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How did he get her phone number?

When Harkness was taken to view the bust she thought was of Alf Boxall, she was almost overcome with what could be described as a shock of recognition so profound it rendered her incapable of answering any questions other than by saying no.

A shock so traumatising she wouldn’t even look at the bust again, preferring to fix her gaze on the floor of Lawson’s office until the ordeal was over.

Harkness knew who the the Somerton Man was – that’s been obvious all along – and her dramatic reaction to seeing his bust makes it likely she had not been aware until then that he had travelled to Adelaide only to die almost at her front door.

How did he get her phone number?


Then he rolled into town with enough spy paraphernalia for a screenplay.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    I’m still trying to workout how she managed to have an entry in the local telephone book as: Sister J.E. Thomson’ when (1) She wasn’t a Sister and (2) was still a Harkness-not a Thomson. It would seem that nobody ever checked her nursing history or, marital status, for what it was worth. Perhaps she told the SM to look at the local telephone book under her alias?

    March 14, 2021
  2. When did Harkness flip to Thomson?

    March 15, 2021
  3. Clive #

    Probably when she arrived in Adelaide? Sometime in 1947?

    March 15, 2021
  4. Maybe he stole the book from the house when he realised that he was going to die to leave a trail..
    Tore a piece out and stuffed it into the last pocket they’d search for incriminating evidence and hid the book on his person, then chucked the book as soon as he had an opportunity somewhere it might be found, knowing that if the police were able to find both, there’d be a trail back to his killers.

    March 15, 2021
    • In that scenario, Pete, all he had to do was ask for help on his way to the beach.

      March 15, 2021
  5. Clive .. George was running Hindley St ads from Feb 47, which means he was there before Harkness arrived in July and the first ads for her phone number appeared in the local classifieds. Perhaps they didn’t meet up in Mentone after all and they agreed to use an old relationship to cover her out of wed-lock pregnancy and subsequent child.

    March 15, 2021
  6. Clive #

    Another question, I suppose, is why did George move to Adelaide-late 1946/early 1947. (He was living at Henley Beach by Mar 1947).

    March 16, 2021
    • I think he might have been setting up house, Clive, finally settling on Moseley St in July 1947, the first month X 3239 appeared in the classifieds.

      If it was SM who wrote X 3239 on the back of the Rubaiyat he could have learned of it any time after July 1947 by looking in the Adelaide phone directory.
      But he would have to have known what he was looking for if he wanted to find Jessica Harkness.

      March 16, 2021
      • MyName #

        Can’t remember if I’ve asked this before, but who’s in the habit of writing a phone number on a piece of paper with no name? Does it suggest he’s literally jotting it down with the intention of immediately ringing it? Or does it suggest that he knows he’s going to remember it?

        To me, the fact that the number is there with no name suggests more the first. A long time ago I think there was people talking about the idea that he’s arrived in Adelaide with the intention of going to Henly Beach. In the station he rings or speaks to someone who gives him the phone number. He jots it down with the intention of ringing it straight away (either as sopon as he gets off the phone, or finishes the conversation). Possibly he rings the number, but certainly he changes travel toward St Leonards rather than Henly Beach.

        I’m too young to have been around then, but I assume theuy couldn’t get phone records the way they can now? Would be kind of interesting to know whether 90 Moseley had any phone calls in the 72hours leading up to SM’s appearance on the scene.

        March 19, 2021
  7. Clive #

    So, he has the info. that Henley Beach is where Jessie lives but, finds out that a X preceding the 4 digit telephone number is for Glenelg area, not HB-I wonder if he asked someone what suburb the letter X stood for. (That’s possibly after he bought the train ticket)?

    March 19, 2021
    • Clive, is this the bloke with the Rubaiyat in his coat pocket and TS slip in his fob?

      March 19, 2021
  8. Clive #

    How come he intended to visit Henley Beach? Why not Port Adelaide, Brighton, Tennyson etc. The only link I can think of is that Prosper was living in HB in 1947-Is it possible that the SM had, down the line, been in contact with Prosper, they talked and Prosper mentioned his HB address? An associate from Melbourne?

    March 19, 2021

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