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We have a problem with the whereabouts of a Mr. John Freeman – chemist of 24a Jetty Road Glenelg.

We would like to draw your attention to the following statement made by the venerable Gerry Feltus.


John Freeman, in December, 1948, was a Chemist, and resided with his wife in premises attached to their Chemist shop, at 24a Jetty Road, Glenelg. Their family car, a small Hillman Minx was more often than not parked in Jetty Road, outside their shop/residence.”


Yes, John Freeman was a chemist in December 1948.

Yes, John Freeman did reside with his wife in premises attached to their Chemist shop at 24a Jetty Road.

Yes, Their family car, a small Hillman Minx was more often than not parked in Jetty Road, outside their shop/residence.

However …

The Sands and McDougall 1948 Adelaide Directory has chemist J.C. Freeman living at a 14 James Place – could be the city, could be South Brighton but it’s not 24a Jetty Road. Apparently Freeman moved to that address somewhat later – a check of the 1949 S&McD might be useful in confirming this, in any event it most certainly looks like GF was being a bit clever in his narrative

because ……

we know Webb died at between 10 pm and 2 am somewhere other than at the bottom of the steps because lividity doesn’t lie and if we were to believe it was himself (or somebody else) who dropped the Rubaiyat into Freeman’s car then perhaps their journey to the beach encompassed a go-by at one of the James Places as that’s where Freeman’s car was most likely to have been parked that late in the evening,

because …..

even large department stores in Adelaide shut their doors at dusk, for instance, when Charles Moore’s Department Store in Victoria Square Adelaide burnt to the ground in March 1948 it was ascertained that the fire started after closing time at about 6:30 pm. So, a man doesn’t have to be Dick Tracy to figure out that John Freeman and his Hillman Minx were both long distant from Jetty Road by the time Mr Webb’s body arrived at the bottom of the steps.

Moores on the Square | Adelaide Remember When


I’ll leave you with that thought.


Drawn from the following …

“I have established that the person who owned the car in which the relevant copy of the Rubaiyatj was located and his wife are both deceased. Their next of kin have recently given me permission to release identities and details relevant to the ‘Unknown Man’ investigation.

John Freeman, in December, 1948, was a Chemist, and resided with his wife in premises attached to their Chemist shop, at 24a Jetty Road, Glenelg. Their family car, a small Hillman Minx was more often than not parked in Jetty Road, outside their shop/residence.” Gerry Feltus.

“The 24a Jetty Rd. address was part of St. Vincent Hotel in 1948 and did not become Freeman’s Chemist until ’49. From memory John Freeman was living closer to town at Kingswood or Myrtlebank in those days whilst brother Collin was at 31 High St. Glenelg (Vergo S & M) or else above the Freeman owned FSMA chemist at 62 Jetty Rd. between Milton and Chapel Sts.” John Sanders

” There is an entry note in the Sands & McDougall Adelaide Directory 1948 that a Chemist, J.C. Freeman lived at 14 James Place.  There is a James Place in the city and, another James Place, South Brighton.Clive Turner.

Note: Myrtle Bank is approx.16 kms from Glenelg –  South Brighton about 6 kms – James Place (city) about 12 kms – Kingswood 13 kms.

The 1948 Sands & McDougall Adelaide Directory does not have a listing for John Freeman at 24A Jetty Road Glenelg.

“Per a 1949 inquest report, a doctor who examined the Somerton Man’s remains placed his time of death around 2 a.m. “ Smithsonian Magazine.

“In March 1948 Charles Moore’s Department Store in Victoria Square Adelaide burnt to the ground. The fire started after closing time at about 6:30 pm.”


.. and Rookwood is a cemetery.


23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Minstrel Janet #

    Why would you be at all surprised by a gross inaccuracy from that man?

    April 16, 2023
    • Put it down to us having a lot of email contact back in the day .. GF and I established a relationship of sorts when I was writing the Bookmaker. I’m not going to deny he took a few liberties in writing The Unknown Man, however there are enough seemingly innocuous facts in the book to have me realise Feltus was only shadowing the truth, not hiding it. We all know the depth of relationships within SAPOL and there would be no way Feltus would destroy his, he had to improvise with the truth as well as accept the lies he was told.

      Years ago Byron Deveson wrote that he mistrusted James Cowan’s motives and I disagreed at the time, now I don’t, partly from a more careful reading of Dwyer’s deposition and Feltus’ account of both Cleland and Cowan taking possession of the Somerton Man’s possessions. Cleland I could understand wanting to sort through all that stuff, but I could not figure out why Cowan, a chemist/analyst got an invite to that particular party.
      Now I can …

      April 16, 2023
      • Guzz Rating #

        Minstrel Janet…
        I don’t know what to make of this Feltus chap.
        I’ve never understood his supposed animosity toward Abbott and what part of the (pre-DNA of the hair results) hypothesis Abbott put forward was so irritating to him (Feltus).
        I presumed, at the time, that Feltus simply didn’t like someone else “getting in on the act”.

        April 16, 2023
  2. It’s my view that GF has some credibility here as per the previous post that the stories of witnesses will be close to the money. But I think applying names to the players let GF down.

    April 17, 2023
  3. Clive #

    GF’s book is what, flawed?, a lot of the quotes from newspapers are not dated-why not? Why the big secrecy when they are in b & w? Reading between the lines, I get the feeling that GF knows a lot more or, suggests that he does. How come he managed to interview Jessie twice in her later years, favours returned perhaps? Perhaps he got her to edit his manuscript.

    April 17, 2023
    • Anyone know when Leane handed the investigation over to Brown?

      April 17, 2023
      • Clive Turner #

        Hi Pete,

        Per ‘News’ (Adelaide)  1 Dec 1949  “The Somerton Body investigation is
        still ongoing with Det-Sgt Leane & Det. Brown in charge”.   (I wonder if
        they meant to write that Det. Brown was in charge?)


        April 17, 2023
        • Thanks Clive … and for those who think GF was a little circumspect with the truth, I’ve just found (thanks to Clive) another instance where he’s hidden a pearl of knowledge in his book.

          April 17, 2023
          • Back cover?

            April 19, 2023
            • See the last comment and the question I asked Lurk ? What would your answer be Loner?

              April 19, 2023
              • W9048, reversed is the phone number PT used in his shed at Henley beach, dualled up with a legit business.

                April 19, 2023
                • So we can find it in the ‘48 SM directory, yes?

                  April 19, 2023
                  • No, I expect you won’t, trove did have it, but while you’re searching, I could do with the phone number for “The Union Bank of Australia” at 126 Jetty Rd (south side), Glenelg. F H White was manager.

                    April 19, 2023
                  • Henley Beach lines came out of the Glenelg Exchange at that time I be

                    April 19, 2023
                • P.s. drop the “W”. As in the code it means swap. You have to search Henley Beach 8409

                  April 20, 2023
                  • Loner, this is your claim … so it’s down to you to verify it. Good luck.

                    April 20, 2023
  4. The Sly Dog #

    I have always wondered about the currency of the info printed in the annual Sands and McDougall directories. It must have taken such a long time to compile all those details that by the time the publication was printed was it reflecting what was collated from the previous year?
    Saying that, the 1948 or 49 directory has the Freeman Chemist listing for James Place – city for what looks like pretty much a commercial building just off Rundle St (now Mall). Highly unlikely its a place of residence. Freeman seemed to have a few other suburban chemist stores.

    April 17, 2023
  5. Clive #

    A C.H. Freeman had a store at 210 Prospect Rd, Prospect, not sure if it was a store or not, because per the adverts in the local newspapers, you had to write or phone the chemist. Could have been related to J. Freeman?

    April 17, 2023
  6. Janet, baby, I’ve made you an appointment, don’t be late.

    April 17, 2023
  7. a lurker #

    S&M has him in the city James Place (PDF page 118) – appears to be a large building, so business rather than home:

    April 19, 2023
    • Nice, thanks.

      April 19, 2023
    • a lurker #

      Addendum: South Brighton didn’t exist in 1948 (that area seems to have just been Brighton) and there is no James Place where it is now
      (sources: S&M, Fullers St Directory 1948)

      Maybe going off script, presumably the “Jetty Rd” originally came from Freeman himself – but that seems based on an assumption that it appeared in the car at a particular time (I’m sure somewhere there’s a reference that he *later* found it in his car). So Jetty Road is not necessarily reliable. But at the same time, there’s nothing to say the book ended up in the car *immediately* before SM died. If SM dropped it there wouldn’t it make more sense that it was earlier in the day? His bus arrives at Adelphi Tce much earlier, and then we assume he wanders to Moseley St and ends up at Somerton. That would put him at Jetty Rd early in the day as he’s heading to the Thomsons.

      April 19, 2023
      • This is only peripherally related, Lurk, but would you or any other readers have expected Det. Brown to have been involved with the circumstances surrounding the discovery and handing in of the Freeman Rubaiyat?

        April 19, 2023

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