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I think we are just about done here ..

I can’t see anywhere else to go on this  .. everything has just about been said and done and nothing is any clearer, or closer.

The man has been dead for over 70 years and sometimes I feel the conversation is just as dusty as the bones that lie in his grave. There is nothing new. All everybody is doing is tugging at the edges of an old blanket too ragged to give any warmth.

So, there you go.

Make what you want of these posts, I’ll keep the site going for a while yet, but right now I’m all out of Somerton Steam.

The train has left the station.


49 Comments Post a comment
  1. John Smith #

    “All what is written in this book may be not true” (c) Richard Bach

    March 29, 2020
  2. thedude747 #

    Disappointed Pete but want to congratulate you on keeping this up as long as you have. If your hearts not in it maybe time to look for the next challenge.

    Well done on the book and all of your efforts to keep the fire burning and adding some great banter and humour.

    Are you prepared to put your flag down on the most likely scenario?

    Time traveling über driver from the future
    Car thief

    March 30, 2020
    • Number 29 is solid … no little thanks to you old son. Even that old rascal Sanders found it hard to fault – except for the local flight timetables.

      And you’re right, it’s been a trip. And in case you think old age might be getting the better of me .. it ain’t

      Every day has a story to tell.


      March 30, 2020
  3. dude47 #

    Everyone knows where I stand on Keane . He was a car thief in town probably for the first time to see Prosper NOT Jessie or Jo or Jestyn or Jessica or whatever name she was going by at the time. That he came through the wise network of random PT drew in through his endless small adds or through PTs Melbourne connections.

    I think he was either I have only struggled with PT taking him out. PT was shifty but more in the Arthur Daley style. I think if he did take him out it was out of panic not pre meditation.

    Based on his bloated spleen I think natural causes and PT dumping him in panic is entirely possible and 29 is pretty good. My only doubt is the cash in the sock part. I know the lack of socks is weird and causes many a theory just like many other clues that have bought exotic theories I tend to look at more mundane explanations.

    As as a frequent business traveller used to packing for short trip many a time I have made the very frustrating g mistake of simple forgetting g to pack shit including socks more than once. Im inlined to believe this was the simple explanation for that. Even the fact the socks he was wearing had been mended suggests he was caught short.

    So Im gonna go for a 29 hold the cash in the socks

    March 30, 2020
    • His case was found unlocked, dude, nobody does that ..

      March 31, 2020
  4. sanders #

    A trademan the likes of T. Keane wouldn’t bother locking, out of respect for his peers.

    March 31, 2020
  5. пожалуйста #

    For me, for what it’s worth, small items like the ticket stubs and minor circumstances like the unlocked suitcase feel too much like the mechanics of detective fiction. Colombo moments.

    Especially when placed against the big “themes”. The first is the apparent connection between ‘Keane’ and Harkness and the strong suspicion of a genetic connection between him and her son (further supported by the circumstantial evidence in her bio).

    The second is the world of espionage and security. While this is compelling stuff, to date none of it connects reliably to ‘Keane’. The code may or may not be a code. It may or may not have been possessed, written or seen by ‘Keane’. He may have been poisoned, but the poison could have been as mundane as digitalis.

    Looking for the most mundane route through this maze, then, I’d say ‘Keane’ is a displaced person who finds himself in Australia at the end of WW2. Without family or other established social network he drifts and picks up odd jobs. He’s in Sydney for a while. Meets a nurse. Maybe moves to Melbourne, helps out with security around the baccarat scene. Here, he discovers a a talent for gambling, or maybe just seizes an opportunity. Now flush with cash and knowing that his pre-existing medical condition is getting worse, he makes a decision: he’s had enough and if he doesn’t delay, doesn’t piss away the spoils, at least his son will benefit.

    ‘Keane’ follows Harkness’ trail to Adelaide. Fumbles around but eventually finds her. There is a rushed re-union, maybe the first (but certainly the last sight) of his son. ‘Keane’ hands over a sock full of cash with the entreaty to look after the boy, to love him and remember the old man by. He wonders aloud if young Robin will have the same talent for dance, asks Harkness to later share with the boy the solace that he found in it.

    ‘Keane’ says his last goodbyes. He roams Glenelg for a last hour or two, methodically divesting himself of possessions.

    Finally, sat somewhere along the esplanade, he takes the final draught of poison and waits. Its effects begin. He vomits. But finds the energy to descend to the beach.

    There’s a place there, just by the stairs. Good for a last cigarette.

    March 31, 2020
    • The lividity on the body dispels that notion.

      March 31, 2020
      • пожалуйста #

        IIRC, Cleland notes the lividity but finds that it is not inconsistent with death having occurred with the body in the position it was found in.

        March 31, 2020
        • “The lividity around the ears and neck was perhaps surprising in view of his position, but it was explainable. It would depend on how much his head was supported, it may have been only slightly supported, perhaps no more than one’s head is supported on a pillow.”

          The above was taken from the deposition of
          JOHN BURTON CLELAND 1 Dashwood Road Beaumont Legally Qualified Medical Practitioner Professor in Emeritus of Pathology at Adel Univ
          AS SWORN

          March 31, 2020
          • пожалуйста #


            While Cleland draws attention to the lividity (“perhaps surprising”), nothing in his comment actively suggests the body was moved. He is content that there is an explanation for the lividity without necessitating movement of the body post mortem (“it was explainable”).

            While the inquest concludes that it is not certain where ‘Keane’ died, it does not conclude that he died away from the beach, in the same position he was found.

            March 31, 2020
            • “… where I saw lying near a sea wall opposite the Somerton Crippled Children’s Home the body of the deceased which was fully clothed, lying on its back with feet towards the west, with the head resting against the sea wall, slightly inclined to the right. ”

              Taken from the deposition of John Moss, Police Constable stationed at Brighton. Sworn.

              You could argue that there is a difference between a body found with its head ‘resting’ against a sea wall and one found with its head ‘supported’ by a pillow.”

              It’s all about altitude.

              March 31, 2020
              • пожалуйста #

                I hear you. But these are both depositions made at the inquest. Cleland’s conclusion presumably takes account of Constable Moss’s statement (and that of other officers, witnesses, etc.). And Cleland – Professor Emeritus of Pathology, in his allotted role of expert witness – still concludes that death ‘in situ’ is possible.

                We can argue about the correct application of Occam’s Razor, of course, but it seems to me that any speculative narrative does not need the body to be moved post mortem in order to still hit the known factual ‘marks’.

                March 31, 2020
                • Then we can move onto the witness who recalled seeing a man carrying a man along the Somerton Beach foreshore late in the evening before the body was found.

                  March 31, 2020
                  • Further … Cleland either took no notice or didn’t read Gordon Strapp’s deposition wherein he described the man he saw alive in the evening as wearing different trousers to the man found dead in the morning. So we are not discussing a coroner on top of his game here.

                    March 31, 2020
                    • пожалуйста #

                      How reliable is the description of detail after the time elapsed between event and report?

                      And against a lowering sun, I think the marginal difference in the description of trousers seen at a distance of yards is not convincing evidence.

                      Did Strapp specifically look at the dead man’s clothing at the inquest and say: “These are not the duds you’re looking for”?

                      March 31, 2020
  6. sanders #

    Boris is becoming far too sentimental for this line of work; off with his head.

    March 31, 2020
    • пожалуйста #

      I’m not entirely comfortable with this turn of events myself. But in looking for the shortest possible route of connecting people, objects, locations and events, this is where I seem to have arrived.

      But it’s a speculative fiction. And a fragile one at that. Any one of us could nix it in a moment with a reference to a fact that don’t fit. And over on TS/BS, GC dangles further “coming soon” carrots. Who knows, one day he may hit pay dirt and the love story, nit-keeper, car thief narratives might collapse in on themselves with a soundless rush of nothing but hot air.

      But until then…

      March 31, 2020
      • Where is the ‘speculative fiction’ here? .. or have you had enough?

        March 31, 2020
        • пожалуйста #

          No, I’ve not had enough yet. I’m still enjoying the process of making connections and filling in blanks in an attempt to arrive at coherent narratives. That’s what I mean with “speculative fictions”… or perhaps they’re “fictional speculations”?

          I think it’s a valid form of enquiry. My hope is that one such story will fit (or nearly fit) the facts (which will remain a moving target) and that, like true writers (because looking at the posts and comments across multiple sites, that’s what everyone is doing: writing the dead man’s story), we can move from narrative to plot. From what to why.

          That’s where the gold is. The truth.

          Apologies for the parentheses (they seemed apt somehow).

          March 31, 2020
  7. пожалуйста #

    For what it’s worth, this is what I’ve been using to try and make sense of things.

    I make no claims for accuracy or completeness. In fact, it is entirely wilful in what it includes, what it excludes and how it connects those things. It is also a work in progress. It uncovers nothing factually new. It operates at a low level of detail.

    Furthermore, it is not based on anything like a reasonable data model, nor is it underpinned with a proper database. It is, alas, just a drawing, which means that it will become unnavigable with much more content.

    But you can follow it like a map and take different routes to places, people, etc. Reason suggests that looking for the shortest paths between entities might be helpful.

    But most of you have been everywhere on this map before.

    March 31, 2020
  8. dude47 #

    What was found in the locker was clearly a travel bag and not the entirety of Keanes worldly possesions. So he’s clearly packed for a trip of around a week probably less.

    He had to have some place of abode where the remainder of his possessions were. His clothes , hats, a few service medals etc. If he was the legitimate type you’d think someone, wife girlfriend , house mate would have said somewhere around January of 49 “where the fuck is Keane? “Haven’t seen him for weeks” “he never came back from Adelaide” maybe we should make a few enquiries” and when nothing turned up even report him missing.

    A non legit type like Keane probably had a room in a boarding house in Carlton and a bunch of loose acquaintances , his .landlord being used to the itinerant types simply cleared his room out after a few weeks of un. paid rent , maybe even rummaged through and nixed anything of value and diced the rest.

    The tools had to be related to whatever purpose was his visit to Adelaide and to 90a Mosley

    The tools dont fit with a trip to see his son for the first time. Why bring them ?

    What would a spy need with those items?

    Can anyone on the spy / lover bandwagon explain why he chose to shlep those specific items all the way to Adelaide if his short trip was related to seen g his ex or being a spy?

    And if he was a legit guy seeing his kid he had to have have some roots interstate at least enough that someone would notice his absence enough to make an enquiry.

    April 1, 2020
    • пожалуйста #

      The fact that he’s a total cleanskin is obviously what creates the space for speculation. Particularly the spy stuff. My personal (current) variant is: yes, what he’s carrying is the sum total of his worldly possessions because he’s quite possibly on the lam. He may have been itinerant for a while, part of an informal economy. He’s left his last place of abode in a hurry. He’s probably made a decision about his next and final steps. And he’s ruthlessly edited his inventory to remove anything that identifies him. Medals, photos, mementos: all gone.

      April 1, 2020
      • пожалуйста #

        … because he might be protecting much more than his own privacy in death. If he’s on the run from Melbourne hoods or Calabrian brothers, with the loot stuffed inside a sock, he’s also protecting the final beneficiary: his son.

        April 1, 2020
        • If Robin was his son then Keane was in Sydney in Oct 1946. By coincidence so was Alf Boxall … and I always liked to think Keane served in with MacArthur’s mob in the SWPA … being unfit for regular military service because of his feet. But I couldn’t find him as a crewman on any of the Small Ships Company during the post war period, not that it means much, that outfit was full of cowboys. But it’s a tasty convergence.

          April 1, 2020
          • пожалуйста #

            Sydney, October 46 is as good a convergence of time and place as any other we have. Has this been combined with the domains of ballet, dance, circus skills/acrobatics or other similar types of performance? Especially by touring artists?

            Otherwise it’s the hospital again? Keane has patient written all over him.

            April 1, 2020
            • No one’s got the energy, all we do here is have bright ideas.

              April 1, 2020
  9. Boris .. what you are doing here is challenging the facts in order to strengthen your fiction.

    Strapps was a young man with a young man’s eyes. He was sitting only yards away from the man for ten minutes (?) His deposition was specific. Accept it.

    For years commentators have been doing the same thing.

    Derek Abbott says Moss must have ‘missed’ the matches, he also states that the witness who saw a man carrying a man ‘probably’ had the date wrong. Dude now reckons Keane ‘must’ have left his other belongings somewhere else.
    Cramer is finding micro-writing in the most impossible places, as well as manipulating images to suit his personal narrative. He’s been getting away with it for years and as a result has flooded the internet with his suspect images. He also dismisses all thirteen tools as being litter .. thrown in by an unknown hand to muddy the waters.

    Pelling remains the stand-out, he might be an irritating bastard but he doesn’t make a move without getting his facts in order.

    April 1, 2020
    • пожалуйста #

      I’d draw a distinction here: I don’t think myself and DA (in the examples above) are challenging the facts. More like: questioning their interpretation. To go from a missing box of matches to a conspiracy involving murder and cover-ups is the kind of ride I’d expect from a pulpy ‘policier’, but it feels like too much of a stretch in the ‘real world’… whatever that is in this case.

      But I do agree that an accretion of such small indicators does colour the picture. The tipping point – the ‘balance of probabilities’ – is an entirely subjective place.

      April 1, 2020
      • My interpretation of the matches that weren’t there places as suspicious the cigarette found under his chin..

        April 1, 2020
  10. dude47 #

    Pete are you saying that the contents of Keane’s suitcase were the sum total of his worldly possessions? He didn’t have a house, a lean to out the back of a suburban home , a room in boarding house, no tent or swag swag nothing but what he was carrying when he arrived in Adelaide?

    Its not rhetorical I really am interested in how such a well dressed , manicured seemingly vain dude in excellent shape for his age who cared enough about his appearance to carry several combs , shoes perfectly polished a mixed choice of decorative neckties and cleanly shaven could be traveling around with nothing to his name bar the clothes on his back and one carry case.

    April 1, 2020
    • No I’m not, but I think whatever he had in his case before it was rifled did.
      Because I reckon that such ‘a well dressed , manicured seemingly vain dude in excellent shape for his age who cared enough about his appearance to carry several combs , shoes perfectly polished a mixed choice of decorative neckties and cleanly shaven’ would not have left his suitcase unlocked.

      April 1, 2020
  11. dude47 #

    So did he have a regular place of abode?

    April 1, 2020
    • We couldn’t possibly know, dude, not if his personal papers were missing.

      April 1, 2020
  12. sanders #

    I once thought SM lived in a rental at 29 or 29A Devon St. Goodwood next to the station. In the early fifties a couple of ex Wirth’s Circus trapeze guys, just back from Europe lived there, Arno & Felix, ex Paddo and St. Kilda. Might have known our man from their time in Adelaide post war as showmen.Told the punters at Nick’s place once but no expressions of interest shown. Arno’s living at Rookwood and Felix down Springvale way these days.

    April 1, 2020
  13. dude47 #

    I cant reconcile even in my limited brain that the well brushed and polished clean shaven superbly fit and toned with a brand new flashy suitcase T keane was a homeless person.

    April 1, 2020
    • Who says homeless … he might have upped stakes from Qld when the plod up there cracked down on his business .. Clive found an article in one of the Qld papers that mentioned their successes in clamping down on interstate car thieving in ’47 / 48 … I ‘ve got it here somewhere.

      April 1, 2020
    • пожалуйста #

      Homelessness is a spectrum, from itinerant denizen of flophouses through to rough sleeper. He wasn’t the latter until 30th November 48.

      April 1, 2020
  14. dude47 #

    Its possible

    April 1, 2020
    • There’s another thing that’s possible, dude, that our man was a safe -cracker. Not all safes had combination locks post-war, and the methods used to get into them was not that different to popping open a car.

      April 1, 2020
      • N oit the criminal safe cracker type, but the intelligence agent safe cracker type. maybe to steal classified documents from safe storage, and return them before anyone discovers that they’ve been compromised. Like the former telstra technicians employed by electronic surveillance units today, they break in, plant the bugs, and disappear out the door. These people exist. I can’t tell you who they are, but it’s been in the media within the last decade when the employer was looking at rectuiting some more.

        April 2, 2020
        • Excuse the typos. This phone’s auto correct is borked.

          April 2, 2020
  15. sanders #

    14/3/43 Night safe blown open money stolen C.H. Freeman Chemist, Prospect Rd., Det. R.L.Leane investigating….Was that blackface mascara, lube graphite or blasting powder on the T. Keane brush?…

    April 1, 2020
    • How come you never thought of it first, big fella?

      April 1, 2020
  16. sanders #

    July ’49 thieves had to Jemmy their way in to the Freeman place, haul comprised only a few cameras and razor blades. Their specialist safe cracker was sadly boxed in over at West Terrace by then…I was never asked, and what’s more I ain’t so big; just tall that’s all.

    April 1, 2020
    • Do ye know that an old style razor blade snapped in two is almost a perfect fit into the lock of a pair of handcuffs?

      April 1, 2020
  17. dusty #

    Xmas day ’64 had to drive 70 mile to Bungendore just to get a pair of cuffs off. How was I to know about the half razor blade trick, being just a young shaver n’all. Rarely had to use em in the job later, uncooperative Kiwi sheilas mostly.

    April 1, 2020
    • Not only that, the safe-cracking squad at the time knew to pull over a car that looked to be travelling a little heavy in the rear end, figuring there might be somebody’s safe in the boot and the lads heading off somewhere quiet where a little whoooomph in the night might go unnoticed.

      April 1, 2020

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