Skip to content

The Somerton Man and some possibilities there may have been a New Zealand connection.

The Somerton Man is thought (by some) to be the father of Robin Thomson and the grandfather of his daughter Rachel, the wife of Derek Abbott. He is also thought to have been a ballet dancer by reason of his general physique together with his pronounced calf and thigh development.


It happened that ....

Robin Thomson got a job with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company and he and his wife Roma went over to New Zealand where their daughter Rachel, an inconvenient birth, was given away and grew up in New Zealand as an adoptee.

Ballet dancers Roma Egan and Robin Thomson

The identity of her adoptive parents is not widely known. It is also not known if they were ever part of the cold case investigation into the death of the Somerton Man, as a consequence it is not known if there was any connection between him and the adoptive parents of Rachel Thomson, known before her marriage as Rachel Egan.

It is also not known if any substantial search of New Zealand archives for a T. Keane has ever been attempted or if his picture was published in the local press. (Barry T?)

In addition ..

The clothing worn by the Somerton Man indicated he may have travelled to Adelaide from a colder climate.

There is no certainty that this was his first visit to Australia.

The label that had been removed from his suitcase may have indicated his embarkation point.

The pullover he was found wearing and which appeared to have been mislaid may have had a label of make and origin.

The unidentified laundry marks found on his trousers may have been of New Zealand origin.

The ‘Freeman’ Rubaiyat was published by Whitcombe and Tombs, a New Zealand company.

The prepaid (Aust) letter cards found in the Somerton Man’s suitcase mate have indicated his intention to remain in contact with someone living overseas, possibly in New Zealand.

It is also generally accepted that the Somerton Man – known as T. Keane – was not an Australian as no trace of him has ever been found in any historical archives despite decades of searching.

Then there is the coincidence of Robin’s conception at about the same time Alf Boxall was home on leave from the South West Pacific, possibly in the company of other members of the Small Ships fleet, an American post war enterprise consisting of a motley collection of both ships and men, including New Zealanders.

Years ago, while researching for The Bookmaker from Rabaul I managed to make contact with Keith Roll, a fellow crew member of Boxall’s on the Crusader and the man who gave his eulogy. When I asked Keith if he had ever run across a fellow named Keane he was unable to recollect anyone with that name.

note: the author acknowledges an ongoing interest in matters herein by some New Zealand readers.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    If the pullover was manufactured in NZ and, sold in NZ only, I guess that would have been a game changer?

    December 31, 2021
    • If only Littlemore had shown Boxall a pic of SM, but he bloody didn’t did he? Both blokes about the same age, both with copies of the Rubaiyat, both connected to Harkness.

      December 31, 2021
  2. Clive #

    Interesting that a Mr & Mrs T L Keane, He was born in 1897 Australia, emigrated to NZ on 12 Apr 1936 Sydney-Auckland on ‘Monowai’ Nothing new, but I thought it might be interesting!

    January 3, 2022
    • Clive, do the Kiwis have an equivalent of the NAA?

      January 3, 2022
  3. Clive #

    Looks like it’s ‘Archives New Zealand’,

    January 3, 2022
  4. Someone #

    Laundry marks are date and invoice/order number
    3 Jan – 305
    3 March – 439
    1 July – 717

    Of course, 130 jobs in 2 months seems a little low, but perhaps we have invoice books of roughly (or exactly) 1000 pages. The presence of the date helps you find the right invoice book if you need, and then the number confirms the order. In general, the only time you need the number is when someone comes in to collect their pants – but at that point you can be reasonably confident it’s in the current invoice book.

    January 11, 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: