARU , Railways Clerk. Ran for ALP pre-selection. Council Alderman.
      I don’t think that Wooloongabba is the same as Warwick, so it’s unlikely to be the same Thomas Keane of 19 Abingdon St with the ASIO file. And the Thomas Keane from Newport Workshops, although in the ARU and until the ALP chucked him out for being a communist, was an ALP member, he never had a predeliction for running for local council. Therefore it’s more likely that all these Thomas Keane’es are simply different individuals sharing a fairly common name. The commonality of the name lends itself to being useful as an assumed name of course. The first thought that crossed my mind looking at the NAA file of Thomas Ambrose Keane of 19 Abington St South Brisbane, was that it was a fake name and fake address and thus was the file of an undercover police officer to penetrate political dissident activities. Until I found a 19 Abingdon St Wooloongabba actually existed, and thus maybe ASIO where just bad at writing things down correctly. Which lead me to ponder, if this Thomas Ambrose Keane was simply someone without an Australian History, maybe a Yankee who stayed after the war because he knocked up a local girl, and her parents forced him to marry her. There were musical instruments being sold from that address in the classifieds, so maybe the membership of the EYL was simply a venue for his musical interests. Maybe he was involved in the entertainment arts in the US before the war? There’s a myriad of possibilities of who this person could be.
      At present I’m trying to exhaust some NEFIS leads to his identity.

      September 8, 2019
      • If Thomas Abraham Keane was a legend for an intelligence agent, one good enough to award him with a record in the NAA archive, perhaps the move to restrict its access in 1966, though not all, might demonstrate a conflict within the authorities; ie, those who wanted it wiped completely and those who supported the historical necessity of archiving records within the National Australian Archives.
        Add that to what little we know.

        September 8, 2019
  19. Clive #

    “The Telegraph” 26-08-46 Pages 8 & 9 have adverts at 19 Abingdon St from someone called Richmond. An earlier advert, same paper on 26-07-46 Page 9, same person-but, no hse number. In “Brisbane Telegraph” 21-02-50 Page 23, same address-no name, is selling Bondwood.

    September 8, 2019
  20. Clive #

    On Google: “Book of Names 1864-1974-Queensland Police Service’, plenty of Kean/Keanes!

    September 9, 2019
    • My rationale here, is that undercover agents are recruited from the ranks of state police forces. If the file in NAA of a Mr Thomas Ambrose Keane of 19 Abington St South Brisbane, is an assumed identity of an undercover agent (spy) then it is highly likely that his real identity will be within the Queensland Police Book of Names. If it has a name that’s associated with the address 19 Abingdon St Wooloongabba, like Mr J Richmond in the adverts found in Trove, then we might be able to discover Somerton Man’s identity as a former Queensland police officer, if he is the person that the NAA file A6126, 1396 belongs to.
      The next step, once A6126, 1396 identity is known, is to find his police photograph to positively identify him as the deceased found upon Somerton Beach

      September 10, 2019
  21. gordon1552 #

    You are deep in Bob Wake’s territory I think. Not much went on in and around Queensland without the Colonel knowing about it.

    Could be worth looking up the Military Telephone Directories for Brisbane, they existed in 42, 43, 44 and 45.

    No sign of a Richmond in Commander Long’s book, a Keenan but no Richmond

    September 10, 2019
  22. gordon1552 #

    There was a Lieutenant Lionel Thomas Richmond, next of kin shown as his father John Richmond of Wandal, Rockhampton. It looks as though his father was also in the military.

    September 10, 2019
  23. Clive #

    If ‘Thomas Ambrose Keane’ was an assumed identity, how likely is it that they used the same initials, TAK from a ‘real’ policeman, or is this too obvious?

    September 11, 2019
  24. gordon1552 #

    I think some questions to ask would be:

    1. How many communist party members/known sympathisers still have ther records locked by ASIO? Ten? 20? Just a few?

    2. Is it possible that only undercover people have locked records?

    3. Do we have the names of undercover infiltrators into the party?

    I don’t have the answers, I am not aware of any public list of infiltrators.

    September 12, 2019
  25. gordon1552 #

    This link could be useful as are the comments beneath the header paragraph:

    September 12, 2019
  26. gordon1552 #

    Changed names list from ‘DUNERA LIVES’, KLAUS REICHMAN internee, changed his name to ALAN JAMES RICHMOND. Need to look up NAA for any other information on internees.

    September 12, 2019
  27. Who did they swap Tomegorō Yoshizumi for in 1942?

    September 13, 2019
    • Just learnt that Tomegoro and some other spies arrested by the Dutch and interned at Loveday, like, Shigetada Nishijima, we’re part of a 835 prisoner exchange in 1942.

      September 13, 2019
      • This one is a deep rabbit hole. Here is an early reference to a possible prisoner swap deal regarding Germans interned by the Netherlands East Indies.

        September 17, 2019
  28. Here’s another record that’s been embargoed and hidden away for another 29 years from now.
    And his name?
    Thomas Keane
    Irish Republican, allegedly executed 1921
    Or was he?

    September 19, 2019
    • Pete, how do you suppress a record of an execution?

      September 19, 2019
      • Why would anyone want to, unless they didn’t actually execute him?
        “Lt. Thomas Keane C. Coy 2nd Batt Limerick IRA was executed for levying war & possession of arms. Shots were fired at police but no witnesses confirmed Keane to be the shooter. He was 34, married with two kids & a third on the way.”
        Read the last line from this extract >
        “The likelihood is that the British forces managed to recruit quite a few republicans for intelligence work who never suffered the threat of execution unlike their civilian counterparts. For example Paddy Egan, the Brigade Intelligence Officer of the IRA’s  South Roscommon Brigade was a ‘double agent’ working for the British forces and other IRA Volunteers “turned” by the British in captivity worked as “stool pidgeons”gathering vital intelligence information from other IRA prisoners.
        The British intelligence agent who probably inflicted the most devastating blows to the republican war effort was William ‘Bill’ Shiels an ex-British soldier who had infiltrated the IRA in north Cork and was responsible for the deaths of nine IRA Volunteers at Nadd and Mourne Abbey. Shiels managed to disappear just before the Truce of July 1921 and was later reported to have started a new life in Asia with the aid of British Intelligence / MI5”
        I’ve posted his photo upon the TS BF forum. It’s a bit grainy and will need someone who knows ear deformities better than me to do the comparison.

        September 19, 2019
  29. The NAA file for a Thomas Ambose Keane of 19 Abingdon St Wooloongabba.
    Could J Richmond be the assumed name (alias), and T Keane be his actual name? Instead of the other way around.

    September 20, 2019
    • That would explain the Keane labels.

      September 20, 2019
  30. Clive #

    Well, if Thomas Keane was 34 in 1921, that would make him about 61 in 1948-too old? Having mentioned this, his photo does look interesting.

    September 20, 2019
    • I wonder if he had a younger brother or even a cousin by the same name. One who was a double agent. The photo does pique my interest, and display a similarity to those deformities that appear upon the man found deceased at Somerton beach. Deformities that appear to be inheritable.

      September 20, 2019
    • Byron Deveson #

      in some forms of connective tissue disease the person can physically appear to be much younger than their callendar age. I know two cases where persons with connective tissue disease looked up to thirty years younger. Male 73 who looked like he was in his forties. His mother who easily passed for 50 when she was eighty. Both had “baby bum” skin (comments from a specialist cosmetic doctor). So, SM’s biological age could have been 61.

      September 21, 2019
  31. Clive #

    Thanks for that, Byron. The face of TK looks the right shape for the SM, his build (?) then again, he could have physically developed and muscled up, post 1921? His feet look quite large, unless it’s the angle he’s standing. His ears do need a closer look, his height looks about right.

    September 21, 2019
  32. Byron Deveson #

    Hi Clive,
    it is worth following up. Do you have any details of his ancestry?
    Also, see:
    “Benefits of hEDS (Hypermobility sub-type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome).
    1. We have pathologically smooth, velvety skin. Expensive creams aren’t needed to keep our skin looking young and smooth as we age. Although our joints degenerate and age quicker than our peers, our appearance remains youthful………”

    September 21, 2019
  33. Clive #

    Byron, Still looking for family background, but see: Four Limerick City Republican (pdf) on Google. Age given as 30.

    September 21, 2019
  34. Clive #

    Per ‘My Heritage’, Irish Census 1901-advises that a Thomas Keane was born circa 1891 in Co. Wicklow,to a John & Sarah Keane, aged 58 & 46 respectively. Apart from Thomas, the rest of the family were John , Katie & Sarah (siblings). ages: 26, 21 & 13.

    September 21, 2019
    • I’d like to be able to discover more about John Keane (only because the labels that were on the Somerton Man’s possessions that were marked have a first initial that could be interpreted as either being a T or an incomplete J

      September 22, 2019
  35. Thomas Keane’s memorial plague in Ireland has him as a captain instead of a lieutenant and aged 30 instead of 34

    September 22, 2019
  36. Newspaper reports confirm his age as 30. And aso state that his body was not released to his family and that no civilians were allowed to witness his alleged execution.

    September 22, 2019
  37. Clive #

    On website “Keane-Public Member Photos and Scanned” There is a photo of a Thomas Keane born 1902-looks interesting?

    September 22, 2019

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