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The Problems We’re Having With Stuart Webb’s Grand Revelation

For a bloke who appeared to enjoy the worldwide exposure gained by his finding the ‘proof’ of the Somerton Man’s identity, Stuart Webb has since stepped into the background though only after correcting a few wrong calls in the group shot on Derek Abbott’s FB site. Admittedly there have been dozens of questions asked of him there and it’s not surprising he has declined to respond to most of them.

However there are two questions only he and Cristy Webb can answer and given the decades long attempts by so many to get to the bottom of the mystery it’s puzzling why neither of them have made themselves available in a forum less constricted than Professor Abbott’s tightly monitored Facebook site. It’s not as if anyone here wants to pry into their family affairs, all we hope for are answers to a few simple questions.

Stuart and Cristy Webb ..

Starting with the photograph album both of them are examining ….…

and this photograph in particular:

The story as we have it is that this photograph ^ was found by Stuart in a family album only after he unstuck two pages and peeled them away from each other, revealing a pic of Carl Charlie Webb as tagged by Stuart’s grandmother Val. Stuart said it was like being on a treasure hunt.

Question 1.

Are there any other photos in the album similarly tagged, and if not, what possible reason would there have been to choose this photograph?

Question 2.

Stuart Webb has said both photographs were taken in 1925 and we know Carl Charlie Webb was still in Melbourne in 1947 .. given that expanse of time (22 years) would it be unreasonable to expect there may be another one or two photos of him in either that or another family album, a snap taken at his wedding perhaps, a birthday party, an anniversary?

He seems to be a happy young fellow here … and very photogenic.

54 Comments Post a comment
  1. thedude747 #

    “Parts Unknown”

    The newspaper add in 51 seeking the whereabouts of Carl Webb formerly of Bromby st and currently on “Parts unknown”

    The lack of any photos of Carl.

    The lack of anyone being aware Carl was in Adelaide.

    WTF happened some time beyond that idyllic family picnic between Carl and his family that he became persona non grata.

    May 15, 2023
    • Dude, the longer it takes to get those questions answered the stronger our curiosity grows.

      May 15, 2023
    • Guzz Rating #

      …he got married…

      May 15, 2023
    • Guzz Rating #

      On a more serious note, considering the lack of photos of Carl Charles Webb from the Webb side of the family, possibly we could get more luck from Doff’s side. I get it that Doff herself, might not have wanted to keep any photographic memorabilia, but maybe some of her nieces or nephews were at their wedding, etc, and kept a snap, or two.

      May 15, 2023
      • Good luck in having any of them coming by this place …

        May 15, 2023
  2. John Sanders #

    I recall from his TV debut back in November Stuart the surfer revealed that he was in business but didn’t go further. I then made polite enquiries about his credentials. Almost immediately Byron Deveson jumped in and let it be known somewhat tersley that Stuart Webb was, or had been a Captain in the navy, as if that said all but he didn’t elaborate either. It might be handy if we could get more info on that score from the man himself or our erstwhile informant.

    May 15, 2023
    • Erstwhile Informant #

      The sea captain information isn’t correct.

      May 17, 2023
  3. a lurker #

    It’s an interesting thought but think about whether the number of photos you appear in is consistent over time. Someone above mentioned him getting married – which might be one reason you go to fewer family events. Even if it’s not HIS life that drifts away, as families grow up the number of times they have gatherings change, because suddenly each arm of the family has different prioriteis and excuses not to be there, from moving away or attending kids’ sports or whatever. Clearly some of these wouldn’t specifically apply to CW.
    On the one hand I think it is odd that there would only be 1 or 2 photos that he’s in, but at the same time it’s not really THAT strange that there wouldn’t be more.

    Sitting on the fence.

    May 16, 2023
    • That’s fair enough, though with all the publicity I would have thought all the surviving Webb’s would be checking their family albums for a pic of Charlie … cousins, nieces, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
      And here’s another thought, if you were given the 1925 group shot and told one of the men was Charlie rather than have it done for you, who might you have chosen?

      May 16, 2023
      • I’ve contacted Derek directly via his website and heard nothing. I’d like to know what testing was done to confirm this is an image of Charles Webb.
        Or was it just, ” This reads Charlie, this looks like Amy” = “This is Charles Webb in 1929”
        There are ways of dating old original photos from the paper, ink, size, corners if they are rounded or square, the width of the white bit around the edge as well as the film number which often printed out down the side.
        Mistakes happen, only have to remember Norman Martin, brother of Daniel who only ever existed due to a mistake from a photo.

        May 18, 2023
  4. dude47 #

    Im curious about the lack of photos but Im equally as curious about how the happy lad beaming in the family photo came to be “CARL WEBB OF PARTS UNKNOWN”

    There something else gone on here that has soured the relationship with the family IMHO.

    May 16, 2023
  5. John Sanders #

    Charlie Snr. may well have been out of regular contact working on nation wide joint PMG telegraph & Electric Authority power grid transmission lines from as early as 1920/21 when he finished a technical course at Swinburne, right through until his marriage twenty years later. Brief newspaper reports of him being in town for footy, camping or filling in at the bakery could be fobbed off as refering to Charles Jnr., or rare occasions of leave taking etc. NB: there was a linesman Charles Weber got into a spot of bother doing such work with the Commonwealth in 1922. Anyhow I’m more interested in Jerry the almost prestine corpus delicti from Somerton Beach.

    May 16, 2023
  6. dude47 #

    PB Do you believe Carl was ever a resident of WA ?

    May 17, 2023
    • Don’t know enough about him mate .. from what I’ve read there were about 10,000 Carl Webbs in Aus at the time …

      May 17, 2023
    • Jo #

      @ Dude – the details in the newspaper, regarding Gladys Scott’s will, were quite specific – electrician working in Cottesloe. Someone in the family must have received that information, maybe a letter or card – there was stationery in the suitcase.

      My own working theory is that he moved to and from Adelaide with Hickey Taylor – you can follow Hickey’s movements via his AusStage listings (for singing and acting) and his stage manager credits via JC Williamson programs. Hickey moved between Adelaide and Perth between 1947 and 1949 with various JC Williamson shows. The show Under the Counter, for which Hickey was the stage manager, ended the night before Charlie died. A possible scenario is that there was a party and Charlie was taken to the beach to sober up, perhaps after taking recreational drugs – eg whilst others packed and left. Perhaps Jessica Thomson was the theatrical supplier. Perhaps thats when a relationship between Hickey and Charlie ended. The major hole in my theory is that it doesn’t seem that Hickey ever stepped forward to identify Charlie – both Hickey Taylor and Gerald Keane continued to work for JC Williamson until Hickey’s retirement and Gerald’s death from a workplace accident. Hickey did become a depressive and received psychiatric treatment in the late 1950s and early 60s before his own death in 1962. The Keanes also contacted the police through the years but there was confusion as there was another member of the extended family who had also gone missing and the stories of a missing uncle got conflated and confused as key people died and others aged , the other bloke was bald so the police dismissed links to the Somerton Man (this is all discussed by Stuart Webb in his interview for “The Criminal” – link on DAs Facebook site).

      I also think the car theories are still in play – James Hill and then his son Jack ran a back yard car repair and maintenance business in the yard immediately behind Bromby Street (I haven’t been able to find their NAA service records – there are so many Hills!). Although there were at least 14 signals intelligence locations in the Bromby Street area during WWII – including next door and across the road, there is no evidence of any signals intelligence activity, apart from possibly for Rita George (a photo at a recruitment event). Will Sher was friends and colleagues with a WWI signals intelligence operative whose later business was located virtually next door to where ASIO set up – I know this because he was one of my fathers in law’s father.

      I believe that the Rubaiyat came to Charlie via Hickey via a member of the Kiwi Revue cast – eg popular female impersonator Phil Jay (who performed with Hickey in the Girl Friend) or possibly Gerald Keane. It may have been an army print run – eg for sending to the troops at Christmas, hence identical copies aren’t floating around. It isn’t actually death poetry – its about living life to the fullest, maybe a bit of sin, and living without regrets. Guzz thinks its poetic bollocks, I quite like it. I think that the “code” is actually a memory aide for an actor learning their lines – eg first letters of words and that the funny diagram is a place note, for their position on the stage. If I had time there’s a short list of old plays that haven’t been digitised that I would like to check.

      Dude, I think you actually have the intelligence to read and consider my theories, for what they are worth. I know there are others who will simply jump to hurling the invectives. I also think PB’s obsession with Stuart Webb is a bit stalky, perhaps unhealthy.

      “Some people think that girls should be seen and not heard, well I say, Oh bondage up yours!”

      May 17, 2023
      • Guzz Rating #

        @ Jo
        …Excellent post. Your theory of the code being “prompt notes” for an actor’s lines is as good as any. As for Hickey, Keane and SM occasionally travelling around together, that could well explain why items of Keane’s clothing were found in the suitcase…they were simply mis-packed.
        I was baffled as to why, despite times being hard, someone would be so skint they would need hand-me-downs for things like a singlet and tie. (You’d have to be absolutely on the “bones of your arse” if you couldn’t afford your own vest!) There still is the matter of Keane spelling his name wrong (without an “e”) on one item. My spelling ain’t the best, but I did manage, eventually, to master my own surname.

        As for ” Guzz thinks its poetic bollocks,”…. If I’m honest with myself, I suppose I’m not the best person to review Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám,,, (or any book of poetry for that matter) considering my idea of a cultural evening would be to see Chubby Brown then go for a Chicken Tikka Hiroshima down the Curry Mile.

        May 18, 2023
        • Jo #

          Guzz – I’m originally from the North of England, not far from Manchester. I can’t believe Chubby is still going and I miss British curries! Nowt wrong wi’ that lad! I learnt poetry with northern accents: “What is this life, if full of care, we ‘ave no time to stand and stare!”

          May 18, 2023
  7. dude47 #

    There was even a ship called the Carl Webb docked at Fred at the very same time our man was supposed to be just a few Ks up the road at Cottesloe. What are the f…n chances !!!

    May 17, 2023
  8. dude47 #

    PS “Fred” being Freo as in Fremantle WA.

    I shouldn’t post after happy hour.

    May 17, 2023
    • dude … That bloke being patted on the head by the blonde Charlie … who says who he is? Is there some argument there?

      May 17, 2023
  9. dude47 #

    I always thought it was his brother in law Mr G Keane but could it be Hickey Taylor?

    May 17, 2023
    • What does Stuart Webb say ? I can’t find anything definitive.

      May 17, 2023
      • Jo #

        He said somewhere (FB?) that its not Gerald Keane, who is believed to be the photographer. Other photos of GK were found which indicate that it is not him. The bloke hasn’t been identified but Poppins and Steve on CM have proposed that it is Les Scott’s colleague Frank Dibb – there’s certainly a likeness to a 1929 photo. Hickey Taylor is the young bloke to the left of the frame, his name is written on the back of the photo with some others (see FB).

        May 17, 2023
        • So, we have a mystery man, yes?

          May 17, 2023
          • Jo #

            Yep, although I’m not sure what you mean about staying with the game and doing myself a disservice! And I wouldn’t assume things about someone’s knowledge base.

            @ Dude I like your contributions but I’m sensing a tetchy tone from PB, perhaps a feeling that I’m dropping in here on my little body board. I’ll leave you fellas to it!

            May 17, 2023
  10. John Sanders #

    You’re spot on mate, Jo is leading your folks down the garden path. For one, the show playing in Adelside the night before our man died 1 december ’48 was a ballet by Joanna Priest called “The Listeners”, not ‘Under The Counter” and she knows it only too well. The woman is an Abbott sonsored disturbing element and good on you for calling her out!

    May 17, 2023
    • I think there is a lot of smoke and mirrors happening. Every time anyone askes a fact based question like about the sunglasses it’s ignored cause six people post nonsense. Can anyone explain how Grandpa is wearing sunglasses in a style that were not avalible anywhere in the world in 1929 and that’s not just my thoughts, but a muesum on ocular history and two fashion history consultants that I’ve contacted. When I’ve emailed these businesses. I’ve told them that the photo is believed to be 1929 due to Amy being in the image and there replies are consistent, that’s impossible, it must be a look alike family member. Another site I’m on, person had all his ancestors pegged in a family photo till it was discoved that the model car they were in front of was still 7 years away from being manufactured so he had to go back and start again.

      May 18, 2023
      Smoke and mirrors? I clinked the link find a picture, read the follow on posts and it’s suggested it’s Hickey on the left, go off and research cause doesn’t look right, come back for clarification and get told no one said that. 😅

      May 19, 2023
      • "I'll be your mirror" @ Nico. Smoking? Just don't! #

        Dig deeper to “Desert Song Trio” photo within the linked collection, as per Milongal’s suggestion. There was no assumption that Roy was Roy Webb or Scott was Leslie Scott – it’s simply the caption on the photo – ie Hickey, Roy and Scott, members of JC Williamson’s staff!

        May 19, 2023
        • Thanks finally found it after going through 600 plus photos in the collection, someone had linked to the main photo which showed none of the above, and then someone said Hickey was on the left, I’d asked if it was Roy as in Roy Webb got no response so then went searching.

          May 19, 2023
  11. dude47 #

    Wow there’s a lot to unpack since my last visit.
    As far as Stuart Webb goes , he just appears to me as a fish ,plucked out of the water , and flung into a world he didn’t create.

    He’s under no obligation to engage at all or share any private information should he choose not to do so IMHO.

    That said PB has had some contact with him from my understanding and may be in a better position than I to speculate on Mr Webb.

    As far as I read it, what #Jo has presented here is VERY worth considering.

    It potentially explains,

    The reasons for Carl being in SA
    The cause of death
    The WA connection
    The 3239 connection
    The gay theory if that was the case

    The unusual name Hickey Taylor was written on that photo for a reason. He’s either in it or he took it and there is some resemblance to at least on late 20s image of Taylor. Gerald worked with Taylor, Carl left Victoria after a childless unsuccessful marriage which looked like a marriage of convinence from day one.

    Carl had ridiculously high calf muscles which the cops at the time speculated that they could have come from wearing high heals and other evidence led them to suggest that he may have been a gay man. Hickey Taylor wore high heals for a living working as a female impersonator.

    New information (to me anyway) from #Jo re the Keane’s contact with the cops.

    I am fascinated to hear that the Keane’s did contact the police re missing relatives and am Keane to look at that.

    I was aware of the listeners playing in Adelaide (at the Tivoli from memory) the night before and posted on that years back but was “Under the counter” also playing in Adelaide that night? Can’t see why not.

    May 18, 2023
  12. Wasn’t this image used to compare Mr Hickey into the picnic photo? Cause it’s not Mr Hickey or Mr Scott in the photo?–%20Photographs.
    It says those in the photo are John Tait, Lucien Wurmser, Anna Pavlova, Victor Dandre, Mieczyslaw Pianowski and Charles Westmacott.

    May 18, 2023
    • John Sanders #

      Peteb: there was a time when the biggest hurdle was trying to sort out who was on side, off side or having two bob each way. Now, post SM it includes also having to suss out the cross over imposters from Derek Abbott’s Webb of intrigue. It has nevertheless become so much easier of late Identifying our former ‘Keane = Somerton Man’ turncoat type now that they’ve jumped aboard Jo blow’s band wagon and be sucking up the ancient scallywag for all they’re worth at CM central and right here at Tbt., how low can one go?

      May 18, 2023
  13. dude47 #

    Shabby for your expert to suggest that a particular style of glasses was not available “anywhere in the world in1929” based on what they can deduce from that over exposed image is possibly the greatest feat of historical research Ive ever !

    Amazing to know with complete confidence that not a single glasses manufacturer/ back yard knock off glasses maker/ flea market crafty type operator IN THE WORLD !! in 1929 was making glasses that looked like that. The thousands of hours that must have been pored into that research across the globe is mind blowing.

    We need to get these people on to something more substantial.

    May 18, 2023
    • Yep my ocular muesum guy is right up there with his ” greatest feat of historical research Ive ever read about” second only to the research that went into opening a family album, finding a group shot, a week later finding a second photo, cross checking this fella looks like this fella, it’s Charlie Webb! No questions asked! End of story, don’t worry that there’s a lot of shit that just doesn’t add up, it says Charlie so it’s Charlie Webb!

      May 18, 2023

      Yep my ocular muesum guy is right up there with his ” greatest feat of historical research Ive ever read about” second only to the research that went into opening a family album, finding a group shot, a week later finding a second photo, cross checking this fella looks like this fella, it’s Charlie Webb! No questions asked! End of story, don’t worry that there’s a lot of shit that just doesn’t add up, it says Charlie so it’s Charlie Webb!

      May 18, 2023
      • Stick with it Shabs, half of these roosters only research is what belongs to others …

        May 18, 2023
  14. John Sanders #

    Perfect example of what I was just on about Shabby; dunno where you’re from an all but, if it ain’t anywhere near Little Lons., or Spencer St. Station then you’ve missed the tram to South Yarra sweetheart. Get my drift.

    May 18, 2023
  15. John Sanders #

    Inexpensive mass produced sunnies, as we know them today, were invented in California in 1929 originally meant to be used on film sets to prevent glare They then became all the rage stateside naturally just before the depression took hold. I’m sure Aussie wannabes got on the band wagon say around mid thirties, when the cash flow resumed thus enabling such wonders to be had locally. Guess the kids bought a pair each for mum & dad Webb to wear for picnicing and such at Hanging Rock and Werribee Park. Howzat grab you dud?

    May 18, 2023
  16. dude47 #

    I suspect someone may be a “The Church” fan.

    Tell those men with horses for hearts , that their jibes don’t make me bleed, they only make me feel like shrinking, in “unguarded moments”

    So long between mirages and now I see some very excellent research from #Jo.

    May 18, 2023
  17. dude47 #

    The issue I have shabby is its fair enough to throw in some research re sunglasses and consulting an expert double tick for that.

    HoweverI’m not convinced that they are sunglasses. The faces have shadows falling across them potentialy making a regular set of glasses look like sunglasses.

    In addition to that I question the ability of anyone to identify the style of glasses based on that sketchy old photo where we can’t even determine the words on a street sign in plain view.

    Also I question the veracity when an individual (expert”claims with certainty that “this style of glasses was not available anywhere in the world in 1929” That a pretty big call. We dont know what some bloke injured India was knocking out or some flea market dude may have been flogging at the time that he knocked together as a side line. If we had a hi res colour image to reference then perhaps but not based on what we’ve got here.

    May 19, 2023
  18. John Sanders #

    Such a pity that all Jo’s “very excellent research” (according to thedude) has nought to do with Somerton Man, concentrating instead on self serving non existant Broby St. auto theft rackets and similar J. C. Williamson back stage diversions per Gerald Keane taking gullible punters on a witch hunt.

    May 19, 2023
  19. dude47 #

    On the contrary Colonel I think it is quite relevant to consider that Gerald Keane (who most likely provided Carl with the clothes he was wearing on the day he died ergo was very likely close to Carl) had possibly been in Adelaide when Carl died or at least had frequented Adelaide. That to my small mind is relevant AND the goings on in Carl’s backyard are worth looking at.
    Lets face it 90 years up the track with so little to go on I don’t think we have options to waste when it comes to leads.

    Anyhow that’s just me Colonel you keep doing you that’s cool.

    May 19, 2023
  20. The Sly Dog #

    If grandpa is wearing sun glasses then grandma has some kind if even wackier half sun glasses on! Looks more like they both wear thick lens prescription glasses and the darken area is refracted shadows from their faces with the photo taken with the sun high in the sky…
    Time to strike the time-bending sunnies off the discussion agenda.

    May 19, 2023
  21. John Sanders #

    “90 years up [sic] the track” be a bit willing by the Somerton Man case dating of less than 75 years (Indeed, indeed). Dude seems to have trouble getting his timing right and not for the first time either; or might he dare push for 1933 as being start up year for the Prosper Thomson, Derry George and Charles Webb @ SM enterprise from Jo’s well supported Bromby St. auto conversion yards.

    May 19, 2023
  22. dude47 #

    Colonel Im gonna level with you. I had a raging hangover when I wrote that post and my “90 years” comment was said with the photo in mind , me being of the opinion that it was in fact taken in the late 20s and I have conflated all of these matters into one timeline.

    In hindsight I should not have agreed to stop past an excellent whisky bar with the lads for what was supposed to be “one more” as this proved to be inaccurate.

    I can’t help but consider that had I not consumed a number of excellent single malt whiskies as opposed to the supposed “one more” this whole debacle could have been avoided.

    But your opinion is important so I want to acknowledge that some people may consider this case to have a start time of the actual date that our man was found on Somerton beach. Therefore I acknowledge that the “90 years up the track” comment could have the potential to confuse some people.

    Well done and god bless you Colonel for bringing this to all of our attention. I have learned my lesson well.

    May 19, 2023
  23. John Sanders #

    Thanks Peteb much appreciated.

    May 19, 2023
  24. John Sanders #


    Accidents happened even in those days and Charles Richard wasn’t the only bastard sired by Russell, first being the McCluskey brat which he had with a much older partner (subseqently deserted) in 1913 or thereabouts…As for birth certs, no not necessarry if the sign up was accompanied by a stat dec.,
    reason being that many potential recruits had none, or if they did were not inclined to show them, for any one on several personally valid grounds.

    May 21, 2023
    • Thanks, I wondered why their wedding was so low key when she came from what appears a well- to- do family plus may give me an insight into family dynamics, not sure if I like Russell lol. This is him in the bottom left in front of his car, match up with your police description at all?
      Top photo is the image from the same day as the picnic, in front of a hall of some sort, some sort of air vent in the front?

      May 21, 2023

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