Skip to content

Barry Traish’s Newspaper Files

Pete, you might find this useful. It’s my file of transcribed newspaper clippings from the time. I’ve not updated it for a few years, I’ve got other files, such as one on Mangnosen, which I’ve been planning to turn into a blog for some years!

Barry Traish

~~

 

The Unknown Man Newspaper Articles (1940s &50s)

Compiled by Barry Traish 9th September 2012, updated 31st May 2019

 

Note: This document collates newspaper articles about the Somerton Beach mystery. It doesn’t include articles solely about the Mangnoson or Marshall cases or articles related to “Prestige”. Background articles, e.g. about spying, are mostly excluded. It is not a comprehensive list. Many facts stated by the newspapers are incorrect, and there are many spelling errors, which have been preserved – “Tamam Shud” is most commonly misspelled. Doubtless there are some transcription errors, so links to original scans are included.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/45010149

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954)  Wed 18 Jun 1941  Page 13

 

[Note: Appears unrelated to SM, but is a drug related beach death and the deceased lived on Moseley Street.]

 

Three Inquests Yesterday

 

An Inquest into the death of Frederick Alexander Webb, storekeeper, of Moseley street. Glenelg. was adjourned by the Acting City Coroner (Mr. G. Ziesing) yesterday until 10 a.m. tomorrow. Webb’s body was found on the beach at Somerton on June 4.

Dr S. Krantz. of North Terrace said that he had formed the opinion that death was due to drowning. There were extensive wounds on the right arm which could have been caused by a shark. In the body were found 2.8 grains of a drug group which included veronal. The actual dose was five grains although the body could absorb quantities of the drug and leave no trace. This group of drugs could cause depression.

Mr E.E. McLaughlin appeared for an insurance company and Mr K. Ward for relatives of the deceased.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/18024555

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Saturday 3 May 1947 Page 10 of 48

 

BOOKS OF TO-DAY

 

THE IMPUDENCE OF YOUTH, Warwick Deeping 10/6 Postage. 5d. A new novel by Warwick Deeping, told in this author’s inimitable style. A book which will appeal to all readers

CARRY ME BACK, Rebecca Yancy Williams 12/6. Postage 6d. In this book the author looks over her shoulder to her childhood days with her father. Naive, refreshing, witty. Rebecca’s reflections about herself, her brothers, girlhood sweethearts, and friends, are a sheer delight to read. A book to be treasured, recommended, and discriminately lent.

RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM 2/5. Postage, 2d. A compact, well illustrated edition of this evergreen classic.

THE BUDDING MORROW, Adrian Bell 7/9, Postage, 5d Mr Bell writes as well as anybody living about the ordinary, everyday life of a farmer and his family. His characters have such a startling reality that the reader feels he knows them intimately.

BEN HALL. THE BUSHRANGER. Frank Clune 10/6. Postage, 6d. Frank Clune presents an exciting and absorbing novel based on the life of Ben Hall — the bushranger.

CHILD OF WONDER, Sir John Hammerton. 15/3, Postage, 7d. An intimate biography of Arthur Mee.

THE WIND CANNOT READ Richard Mason 11/-, Postage 6d. This is first hand experience converted into fiction, surpassing any of its kind.

 

WHITCOMBE & TOMBS PTY. LTD.

“THE UP-TO-DATE BOOKSHOP,” 12 BARRACK STREET, SYDNEY. BW4662, BW4789

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/75088925

Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA : 1905 – 1952) Friday 28 November 1947 Page 5 of 16

 

Famous Persian Poem

 

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

 

PUBLIC APPRECIATION

 

There is a romance and heartbreak behind the story of how the most famous Persian Poem, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam turned from a publisher’s flop into a world favourite. The manuscript was thick and yellow, with the Persian text beautifully written in purple-black ink and powdered with gold, a lovely example of the calligrapher’s art. As the translator, Edward FitzGerald said:-”The spirit of Omar Khayyam would never give me a moment’s peace. He kept tugging at my coat tails until I had to wrote the peom to be rid of him. I didn’t want to translate Omar Khayyam-I wanted to go abroad for a holiday. And I shan’t be finished with him until I see the confounded thing in print.”

But having the translation of the Rubaiyat published was another thing. Victorian England frowned on such “propaganda for drink,” as they styled it, and magazines to whom he submitted the peom told FitzGerald that “they had a reputation to keep up,” and that their publication “would never survive another issue”, if they published such matter.”

Eventually FitzGerald published the peom at his own expense, and a friendly bookseller displayed the brown-paper pamphlet in his shop. The price was 5/. A. month later the bookseller had sold none of the copies -and FitzGerald wrote to him “As you haven’t sold a copy I hereby make you a present of the whole edition; do what you like with Omar,” The bookseller reduced the price to 2/6-then to 10d.-and finally, as there were still no buyers, he tossed them into a box labelled, “This lot, one penny.”

One day a poet was strolling past the bookshop when he remembered he had nothing to read. He remembered too that he had only fourpence to his name -a common occurrence with Dante Gabriel Rossetti-so he made for the sign which said “This lot, one penny.” He thumbed through the sermons, the discarded school text books, and finally picked up the Rubiayat. He stood then, transfixed, and read the poem through twice. Then he picked out three more copies, paid over his fourpence. and hurried off to share his find with another poet, Algernon Swinburne. Swinburne shared his delight, and together they returned to the bookseller and bought up all the other penny copies. But in spite of their enthusiasm, and the enthusiasm or other men of letters to whom they showed the Rubaiyat, it was nine years before a new edition of the poem was published.

Sixty years later an “Omar” enthusiast said to his bookseller, “Let me have a copy of every new edition published of the Rubaiyat in future.” The book seller laughed and explained, “The average is one new edition per week, all illustrated, ranging in price from sixpence to £12.”

 

[Note: the following three articles are not about the Somerton Man case, but a seemingly unrelated case immediately prior]

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43793287

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 29 November 1948 Page 6 of 16

 

Mystery Somerton Find

 

The discovery near the water’s edge at Somerton yesterday of a man’s three-piece suit, sports trousers, a shoe, several pairs of socks and an overcoat is being investigated by police.

With the clothing was a rifle stock without a barrel.

The articles appeared to have been in the water for some time.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48579005

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Monday 29 November 1948 Page 1 of 8

 

Hectic Week End For B. Hill Boy

 

Adelaide. – During a hectic week-end a 17-year-old Broken Hill boy is alleged to have-stolen a motor cycle from Broken Hill on Friday night and ridden it to Adelaide, abandoned the cycle in the sandhills at Glenelg, dumped a suitcase containing clothing and a rifle at Somerton beach, and illegally used a motor car at Port Noarlunga.

The lad told the police that he had dumped the clothes, which were found at Somerton yesterday.

Police found the clothes and a rifle with the barrel missing, but the youth said he had left them in the suitcase.

He said he walked to Port Noarlunga, where he was later arrested for allegedly having illegal use of a motor car. He appeared in the Juvenile Court today and was remanded until tomorrow week.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129888881

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 29 November 1948 Page 1 of 12

 

Long jaunt by Barrier boy alleged

 

During a hectic week-end, a 17-year-old Broken Hill boy is alleged to have-

Stolen a motor cycle from Broken Hill on Friday night and ridden it to Adelaide.

Abandoned the cycle in sandhills at Glenelg.

Dumped a suitcase containing clothing and a rifle on Somerton beach, and

Illegally used a motor car at Port Noarlunga.

The lad told police he had dumped the clothes which were found at Somerton yesterday.

Police found only the clothes and a rifle with the barrel missing, but the youth said he had left them in a suitcase.

He said he then walked to Port Noarlunga, where he was later arrested for allegedly having illegally used a motor car.

He appeared in the Juvenile Court today and was remanded until tomorrow week.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129897161

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 1 December 1948 Page 1 of 16

 

DEAD MAN FOUND LYING ON SOMERTON BEACH

 

The fully clothed body of a man was found on the beach at Somerton, opposite the Crippled Children’s Home, at 6.30 a.m. today. Up to noon police had no clue as to his identity.

The body had not been in the water.

The man was lying on his back against the sea wall. The legs were crossed, and death appeared to have occurred while the man was sleeping.

A thorough search of his pockets revealed no papers or anything that would give a clue to his name.

The man is thought to have been about 40. He was 5 ft. 11 in. in height, and well built.

He was clean-shaven, with fair hair slightly grey over the temples, hazel eyes, and was wearing a grey and brown double-breasted coat, brown trousers, socks and shoes, and a brown knitted woollen pullover, white shirt and collar, and red-white-and-blue tie.

The discovery was made by Mr. John Lyons, jeweller, of Whyte road, Somerton, who called Constable Moss, of Brighton, and Det. Strangway.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43793796

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 2 December 1948 Page 3 of 10

 

Body Found On Beach

 

A body, believed to be that of E. C. Johnson, about 45, of Arthur street, Payneham, was found on the Somerton beach opposite the Crippled Children’s Home, yesterday morning.

The discovery was made by Mr. J. Lyons, of Whyte road, Somerton.

Detective H. Strangway and Constable J. Moss are enquiring.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48579319

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Thursday 2 December 1948 Page 1 of 12

 

Wrong Identity Of Corpse

 

Adelaide.-A man reported to have been found dead at Somerton Beach yesterday is very much alive. He walked into police headquarters today and let the officials know.

He is Mr. E. C. Johnson, who is staying at the People’s Palace, Pirie Street, City. His address had been given as Arthur St., Payneham.

Earlier today police were told that the man found dead was not Johnson. Identity of the man whose body was found at Somerton Beach, opposite the Home for Crippled Children is still unknown.

Manufacturers’ name tags had been removed from the man’s clothing, which contained no clue to his identity. A postmortem examination was conducted today to find the cause of death.

 

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/news_2dec1948.pdf

The News Thursday 2 December 1948

 

‘Dead’ man walks into police H.Q.

 

The man reported to have been found on Somerton beach yesterday is very much alive. He walked into police headquarters today to let officials know.

He is Mr. E.C. Johnson, who is staying at the People’s Palace, Pirie street, City. His address had been given as Arthur street, Payneham.

Earlier today police were told that the man was not Johnson.

Identity of the man, who body was found on Somerton beach opposite the Crippled Children’s Home, is still unknown.

Manufacturers’ name tags had been removed from the man’s clothing, which contained no clue to his identity.

A post-mortem examination was conducted today to find the cause of death.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129890443

 

The News Thursday 2 December 1948 Page 1 of 16 (2nd edition?)

 

‘Dead’ man walks into police H.Q.

 

The man reported to have been found dead on Somerton beach yesterday is very much alive. He walked into police headquarters today to let officials know.

He is Mr. E. C. Johnson, who is staying at the People’s Palace, Pirie street, City. His address had been given as Arthur street, Payneham.

Earlier today police ‘were told that the man was not Johnson

Identity of the man, whose body was found on Somerton beach opposite the Crippled Children’s Home, is still unknown.

 

Analysis, fingerprints

 

Samples of the contents of the dead man’s stomach have been forwarded to the Government Analyst for examination.

Fingerprints were taken from the body this afternoon by police experts.

Police are anxious to contact anyone who may have seen the man on Somerton beach on Tuesday.

In the clothing was found a single rail ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, issued on Tuesday, and a narrow aluminium American comb. There was no money in the clothing.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/48579319

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954)  Thu 2 Dec 1948  Page 1

 

Wrong Identity Of Corpse

 

Adelaide.- A man reported to have been found dead at Somerton Beach yesterday is very much alive. He walked into police headquarters today and let the officials know.

He is Mr. E. C. Johnson, who is staying at the People’s Palace. Pirie Street, City. His address had been given as Arthur St., Payneham.

Earlier today police were told that the man found dead was not Johnson. Identity of the man whose body was found at Somerton Beach, opposite the Home for Crippled Children is still unknown. ,

Manufacturers’ name tags had been removed from the man’s clothing, which contained no clue to his identity. A postmortem examination was conducted today to find the cause of death.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43793990

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 3 December 1948 Page 3 of 14

 

DEAD MAN STILL UNIDENTIFIED

 

The identity of a man found dead on the Somerton beach at 6.30 a.m. on Wednesday is still unknown.

After a post-mortem examination yesterday. specimens from the body were submitted to the Government Analyst for further examination.

No poison container was found near the body and there were no signs of violence.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/129894292

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Fri 3 Dec 1948  Page 1

 

Mystery of body on beach

 

All efforts by police to identify the body of a man which has been in the City Morgue since Wednesday, have failed.

Yesterday fingerprints of dead man were taken, but a search of police files showed he had never been in the hands of police.

Police Photographer Durham has made a photographic reconstruction of the body and copies were released today to the press and will be circulated throughout Australia.

The body was found on the beach at Somerton at 6.30 a.m. on Wednesday. It was fully clothed and had not been in the water.

From the position of the body death appeared to have occurred during sleep. Strange feature, however, is that all name tags had been cut from the clothing. This appeared to have been done recently.

A post-mortem was held yesterday and organs sent on to the Government Analyst.

At the moment it is thought death was not due to natural causes. However, there were no marks of violence.

Do you know this man?

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/80810175

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 23 of 26

 

DEAD MAN MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, Sat: A man found dead on Somerton beach on Wednesday is still unidentified. Name tags had been cut from the clothing. Police sent the man’s fingerprints to the central fingerprint bureau in Sydney. His fingerprints are not in Adelaide police records.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/80810143

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 24 of 26

 

DEAD MAN MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, Sat: A man found dead on Somerton beach on Wednesday is still unidentified. Name tags had been cut from the clothing. Police sent the man’s fingerprints to the central fingerprint bureau in Sydney. His fingerprints are not in Adelaide police records.

A photographic reconstruction of the body by police has been circulated throughout Australia in an endeavour to discover the man’s identity. His description: Aged about 40, height 5ft. 11in., well-built, fair hair going grey over temples, clean shaven, with hazel eyes.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43794087

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 3 of 16

 

Somerton Beach Body Mystery

 

Twenty people called or telephoned police headquarters last night to identify the body found on the Somerton, Beach last Wednesday, but the man still remains unidentified.

A Blackwood woman reported to the police that she believed that the man, aged about 40 was her husband who had been missing from home for more than a week.

Police have arranged for the woman and a number of people from other districts to view the body today.

It is now believed that the man took poison on the beach on Tuesday night, having previously cut manufacturers’ tabs from an inside pocket of his coat and also from the neck of his pullover.

But no poison container was found, and there were no marks of writhing on the sand.

A doctor, who saw the body soon after its discovery on Wednesday morning, said that the man might have been dead about eight hours.

The police sent the man’s fingerprints to the Central Fingerprint Bureau in Sydney yesterday. His fingerprints are not in Adelaide police records.

A photographic reconstruction of the body made by the police is available for inspection at the Detective Office.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55902516

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 32 of 39

 

ANOTHER BODY ON S.A. BEACH

 

The body of a man was found on Semaphore beach tonight.

THREE days ago another man’s body was found on Somerton beach.

The body found at Semaphore this evening was in seaweed above the high-water mark.

A World War I discharge, clothing coupons, a pension card, and an income tax assessment indicate the man was Alexander Arthur Dowling, of Soldiers’ Home, Myrtle Bank, and formerly of Harrow street, Exeter.

Constables Conley and Heaven are investigating.

 

May be Prospect man

 

A man who viewed the unidentified “Somerton Beach body” at the City Morgue today, believes the victim is a former Prospect man named Jack Thomas McLean.

However, police still have not sufficient evidence to establish identification beyond doubt.

The man who viewed the body told police that he had last seen McLean about three or four years ago, when he was working on coastal ships.

Be did not know whether McLean was married or where he lived, but believed he had resided at Prospect.

Meanwhile, dozens of telephone calls are being made to police by people who saw the reconstructed photograph of the man to ‘The News’ yesterday and think they know him.

The body of the man, who is thought to be about 40, was found fully clothed on the beach at Somerton on Wednesday morning. All name tags had been cut from his clothing.

Last night two men. who thought it was a friend of theirs from Clarence Park, saw the body.

Another, who thought it was a relative from Perth, and a fourth who thought the victim was a fisherman from Coffin’s Bay, went to the morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47146855

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 3 of 31

 

IDENTIFICATION QUEST

 

ADELAIDE, Dec. 3: A man of about 40 who was found dead on Somerton beach on Wednesday has not been identified. The police today sent the man’s fingerprints to the central fingerprint bureau in Sydney and a photographic reconstruction of the body has been circulated throughout Australia.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22703724

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 1 of 56

 

MYSTERY OF MAN DEAD ON BEACH

 

ADELAIDE, Fri: All the name tags were found to have been removed from the clothing of an unidentified man discovered dead on the beach at Somerton early on Wednesday.

Photographs of the man will be circulated throughout Australia in an effort to identify him.

Although there were no marks of violence, police are doubtful whether death was due to natural causes, and a post-mortem has been ordered.

The body, which was fully clothed, had not been in the water.

Fingerprints have failed to reveal the mans identity.

His description is: About 40, 5ft 11in in height, fair hair greying at temples, clean shaven, hazel eyes.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/67845887

Geraldton Guardian (WA : 1948 – 1950) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 5 of 6

 

Body Found on Beach

 

DESCRIPTION RELEASED

 

Adelaide. December 4

A man found dead on Somerton Beach on Wednesday is still unidentified. The name tags had been cut from the clothing. The police sent the man’s fingerprints to the Central fingerprint Bureau in Sydney. His fingerprints are not in Adelaide police records.

A photographic reconstruction of the body by police has been circulated throughout Australia in an endeavour to discover the man’s identity.

His description is as follows: — Aged about forty years : height. 5 feet 11 inches; well-built, fair hair, going grey over temples : clean shaven, with hazel eyes.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129887975

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 4 December 1948 Page 1 of 8

 

New police clue in beach mystery

 

A man who viewed the unidentified “Somerton Beach body” at the City Morgue today, believes the victim is a former Prospect man named Jack Thomas McLean.

However, police still have not sufficient evidence to establish identification beyond doubt.

The man who viewed the body told police that he had last seen McLean about three or four years ago, when he was working on coastal ships.

He did not know whether McLean was married or where he lived, but believed he had resided at Prospect.

Meanwhile, dozens of telephone calls are being made to police by people who saw the reconstructed photograph of the man in “The News” yesterday and think they know him.

 

Query from Melb.

 

The body of the man, who is thought to be about 40, was found fully clothed on the beach at Somerton on Wednesday morning. All name tags had been cut from his clothing.

Last night two men, who thought it was a friend of theirs from Clarence Park, saw the body. Another who thought it was a relative from Perth, and a third who thought the victim was a fisherman from Coffin’s Bay, went to the morgue.

Other advice received by police suggested the man was a Bulgarian who had worked at Lockleys, while a Victorian woman who read the story in a Melbourne newspaper, thought it might have been her son.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98317876

Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 – 1954) Sunday 5 December 1948 Page 3 of 12

 

Seek clue to body

 

ADELAIDE, Sat.— A photographic reconstruction of the body of a man found dead on Somerton Beach last Wednesday has been circulated throughout Australia in an endeavour to trace his identity.

When the body was found all name tags had been cut from the clothing and other identification clues removed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43794348

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 6 December 1948 Page 3 of 12

 

Still No Clue To Somerton Mystery

 

Police will search military records today in a further attempt to identify the body of the middle-aged man found on the Somerton beach last Wednesday.

In an interview with police yesterday, a patient at the Kapara Red Cross Convalescent Home, Glenelg, said that while drinking in a Glenelg hotel on Tuesday, he had talked to a man who resembled the dead man.

The man had shown him a military pension card bearing the name “Solomonson.” They had parted in the hotel.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/129890121

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Mon 6 Dec 1948  Page 9

 

Police circulate fingerprints

 

Fingerprints of the unidentified body found on the beach at Somerton on Wednesday were today circulated throughout Australia.

A man who was named as a possible victim visited Glenelg police today.

On Saturday another man told police he believed the body to be that of Jack Thomas McLean, whom he had last seen three or four years ago, but police are still not satisfied.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74655079

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 7 December 1948 Page 9 of 14

 

Somerton Beach Body Still Unidentified

 

In an effort to establish the identity of a man found dead on the beach at Somerton last Wednesday, police yesterday circulated the man’s finger prints throughout Australia.

The police have interviewed many people and several have viewed the body at the City Morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/80810493

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Tuesday 7 December 1948 Page 18 of 19

 

Man Says He Is Not Dead

 

ADELAIDE, Tues: A man called on the Glenelg police yesterday and told them he was not dead. It had been suggested to the police that he was the man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton last week.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/67845998

Geraldton Guardian (WA : 1948 – 1950) Tuesday 7 December 1948 Page 6 of 8

 

A Premature Report

 

Man Denies His Death

 

BEACH MYSTERY

 

Adelaide, December 7. A man called on the Glenelg police yesterday and told them he was not dead. It had been suggested to the police that he was the man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton last week.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/129895444

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Tue 7 Dec 1948  Page 3

 

TRAIN, TRAM TICKETS AS CLUES IN MYSTERY

 

From a train and tram ticket found in the clothing, police have traced some of the movements of the unidentified man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton a week ago.

The tickets, the only articles in his clothing, show he bought a ticket to Henley Beach last Tuesday-the day before his body was found.

However, it is thought that after having the ticket punched at Adelaide Railway Station, he found he had missed the train, walked back to North terrace, and caught the 11.15 a.m. bus to St. Leonards.

Police believe the man spent the day round Glenelg and Somerton, and was seen on the beach about 8 p.m.

The trousers worn by the man were made by a Victorian firm and are not sold in Adelaide.

Belief that the man cornmitted suicide is heightened by all name tags having been cut off his clothing. But cause of death will not be known until a report is received from the Government Analyst.

Meanwhile, the body at the City Morgue has been viewed by more than 20 people.

Dozens of telephone calls are still being made to police headquarters suggesting the man’s likely identity.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43794573

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 8 December 1948 Page 1 of 12

 

Probable Clue To Somerton Mystery

 

Headquarters police are enquiring into the ownership of a suit case containing clothes and other belongings which were left at a suburban hotel about a fortnight ago by a man who had arranged to return for them but did not do so.

It is thought that the goods belonged to the man who was found dead on Somerton beach on Wednesday last. Two photographs and certain personal papers indicate that the owner’s name was Leonard Berry, about 35, a member of the British Army since 1937 and a former prisoner of war in Germany.

He is believed to have been employed in the Engineering and Water Supply Department Adelaide. The police will make further enquiries today.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129897967

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 8 December 1948 Page 16 of 16

 

Fingerprints likely clue

 

Police are awaiting from eastern States fingerprint experts, a reply which, they think, might solve the mystery of the unidentified Somerton body.

They have obtained further evidence to substantiate the belief the victim may be Jack ‘Thomas McLean, a seaman, formerly of Prospect.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/129898147

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 10 December 1948 Page 1 of 16

 

No clues on beach body

 

After nine days intensive investigation, police are no nearer solving the mystery of the unidentified Somerton body.

Today, an Adelaide undertaker embalmed the body. Police said they could not remember having had to embalm a body before.

The body, that of a man aged about 40, was found fully clothed on the beach at Somerton last Wednesday week. A report is still awaited from the Government Analyst, and as yet cause of death is not known.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43795238

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 11 December 1948 Page 3 of 18

 

Somerton Body Embalmed

 

For the first time in the memory of the police, it has been necessary to embalm an unidentified body.

The body is that of the man who was found on the Somerton beach 10 days ago, and whose identity, after examination by 20 people and the circulation of fingerprints throughout Australia, has not yet been established.

An Adelaide undertaker carried out the embalming at the City Morgue yesterday morning.

 

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/advertiser_12dec1948.pdf

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) 12 December 1948

 

TAGS CUT OFF CLOTHING

 

Beach body mystery

 

All efforts by police to identify the body of a man which has been in the City Morgue since Wednesday have failed.

Yesterday fingerprints of dead man were taken, but a search of police files showed he had never been in the hands of police.

Police Photographer Durham has made a photographic reconstruction of the body and copies were released today to the press and will be circulated throughout Australia.

The body was found on the beach at 6.30 a.m. on Wednsday. It was fully clothed and had not been in the water.

From the position of the body death appeared to have occurred during sleep.

Strange feature, however, is that all name tags had been cut from the clothing. This appeared to have been done recently.

A post-mortem was held yesterday and organs sent to the Government Analyst.

At the moment it is thought death was not due to natural causes. However, there were no marks of violence.

No containers which rnight have held poison were found.

Description of the man is:—About 40, well built, 5 ft. 11 in. in height, fair hair going grey at temples, clean shaved, hazel, eyes.

He was dressed in brown coat, with grey herringbone pattern, brown trousers, shoes, and socks, brown pu1lover, white shirt, and collar.

Anyone able to identify the man is asked to contact the coroner’s constable (PCC Sutherland) at C 5454.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW this man?

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=385637748150933 (top) http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=385639288150779 (bottom)

Adelaide Truth 18th December 1948 Page 1

 

WHO IS THE MAN OF MYSTERY?

 

WHAT is the mystery behind the death of the unknown man whose fully-clothed body was found beside the seawall at Somerton Beach on the morning of Wednesday, December 1? Wide police inquiries, which have reached to elucidate the baffling enigma, which is deepened by the fact that all the tabs on the dead man’s coat and trousers had been carefully and completely removed. So far, no one who has come forward has been able to throw any light on the mystery man’s identity. Truth publishes a photograph of the dead man at the top of this page. If you know him, the police would like to hear from you.

 

POLICE QUERY IN 3 STATES

 

POST-MORTEM examination by Dr. J. M. Dwyer did not disclose the cause of death, but he removed certain organs and sent them to the Government Analyst for examination. Pending the analyst’s report, detectives are also completely in the dark as to the cause of death.

Meanwhile the body has been embalmed and is being kept at City Morgue in the hope that the man may be posted as a missing friend and that someone will be able to identify him.

Despite the paucity of evidence relating to this strange mystery, police are convinced on one fact—that the man did not meet his death by violence. But who is he, whence did he come? Why the determination to remove all traces of identity?

First advice of the mystery reached the police about 6.45 a.m. on December 1, when a telephone call sent Const. John Moss to Somerton Beach, where he found the body lying on the sand against the seawall.

The body was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where death was confirmed. Meanwhile, Detective H. Strangway, of Glenelg, began investigations in which he was aided by the Coronoer’s Constable (P.C.C. Sutherland).

So far their inquiries have been fruitless, despite the fact that several people have come forward with offers of aid, which have not, however, provided any useful lead toward establishing the dead man’s identity.

Fact that no one has reported the man as missing is intriguing detectives, as much of the cause of death, and in the belief that he may have come from another State they have sought assistance from Melbourne and Sydney C.I. Branches.

For a time it was though the man was Jack Thomas McLean who formerly worked in coastal ships between Port Adelaide, Melbourne and Newcastle, but inquiries by Const. Sutherland disclosed this was unlikely.

Only clues to the movements of the man before his death were a single fare ticket, issued from Adelaide Railway Station to Henley Beach, between 6.15 a.m. and noon on November 30 and a M.T.T. bus ticket, issued on an Adelaide-St. Leonards bus which left North Terrace at 11.15 a.m. and arrived at its destination 33 minutes later. The rail ticket had been punched.

Because of these tickets in the dead man’s possession, detectives believe he passed through the platform gates to board a train bound for Henley Beach, but finding none was there, returned to North Terrace and caught a bus to St. Leonards.

There was no money or papers in the clothing and the only other property in it were two combs.

Official description of the dead man is: “Aged about 45 years, 5 feet 11 ins. tall, strong build, fair hair going grey at the temples, hazel to blue eyes, and possessing natural teeth.”

He was wearing a greyish brown double-breasted coat, brown trousers, brown knitted pullover, white shirt with collar attached, red, white and blue striped tie, and brown shoes and socks.

Another mysterious feature is the fact that the man had recently shaved, and police believe, therefore, that he may have been in a dwelling near the death-scene.

Several people saw the man on the beach on November 30, but his identity was known to none of them, detectives have discovered.

Fingerprints taken by Fingerprint Expert J. Durham revealed that the dead man had no police record in this State. Copies of the prints have been sent to Melbourne and Sydney, and a check is made by the Mercantile Marine, which has its head office in Sydney. A member of the Victorian homicide squad said the man was unknown to Victorian police.

During embalming Constable Sutherland found three small scars near one wrist, a scar near the left elbow, and another on the upper left forearm.

 

 

This is the man of mystery.                                  Det. Gollan                                          Det. Strangway

Do you know him?

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83762653

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83762804

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Thursday 30 December 1948 Page 7 of 13

 

Body On Ice For Month

 

ADELAIDE, Thurs: The body of a man found on Somerton beach on December 1 is being kept in a special freezing chamber at the Adelaide morgue awaiting identification.

Name tags had been cut from the clothing of the dead man, whose age was about 40. An Australia-wide search for identification was started soon after the body was found.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63446649

Townsville Daily Bulletin (Qld. : 1885 – 1954) Friday 31 December 1948 Page 5 of 6

 

Police still haven’t solved the identity of the body found on Somerton (South Australia) beach on September 1 . The embalmed body is still being kept in a special freezing chamber in the Adelaide morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55921555

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 1 January 1949 Page 24 of 31

 

BAFFLING BEACH BODY CASE

 

Still no clues after month’s probe

 

Unnamed victim of the “Somerton Body Case” still lies embalmed in the City Morgue while police continue one of the most clueless identity hunts in South Australian history. Nothing has been revealed yet about the cause of death.

Thirty people have seen the body. Forty inquiries by letter and telephone have been checked. Police have made extensive inquiries throughout Australia, and after a month the mystery is still not solved.

THE man’s fully dressed body was found against the seawall on the beach at Somerton early on December 1.

Police cannot remember a previous case in South Australia when a body had to be embalmed to await identification.

Cause of death is reported to be baffling analysts, who are still testing parts taken from the body at a post-mortem examination.

While identity and cause of death remain unsolved, police are keeping an open mind on the case.

It could be murder, suicide, or a natural death.

There were no poison containers near the body on the beach, no suspicious marks in the sand, no marks on the body suggesting violence.

Only items found in the man’s clothing were a label on the trousers, a train and a tram ticket.

This could indicate the man planned to commit suicide and remain unknown, or a thief could have rifled his clothing as he lay slumped on the beach.

The trousers label showed a well-known make sold in Ballarat and Melbourne. Too many were manufactured each week to follow up this clue.

The train ticket was for a single fare from Adelaide to Henley Beach issued between 6 a.m. and noon on November 30, the day before the body was found.

The tram ticket was issued the same morning on a bus leaving about 11:15 a.m. opposite Adelaide Railway Station for St. Leonards.

 

Vital one-day gap in story

 

Because the train ticket had been punched, police surmise the man passed through the platform barrier, just missed a Henley Beach tram, walked across North terrace, and caught the St. Leonards bus.

From then until 6.30 a.m. next day when the body was found, is a gap the police would like to fill in the story.

Description: photographs and fingerprints circulated in all States have yielded nothing.

The description is About 45, 5 ft 11 in tall muscularly built clean shaven fair hair going grey at the temples, grey eyes, nearly all back teeth extracted, and two missing from the front of the top jaw.

Thirty people have seen the body at the morgue. Forty inquiries by letter and telephone have been checked.

One inquiry came from a Tasmanian woman who thought the man might have been her son, two came from Melbourne, another caller suggested the victim was a Balt from the rocket range. Following all these leads, police inquiries have located several men supposed to have been missing.

A Port Adelaide man who has seen the body twice sticks to his conviction the man is Jack Thomas McLean.

He told police McLean was from the crew of a sugar boat held up for repairs for two months at Port Adelaide in 1945.

The Port Adelaide informant was sparring on a ketch when McLean walked up to him, said he would like to spar with him. McLean said he had boxed in Newcastle (NSW) and Sydney.

Police checked with Adelaide Steamship Co, could find no trace of a sugar boat being tied up for two months in 1946 nor of a man named McLean.

In Sydney the Mercantile Marine, which keeps a record of all interstate seamen, found not record of McLean.

Detective H. A. Gollan and Coroner’s Constable Sutherland are inquiring.

Meanwhile the unidentified body will remain indefinitely at the City Morgue.

 

 

Do you know this man? A photographic reconstruction by police of the dead man found on Somerton beach.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98294424

Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 – 1954) Sunday 2 January 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

Body on sands kept month, still mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Sat.— The embalmed body of a man has been kept in Adelaide city morgue for a month in an attempt to establish its identity.

Police believe that the man may have been murdered.

They are using investigation methods similar to those in the “Pyjama Girl” case.

The man’s fully-dressed body was found on Somerton Beach early on December 1.

Thirty people have seen the body at the morgue. Forty others— some from Melbourne and Tasmania— have made inquiries by letter and telephone.

Adelaide police, conducting an Australia-wide search, have asked Sydney police to help them solve what they call the Somerton body case. They have circulated copies of the man’s fingerprints, and his description, to all States.

 

MYSTERY CAUSE

 

Only a train ticket and a tram ticket were found in the man’s pockets. The maker’s label on the suit was that of a well-known tailor who has branches in Melbourne and Ballarat (Vic.). Police say that too many of these suits are manufactured for this clue to help them.

Government analysts so far have been unable to determine the cause of the man’s death.

Police say the case resembles the “Pyjama Girl” mystery, in which the partly burnt body of a young woman, dressed only in silk pyjamas, was found in a culvert on the Howlong Road, near Albury, on September 1 1934.

In an attempt at identification, the body was kept in a formalin bath, first at Sydney University, later at police headquarters, for nine and a half years.

The girl’s husband, Antonio Agostini, 41, later was charged with having murdered his wife, was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to six years’ gaol. Six months after his sentence, with remisions, ended in February, 1948, Agostini was deported to Italy.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48581634

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Monday 3 January 1949 Page 7 of 8

 

MYSTERY REMAINS MYSTERY

 

Adelaide.-Three persons announced that they had Identified the mystery Somerton body during the week-end and each named a different man.

After viewing the body one man said he believed it was that of Ray Clark, 38, of Queensland, who had been working at Woomera Rocket Range until he came to Adelaide about November 20.

Another man, who also knew Clark, will view the body today.

A woman reported that she believed the victim was a man named Kelly, who had worked at the British Tube Mills, Kilburn, about four years ago.

Another man who viewed the body thought it resembled a man named Herbert Sarrogen.

The body has lain in the city morgue since December 1. Inquiries are continuing throughout all English-speaking countries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26509244

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Monday 3 January 1949 Page 2 of 12

 

CORPSE ON BEACH MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, Sun. – Mystery surrounds the death of an unidentified man whose body was found on Somerton Beach on December 1.

Adelaide police believe the man may have been murdered, but Government analysts have been unable to ascertain what caused his death.

The body has been embalmed and is at the Adelaide city morgue. The man’s clothing contained nothing but tram and train tickets. The label on the suit was that of a well-known tailor, who has branches in Melbourne and Ballarat.

The body has been inspected by 30 persons, and many more, some from Melbourne and Tasmania, have written to the Adelaide police in an effort to establish identity.

All State police headquarters have been given copies of the man’s fingerprints, but so far no clue has been discovered as to who he was or how he died.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/42610267

Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954) Monday 3 January 1949 Page 3 of 6

 

BODY FOUND ON BEACH

 

ADELAIDE MYSTERY

 

NO CLUE TO IDENTITY.

 

ADELAIDE, Jan. 1.—The embalmed body of a man has been kept in Adelaide city morgue for a month in an attempt to establish its identity.

Police believe that the man may have been murdered.

They are using investigation methods similar to those in the “Pyjama Girl” case.

A man’s fully-dressed body was found on Somerton Beach early on December 1.

Thirty people have seen the body at the morgue. Forty others —some from Melbourne and Tasmania—have made inquiries by letter and telephone.

Adelaide police, conducting an Australia-wide search, have asked Sydney police to help them solve what they call the Somerton body case. They have circulated copies of the man’s fingerprints, and his description, to all States.

 

MYSTERY CAUSE.

 

Only a train ticket and a tram ticket were found in the man’s pockets. The maker’s label on the suit was that of a well-known tailor, who has branches in Melbourne and Ballarat (Victoria). Police says that too many of these suits are manufactured for this clue to help them.

Government analysts so far have been unable to determine the cause of the man’s death.

Police say the case resembles the “Pyjama Girl” mystery, in which the partly burnt body of a young woman, dressed only in silk pyjamas, was found in a culvert on the Howlong Road, near Albury, on September 1. 1934.

In an attempt at identification, the body was kept in a formalin bath, first at Sydney University, later at police headquarters, for nine and a half years.

The girl’s husband, Antonio Agostini (41), later was charged with having murdered his wife, was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to six years’ gaol. Six months after his sentence, with remissions, ended in February, 1948. Agostini was deported to Italy.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/104532841

Goulburn Evening Post (NSW : 1940 – 1957) Monday 3 January 1949 Page 3 of 4

 

Goulburn Theory On Adelaide Mystery

 

The embalmed body of a man, which has been kept in the Adelaide City Morgue for a month in an attempt to establish its identity, is believed by a Goulburn man to be that of his brother.

Police believe that the man, whose body was found on Decomber 1, may have been mur dered. The man’s fully dressed body was found on Somerton Beach.

Last night Mr. H. Brown, of 13 Bellevue Street, told Goulburn police that he had read a description of the man, and be lieved that thile body might be that of his brother, a naval rating, who has been missing since November 25.

Police are using similar methods of investigation as were used in the Pyjama Girl case.

 

TWO TICKETS

 

Only a train and a tram ticket were found in the man’s pockets.

The maker’s label on the suit was that of a well-known tailor who has branches in Melbourne and Ballarat.

Police say that too many of these suits are manufactused for this clue to help them.

They have circulated copies of the man’s fingerprints to all States in an effort to prove identity.

Over 40 people have made inquiries from as far afield as Melbourne and Tasmania regarding the body.

Detective Sergeant B. J. Catt, will contact Sydney police regarding the belief of Mr. Brown that the body may be that of his brother.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130241141

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 3 January 1949 Page 10 of 12

 

THREE IDENTIFY BODY AS THREE DIFFERENT MEN

 

Three different people identified the mystery Somerton body during the week-end as three different men.

After viewing the body, one man said he believed he was Ray Clark, about 38, of Queensland, who had been working at Woomera rocket range until he came to Adelaide about November 20.

Another man who also knew Clark will view the body today.

Meanwhile, a woman reported that she believed the victim was a man named Kelly who had worked at the British Tube Mills, Kilburn, about four years ago.

Another man who viewed the body thought he resembled a man named Herbert Sarrogen.

The body has lain in the City Morgue since December 1. Inquiries are continuing through out all English-speaking countries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69322596

Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) Tuesday 4 January 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

Becoming Major Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Monday. -The mystery of an unidentified man whose body was found lying on the beach at Somerton, near Adelaide, oh December 1, is becoming a major problem for the police.

Despite the circulation of details, including fingerprints, to all parts of the Commonwealth, no positive identification has yet been established.

The body, which has been embalmed at the City Morgue, has been “identified” by several people, but subsequent investigations have proved them to have been in error. Numerous callers have viewed the body, and many inquiries have been received from other States.

Police are now concentrating on a claim that the dead man’s name was Ray Clark and that he came from Queensland to work on the rocket range.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/52660446

Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Tuesday 4 January 1949 Page 5 of 12

 

MYSTERY OF BODY ON BEACH

 

ADELAIDE.-The mystery of the identity of a man whose body was found lying on the beach at Somerton, near Adelaide, on December 1, is becoming a major problem for police investigating the circumstances of his death. Despite the circulation of details, including fingerprints, to all parts of the Commonwealth, no positive identification has yet been established. The body, which has been embalmed at the city morgue, has been “identified” by several people, but subsequent investigations have proved these to be incorrect. Numerous callers have viewed the body, and many enquiries have been received from other states, so far without re result. Police are now concentrating on a claim that the dead man’s name was Ray Clark and that he came from Queensland to work on the rocket range.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43798696

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 7 January 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

SOMERTON BODY SAID TO BE THAT OF WOODCUTTER

 

Although police are not yet satisfied with the identification, two persons last night claimed that the body of a man found at Somerton on December 1 was that of Robert Walsh, woodcutter, formerly of Morgan.

The identification was made by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, widow of Morgan, and Stanley Peter Salotti, driver, of Nile Street, Port Adelaide.

Detectives are not satisfied with the identification because of a discrepancy in the age of Walsh and that of the body. Thompson gave Walsh’s age as 63. while the police believe the dead man to have been about 40.

Mrs. Thompson told police: last night that she did not believe the Somerton body to be that of Walsh until she saw a photograph in a newspaper last Saturday.

According to Mrs. Thompson. Walsh boarded with her periodically at Morgan up till a fortnight before Christmas, 1947. when he left for Brisbane. She had arranged to meet him in Brisbane that Christmas, but did not keep the appointment.

Mrs. Thompson said that she heard no more of Walsh until she received a remembrance card and some money for Mother’s Day. 1948. The card was sent from Crow’s Nest NSW.

Mrs. Thompson first met Walsh eight or nine years ago. when he began boarding with her. He was then employed as a woodcutter in the Morgan district, and continued in that work until he left for Brisbane.

As far as Mrs. Thompson knew, Walsh had no relatives in Australia. He was a Welshman and had a sister in Wales. Although he never divulged his age. Mrs. Thompson believed Walsh to be about 63.

To substantiate her claim, Mrs. Thompson took to police headquarters a photograph of herself and Walsh, taken several years ago.

When Mrs. Thompson saw the photograph of the dead man in the newspaper, she made contact with Salotti. who also knew Walsh. They both separately identified the body as that of Walsh.

Silotti said he first met Walsh three years ago when the man boarded with him for a week at his Port Adelaide home. He saw him last at the Victoria Park racecourse 18 months ago.

When Mrs. Thompson identified the body she broke down and wept.

The body is consistent with that of a man who was once a woodcutter. The hands, how ever do not suggest that he had done any woodcutting during the past 18 months.

The identification of the body has provided detectives with one of the most unusual cases of its type in the history of the SA police force.

Enquiries have been made in every State and New Zealand.

Although a postmortem examination has been held, the cause of death has not yet been established. To preserve it for identification, the body was embalmed about a fortnight ago.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47636435

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Friday 7 January 1949 Page 11 of 26

 

IDENTITY OF BODY

 

ADELAIDE, Jan. 6: Although police are not satisfied with the identification, two separate persons tonight identified the body of the man found at Somerton on December 1 as Robert Walsh, wood-cutter, formerly of Morgan. Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, of Morgan, said that Walsh had boarded with her at Morgan until he left before Christmas, 1947, for Brisbane. She had arranged to meet him there but did not keep the appointment.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130240390

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 7 January 1949 Page 12 of 12

 

SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY

Five “positive” views conflict

 

The Somerton body has now been five times ‘positively” identified as five different men.

Latest “identification,” made today by Mr. Keith W. Magnoson, of Largs North, is that the body is that of Carl Thompsen, about 44.

Mr. Magnoson told police he had not seen Thompsen since 1939, when they did casual work together in Renmark district.

He believed, from conversations, that Thompsen came from one of the colder countries, such as Sweden.

The identifications have been made by nine of the 39 people who have viewed the body at the city morgue.

One woman identified it as her son, a man was positive it was his former shipmate, a third believed it was his brother.

Although a man and a woman both identified it last night as the body of Robert Walsh, woodcutter, formerly of Morgan, three men who knew Walsh and saw the body today said it was not.

Features of the case, which has gained Australia-wide publicity, include:

  • Absence of any papers or tags on the clothing to identify the man. The manufacturers’ tags appeared to have been cut from the clothing deliberately.
  • Failure by analysts and pathologists to find a cause of death; and
  • The fact that the victim had not been reported missing from his home or from any ship.

The man, neatly dressed, was found in a sitting position on the beach at Somerton early on December 1. He had not been in the water, and there were no marks of violence.

Police may have been ready to accept the possibility that the man had dropped dead from a heart attack, but for the missing name tags. The effort to destroy means of identification is a known suicidal tendency.

 

Suicide theory.

 

The finding of bus and train tickets in his clothing heightened the suicide theory, as both had been issued for travel to the beach-the train to Henley Beach and the bus to St. Leonards.

The man is thought to have bought the train ticket, had it punched on the Adelaide platform, missed the train. walked to North terrace, and, being determined to go to the beach, caught the bus to St. Leonards and walked along to Somerton.

Detailed examination of. the body suggests the man was a heavy smoker-his hands were stained with nicotine. He was heavily built, but did not appear to have done any recent manual work.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130240404

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 7 January 1949 Page 12 of 12

 

 

PICTURE of Robert Walsh, woodcutter, formerly of Morgan. Two people yesterday said a body found on the Somerton beach on December 1 was that of Walsh. Three men said today it was not.

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=390689847645723

Truth (Adelaide) Saturday 8 January 1949

 

[Headline, picture and first line missing] right opposite the Crippled Children’s Home, on Wednesday morning, December 1. Of him, absolutely nothing is known even now, despite police inquiries which have extended the length and breadth of Australia and far beyond its shores. Whether than man was murdered, killed himself, or passed into the great beyond while enjoying a quiet nap on the foreshore is just as big a mystery as his identity.

 

SOMERTON MYSTERY DEEPENS

 

WHOSE is the body that has lain embalmed on a slab in Adelaide Morgue for weeks, a mass of mortal clay claimed by none? Does anyone know the answer to this amazing riddle?

After weeks of interviews with various people, of checking up on information supplied to them, of letting people see the body and of chasing around after telephone-callers and letter writers, the police admit being no farther advanced in their enquiries than they were a month ago.

A leading detective told Truth the other day, “This is a first-class mystery; we haven’t yet discovered the cause of death.”

It is common knowledge now that when the body was found there were neither signs more marks of violence on it, or on the surrounding sand. The usual instruments associated with murder—such as poison, rope, gun, knife or hammer—were not there. In fact there was nothing on, or anywhere near, the body indicative or suggestive of either crime.

And yet police have a fear and suspicion that the dead man did not just sit down with his back against the seawall and die peacefully.

And even if he did, why don’t the analysts searching probes into his body reveal something to prove it?

On the other hand, the entire absence of weapons or marks indicative of some kind of violence makes it difficult for the police to endorse their own reactions to the affair with any confidence.

 

Smokes, No Matches

 

Constable John Moss, of Brighton, who received first advice of the mystery over the telephone, said to the Truth this week, “When I saw the body on the beach I could not resist the feeling that there was something about it not quite suggestive of sudden death from natural causes.

“For instance, the fingers of the dead man were heavily nicotined and yet, although there was half a packet of cigarettes in one of his pockets, he didn’t have a match on him.

“It occurred to me as rather strange that if a man who was obviously such a heavy smoker was going to spend a little time on the beach he would have gone there without matches.

“Then, of course, the fact that he had neither papers of any kind or money in his possession provided more food for speculation as to what really happened to this man. He was a well set-up fellow, clean, and neatly dressed. There appeared to be no suggestion of his association with crime in any shape of form.

About the only things known about the dead man are that the day before he died he travelled to Adelaide on a St. Leonards bus and that before boarding the bus he bought a train ticket to Henley Beach. Both tickets were found on him.

What prompted him to decide on Somerton instead of Henley? That is one of the most puzzling features of the whole case; but then, of course, who knows that someone else didn’t do the prompting?

The man who rang Constable Moss with the news of the discovery of the body early on the morning of Wednesday, December 1, claimed to have seen the figure of a man in the identical spot about dusk the previous evening, and he declared the man alive.

 

Wide Investigation

 

However coincidental it may be, there is nothing to suggest that there is any connection between the two incidents except perhaps doctors’ estimates that the mystery man had been dead for about eight hours when his body was discovered at 6.30 in the morning.

Already a number of people, on seeing Truth’s previously published picture of the dead man, have though they recognised him as one they knew, but in each case, on viewing the embalmed body, could throw no light on the dead man’s identity.

Perhaps the strangest of the many strange features associated with this mystery is that the dead man had recently shaved.

  • Was that the act of a man who intended taking his own life?
  • Or does it suggest that he had not the slightest inkling of the fate that was so soon in store for him on Somerton Beach?
  • Why, when, and where were all the tabs so carefully and completely removed from his coat and trousers?

These are just a few of the questions to which the police are seeking answers. Their enquiries, at first confined interstate, have now become international.

 

Det. Hec. Gollan, one of the police who is trying to unravel the mystery.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43798979

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 8 January 1949 Page 3 of 18

 

Body Again Identified As Woodcutter’s

 

A third identification yesterday tended to confirm a belief that the body found on Somerton beach on December 1 was that of Robert Walsh, formerly a woodcutter at Morgan.

Jack Stafford Hannam, storeman, residing at the Tivol boarding house, Grote street city, identified the body yesterday.

Hannam said it was that of a man, who, although known as Bob Morgan, had a driver’s licence in the name of Robert Walsh, and had also been known as McCarthy.

He said that the man was nicknamed “Nugget” because of his build and would be from 42 to 48 years of age.

 

Story Checks

 

Points on which Hannam’s story checks with two identifications made on Thursday by Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson. of Morgan, and Stanley Peter Salotti, driver, of Nile street Port Adelaide, are:—

Hannam says that the man told him that be had been engaged in woodcutting near Morgan.

The Tivoli boardinghouse, where the man stayed with Hannam for about two months from last February, is still known also as Turner’s boardinghouse.

Mrs. Thompson had said that Robert Walsh, the Morgan woodcutter, stayed at Turner’s boardinghouse in Adelaide.]

Hannam and Salotti both agreed that the man was much interested in betting on race horses.

Hannam said that 11 months ago the man had a small map of Australia tattooed below the right elbow. Although there is no such mark on the body, the police believe that the man may have had the tattoo removed.

 

Winning Tip

 

Hannam said that be first met the man when the man gave him a winning tip at Morphettville racecourse about May, 1947. When Hannam next met the man last February, he took him to the Tivoli boardinghouse. Two months later the man, who had been working for the Waterworks Department, left suddenly, leaving money for his board.

After viewing the body of the man found at Somerton on December 1, three men said yesterday that it was not that of Robert Walsh, woodcutter, formerly of Morgan whom they knew.

Keith W. Magnoson, of Largs North, told police yesterday that he believed the body to be that of Carl Thompsen, about 44, with whom he had worked in the Remnark district in 1939. He had not seen Thompsen since.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69323261

Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) Saturday 8 January 1949 Page 3 of 20

 

FOUR CLAIMS TO BODY IN S.A.

 

ADELAIDE, Friday. – South Australian police have a body which they want identified for the fifth and final time. So far it has been “identified” as the remains of four persons, and police are not satisfied that any of the claims are correct.

The body, that of a man, was found on Somerton Beach early last month. It has been identified by people who have claimed it as the remains of a son, brother and a workmate.

Though his body was on a beach, the man was not drowned, and the cause of death is not known. The body was found in a sitting position, and the clothing contained neither papers nor tags to help the police.

It is believed clues to the man’s identity were removed deliberately.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55927681

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 8 January 1949 Page 3 of 39

 

No Somerton autopsy clue

 

Autopsy on the Somerton body had revealed no traces of poison, no disease that could have caused death, and the heart appeared normal and healthy, Supt. Sheridan, chief of the CIB, said today.

POLICE today assigned Det. Sgt. R. L. Leane to the team of officers chosen to un- ravel the five-week-old mystery. Other officers on the case are Det. H. Gollan, and Plainclothes Constables Sutherland and Horsnell.

Public interest in the mystery was rekindled by an article in “The Mail” last week.

Since Saturday many people from different parts of the state have claimed they could identify the body.

Police have shown the body to a number of people this week. It is being kept in the freezing chambers of the morgue.

The body, that of a man aged about 42 years, was found in a sitting position on the beach at Somerton on December 1. No papers or marks of identification were found on or near the body.

 

Five “identifications”

 

Since then it has been “identified” as five different men. Each story is being closely followed by the police.

Supt. Sheridan said today police were hopeful that relatives or close personal friends of the dead man would be among people who might still come forward to inspect the body. They believed relatives or close personal friends might have knowledge of some medical history associated with the dead man.

Such information, he said, might help to solve the manner in which the man died.

The body would be preserved in the freezing chamber until every possible hint as to its identity had been thoroughly investigated.

It would not be buried until police were reasonably satisfied it had been identified, or that it could not be identified.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130238998

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 8 January 1949 Page 1 of 8

 

BODY MYSTERY

Extra police assigned

 

The police file in the Somerton body case has grown to such proportions that four police officers have now been assigned to unravel the mystery.

Today Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane joined Detective Gollan and Plainclothes Constables Sutherland and Horsnell on inquiries.

Since the body was found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, it has five times been identified as five different men.

 

Now says not Walsh

 

On Thursday night Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, widow, of Morgan, identified the man as Robert Walsh, woodcutter, who boarded with her periodically until Christmas. 1947.

Today, however, she again viewed the body, and from the absence of any scar on a leg and other details, said definitely it was not Walsh.

Three other people who viewed the body yesterday, also said it was not Walsh.

Meanwhile a Minlaton store keeper who knew Walsh telephoned police today and asked for a photograph of the victim.

Last night a man told police he had stayed with the victim at a Semaphore boarding house, but did not know his name.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/82574358

Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 – 1954) Monday 10 January 1949 Page 1 of 4

 

Body “ Identified “ Five Times

 

A dead man has already been identified as five different men. but his identity is still a mystery.

Police are maintaining an almost continuous taxi service between Adelaide watchhouse and the morgue in West Terrace cemetery.

They are taking people there who believe they can identify the body of a man found on Somerton beach on December 1.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43799241

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 10 January 1949 Page 11 of 14

 

Identity Of Body Still In Doubt

 

The identity of the man found dead on Somerton beach on December 1 is still uncertain. Two people have viewed the body at the City Morgue end identified it as that of Robert Walsh, formerly a woodcutter at Morgan, but four other people who knew Walsh say that it is not his body.

Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, of Morgan, who said on Thursday that it was the body of Walsh, viewed the body for a second time on Saturday end then said that it definitely was not Walsh

Absence of a scar on one of the legs and the size of the legs had made her certain that it was not Walsh.

An additional police officer, Detective Sergeant R. L. Leane. was assigned to the case on Saturday. He will now work with Detective Gollan and plain clothes Constables Sutherland and Horsnell.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43799305

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 11 January 1949 Page 3 of 10

 

Body Again Identified As Woodcutter’s

 

The body found on Somerton beach on December 1 has been identified for a third time as that of Robert Walsh, formerly a woodcutter at Morgan.

James Theodore Mack, of Parade, Norwood, told police when be viewed the body at the City Morgue last night that he thought it was Robert Walsh, who left some months ago to buy sheep in Queensland. Walsh was to have contacted Mr. Mack at Christmas.

When taken to the morgue at 9pm. Mack was unable to identify the body as that of Walsh. An hour later, however, he rang the Detective Office to say that he bad discussed the matter with his family and believed it was Walsh.

He had previously discounted the idea that it was Walsh because of the man’s auburn hair, he said.

Police are still investigating.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43799533

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 12 January 1949 Page 4 of 14

 

Found Dead

 

MISS N. Davies of the Education Department was searching for historical information through the files of “The South Australian Government Gazette” of the 1880s. In view of the Somerton mystery she was interested to find two whole pages devoted to people “found dead in public places” in those tough old times.

“The number was extra ordinary,” she said. “One pathetic case was that of a man aged 90, who for 20 years prior to his death had worked for food and clothing at Macclesfield. The people for whom he had worked had refused to attend to him and when found he had no money or property. Another man was simply known as “Larry.’ There were men classed as ‘a man.’ Several more were listed as ‘employed on ships.’ Included in this list was ‘a stewardess of a ship’.”‘

It was a staggering list considering the small number of people in South Australia at that time. Miss Davies said.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/130240955

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Wed 12 Jan 1949  Page 1

 

Luggage as clue to beach body

 

Police today appealed to all boarding housekeepers and hotel licensees to advise them if they have any unclaimed luggage left before December 1.

The appeal is made in connection with inquiries into the unidentified body found on Somerton beach on December 1.

Detectives say the victim must have left his belongings in the metropolitan area the day before his body was found, but they have been unable to trace them.

He did not bear the appearance of a man without means of support who might have slept on the river banks. He had been shaved on the day of his death.

With a knowledge of past cases where intending suicides have travelled to Adelaide to end their lives, detectives have checked at the railways luggage office for unclaimed baggage, so far without result.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/93332664

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) Thursday 13 January 1949 Page 4 of 44

 

Somerton Mystery Still Unsolved

 

The identity of the man found dead on Somerton beach on December 1 is still uncertain. Two people have viewed the body at the City Morgue and identified it as that of Robert Walsh, formerly a woodcutter at Morgan, but four other people who knew Walsh say that it is not his body.

Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, of Morgan, who said on Thursday that it was the body of Walsh, viewed the body for a second time on Saturday and then said that it definitely was not Walsh.

Absence of a scar on one of the legs and the size of the legs had made her certain that it was not Walsh.

An additional police officer, Detective Sergeant R. L. Leane, was assigned to the case on Saturday. He will now work with Detective Gollan and Plainclothes Constables Sutherland and Horsnell.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55926571

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 15 January 1949 Page 6 of 39

 

COTTON MAY BE CLUE TO MYSTERY

 

A thread of cotton may yet prove the means of solving one of the strangest mysteries to confront police—the identity of the Somerton beach body.

While searching unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station yesterday, detectives found a suitcase containing a pair of trousers, a pocket of which had been stitched with unusually coarse thread.

They have now established the thread is identical with that on the buttons of the trousers worn by the victim.

The trousers found in the unclaimed luggage bear three sets of dry cleaning numbers (see picture.)

A check will be made with dry cleaning firms throughout the Commonwealth. The luggage was handed in to the railway parcels office on November 30– the day before the body was found at Somerton.

The victim has been five times “identified” as five different men, and police now feel hopes of establishing his name from viewing the body are unlikely to succeed.

Police Photographer Aebi today photographed the dry cleaning marks and Det-Sgt. R. L. Leane is arranging to circulate them throughout Australia.

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43800028

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 15 January 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

Somerton Mystery Clue

 

A suitcase which police believe might have belonged to the man who was found dead on the beach at Somerton on December 1 was recovered from the cloak room of the Adelaide Railway station yesterday.

The case contained a number of articles, including a pair of light brown trousers in the cuffs of which was some sand. Two dry-cleaning marks were also found inside the trousers.

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane. with these marks as a clue, will try to trace the owner of the trousers.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43800278

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 17 January 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

Clothing Clue in Somerton Mystery

 

Police are confident that an unclaimed suitcase containing clothing left at the Adelaide Railway Station parcels office, belonged to the unidentified man whose body was found on Somerton Beach on December 1.

Detectives state that the size of a pair of trousers from the suitcase is the same as those worn by the dead man. In addition, a thread of cotton stitched in a pocket of the trousers left at the station is identical in size, color and material with that used to sew the buttons on to the trousers worn by the dead man.

Three sets of dry-cleaning numbers were discovered on the clothing from the parcels office, and a check is still in progress with dry-cleaning firms in the city and suburbs.

Detectives believe that the man may have come from Victoria. and the check will probably be extended to all States if the numbers shown cannot be traced here.

The suitcase was left in the parcels office on November 30, the day before the man was found dead.

Det-Sgt. R. L. Leane is in charge of investigations.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43800320

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 1 of 12

 

Definite Clue In Somerton Mystery

 

Detectives obtained their first real clue in the Somerton body mystery yesterday, when, they examined clothing found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide Railway Station.

Det-Sgt. R. L. Leane, who, with Detective L. Brown and Plainclothes Constable D. Bartlett, is engaged on the case, said yesterday that he was satisfied beyond doubt that the clothing in the suitcase belonged to the man found dead at Somerton on December 1.

He had concluded this after closely examining a card of brown cotton found in the suit case. Of an unusual type, it was identical with the cotton used to repair the lining of a pocket in the dead man’s trousers, and to sew buttons on a pair of trousers found in the suitcase.

A puzzling feature about the clothing found in the suitcase was that with the exception of the names “T. Keane” and “Kean” on a singlet, all name tabs had been removed from the garments.

 

Lamp Test

 

Mutilated name tabs on other pieces of clothing in the suitcase were placed under an infra-red ray lamp yesterday in an unsuccessful effort to read them.

Police believe that whoever removed the name tabs from the clothing either overlooked the names on the two pieces of clothing, or purposely left them on, knowing that the dead man’s name was not “Keane” or “Kean.”

Another piece of evidence connecting the suitcase with the dead man was the discovery in the case of a small brown button identical with buttons on the dead man’s trousers.

Articles found in the suitcase were a red checked dressing gown, pair of red slippers, pyjamas, shaving gear, an electrician’s screwdriver, a stencilling brush, and a table knife which had been cut down into a short and sharp instrument.

 

Two Tickets

 

The only articles found on the dead man were a punched single train ticket to Henley which had not been used, and a bus ticket to Somerton. The train ticket bad been issued between 6 a.m. and noon on November 30 and the bus ticket, for a bus leaving Adelaide at about 11.15 a.m. the same day.

Because he has not yet been identified, police believe that the dead man probably arrived in Adelaide only on the morning of November 30 and after shaving at the railway station —he was clean-shaven when found— deposited his luggage in the cloak room. He is then thought to have bought a ticket to travel to Henley, missed his train, and then walked across to the bus terminus opposite the station and caught a bus to Somerton.

Although a post-mortem was held, police state that it did not reveal the cause of death, and this is providing them with the second difficult aspect of the case.

Already nearly 40 persons have viewed the body, which has been embalmed at the City Morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47638871

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 11 of 23

 

CLOAK ROOM CLUE

 

Clothing Link With Death Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Jan. 17: Detectives obtained their first real clue in the Somerton body mystery today when they examined a quantity of clothing found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station. They are satisfied that the clothing belonged to the man who was found dead at Somerton on December 1, and believe he travelled to Adelaide by train from another State.

With the exception of the names “T. Keane” and “Kean” on a singlet, all the name tabs had been removed from the garments. The same method had been used to conceal the ownership of the clothing worn by the dead man.

The only articles found on the dead man were a single train ticket to Henley Beach, which had not been used, and a bus ticket to Somerton. Police believe that be arrived in Adelaide on November 30, the date of issue of the tickets.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26493243

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 17 of 20

 

IDENTITY CLUE HANGS BY THREAD

 

ADELAIDE, Mon.-Police obtained the first definite clue to identity of the body found on the beach near Glenelg several weeks ago.

A suitcase which belonged to the dead man has been found in the cloakroom of the Adelaide railway station. From clothing in it all names tags had been removed except the name of “T. Keane” which was left on a light grey tie. Tags apparently bearing the man’s name had been removed from clothing found on the dead man’s body.

Thread on a card found in the suitcase is identical with thread used to repair the lining of a pocket of the dead man’s trousers and to sew buttons on trousers found in the suitcase.

The police believe the man came from another State.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2785770

 

The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 2 of 4

 

THREAD GIVES CLUE TO UNKNOWN MAN

 

ADELAIDE. Monday.

A suitcase found in an Adelaide railway station cloakroom provided police with their first definite clue to the identity of a man whose body was found on a beach near Glenelg several weeks ago.

Tags, apparently bearing the man’s name, had been cut from the clothing found on the body. Similarly, all tags on the clothing found in the suitcase had all the name tags removed except one bearing the name T. Keane, left on a light grey tie.

A thread on a card found in the suitcase is identical with thread used to repair the lining of a pocket in the dead man’s trousers.

The same thread had been used to sew buttons on to trousers found in the suitcase.

Police believe the man carne from another State.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69324724

Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

Police Clue in Glenelg Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Monday. – Police have obtained the first definite clue to the identity of the body found on the beach near Glenelg several weeks ago.

A suitcase which is thought to have belonged to the dead man has been found in the cloakroom of the Adelaide railway station. Tags have been removed from all clothing in it, except the name of “T Keane.” which was left on a light grey tie.

Tags apparently bearing the man’s name had been removed from clothing found on the body. Thread on a card found in the suit case is identical with thread used to repair the lining of a pocket of the dead man’s trousers and to sew buttons on trousers found in the suit case.

Police believe the man came from another State.

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/134340784

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954)  Tue 18 Jan 1949  Page 3

 

SUITCASE CLUE TO IDENTITY

 

ADELAIDE, Monday.- Police obtained the first definite clue to the identity of the body found on a beach near Glenelg several weeks ago.

A suitcase which belonged to the dead man has been found in the cloakroom at the Adelaide railway station. From clothing in it all name tags had been removed except the name of T. Keane, which was left on a light grey tie.

Tags, apparently bearing the man’s name, were removed from clothing found on the dead man’s body. The thread on a card found in the suitcase is identical with thread used to repair the lining of the pocket of the dead man’s trousers and to sew buttons on trousers found in the suitcase.

Police believe the man came from another State.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130239259

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 18 January 1949 Page 12 of 12

 

New theory on beach body identity

 

Two people today viewed the unidentified Somerton body and told police they believed it was that of a man named Tommy Reade, who about three years ago was employed, on the steamer Cycle.

Clothing found in unclaimed luggage, at Adelaide Railway Station, which police have linked with the Somerton victim, bears the name Keane, but police have not overlooked the possibility that the clothing may be secondhand.

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane, Detective Brown, and Plainclothes Constable Bartlett are now making inquiries aboard the Cycle, which is in port today.

If the case of clothes found at the railway staton did belong to the victim, police would not be surprised to discover that he was a seaman or stationhand.

An unusual knife, pair of scissors, arid stencil brush were found in the suitcase.

 

 

 

TOP (FROM LEFT) – PCC D. Bartlett, Det. Sgt. R. L. Leane, and Det. L. D. Brown examining clothing found in a suitcase recovered at Adelaide Railway Station. Police believe it may be a clue in, the identification of the Somerton body. RIGHT-Scissors, tie with the name T. Keane on it, stencilling brush, table knife cut down; and a sheath which were found in the case.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/95713452

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950)  Wed 19 Jan 1949  Page 4

 

PUZZLING DEATH

 

Detectives’ Theory

INTERSTATE CLUE SOUGHT

Adelaide, Jan. 18.— Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery believe that the dead man might have been employed as a station hand and that their next clue will come from another State when the interstate police have checked on the name of ‘Keane’ or ‘Kean.’

Their reason for following this particular line of inquiry is that the knife, scissors and stencilling brush found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station, could have been used by a man employed in handling sheep. The dead man might also have been employed on the steamer, Cyclone, which is now at Port Adelaide.

This was suggested to-day by a person who thought the dead man might have been a person known as T. Reade, once a member of the crew. A seaman known as T. Keane was still employed on the vessel and it is thought possible that Reade, if he were the dead man, might have obtained some of Keane’s clothing.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/130240462

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Wed 19 Jan 1949  Page 1

 

BEACH BODY

 

Did man use rare drug?

Police and pathologists today re-examined the Somerton body in a further attempt to establish the cause of death.

Although police will not reveal their latest suspicions, they are believed to exclude foul play.

After the body was found on December 1, a post-mortem and analysis of certain organs failed to reveal how the man died.

This puzzling feature is coupled with the mystery of his identity.

In the belief that the man died by his own hand, suggestions have been made that he might have used a new or rare drug.

Today, seamen from the steamer Cycle viewed the body, which is embalmed at the City Morgue, and found it was not Tommy Reade, as had been suggested yesterday.

Strongest clue so far is the name Keane found in unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station.

Some of this contained dry-cleaning marks, which have now been circulated throughout Australia.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43800504

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 19 January 1949 Page 1 of 4

 

Somerton Body May Be That Of Station Hand

 

Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery believe that the dead man might have been employed as a station hand.

Their reason for following this particular line of the enquiry is because of the knife, scissors and stencilling brush which they found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station. They believe that these three articles could have been used by a man who was employed in handling sheep.

Det. Sgt. R. L. Leane, Detective L. Brown and Plainclothes Constable D. Bartlett, who are engaged on the case, are not inclined to believe that the dead man might have once been employed on the steamer Cycle which is at present at Port Adelaide.

This was suggested yesterday by a person who thought that the dead man might have been a man know as T. Reade, who was once employed on the steamer.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47639243

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Wednesday 19 January 1949 Page 25 of 34

 

SOMERTON MYSTERY

 

Detectives’ Lines Of Inquiry

 

ADELAIDE, Jan. 18: Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery believe that the dead man might have been employed as a station hand and that their next clue will come from another State when inter state police have checked on the name of “Keane” or “Kean.” Their reason for following this particular line of inquiry is that the knife, scissors and stencilling brush found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station could have been used by a man employed in handling sheep.

The dead man might also have been employed on the steamer Cycle, which is now at Port Adelaide. This was suggested today by a person who thought the dead man might have been a person known as T. Reade, once a member of the crew. A seaman known as T. Keane was still employed on the vessel and it is thought possible that Reade, if he were the dead man, might have obtained some of Keane’s clothing.

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150213910567926

South Australia Police Gazette Wednesday 19 January 1949 Page 25

 

SOMERTON—On 1/12/48 the deceased body of an UNKNOWN MAN, about 45 years, 5ft. 11in., strong build, fair to auburn hair (going grey at temples), grey eyes, natural teeth (two teeth missing from front upper), wearing a grey-brown double-breasted coat, brown trousers, brown knitted pullover, white shirt and collar, brown shoes and socks, was found on the beach. A post mortem examination failed to disclose the cause of death. On 30/11/48 a 24in. brown fibre suitcase containing gent’s clothing was left at the luggage office of the Adelaide Railway Station, and has not since been claimed. Clothing in the suitcase had been mended with similar thread to that on repairs of clothing worn by the deceased. The identification tabs have been removed from all clothing but a singlet bears the name of Kean in marking ink, and on a necktie, T. Keane. The following dry cleaners’ marks appear upside down on the hip pocket of a pair of fawn trousers, written in indelible pencil:—1171/7, 4393/3, 3053/1. They appear in the order and manner printed herein. In addition a red and grey check dressing gown; a pair of red felt slippers, size 7; a table knife cut down to about half its original length, and pointed like a skinning knife; a short-haired stencil brush; and a pair of scissors cut down to blades about 2in. long, tapered to very sharp points and probably used for crutching sheep, are contained in the suitcase. Police are instructed to inquire from dry cleaning establishments in their district as to the dry cleaning numbers, and other appropriate inquiries with a view to establishing the identity of the deceased. Any information gained, Det.-Sergt. Leane to be notified.—(C.545.)

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130240462

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 19 January 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

BEACH BODY

Did man use rare drug?

 

Police and pathologists today re-examined the Somerton body in a further attemnpt to establish the cause of death.

Although police will not reveal their latest suspicions. they are believed to exclude foul play.

After the body was found on December 1, a post-mortem and analysis of certain organs failed to reveal how the man died.

This puzzling feature is coupled with the mystery of his identity.

In the belief that the man died by his own hand, suggeslions have been made that he might have used a new or rare drug.

Today, seamen from the steamer Cycle viewed the body, which is embalmed at the City Morgue, and found it was not Tommy Reade. as had been suggested yesterday.

Strongest clue so far is the name Keane found in unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station.

Some of this contained dry cleaning marks, which have now been circulated throughout Australia.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/95713302

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950) Wednesday 19 January 1949 Page 2 of 6

 

Detectives’ Clue

SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY

 

Adelaide, Jan. 17.— Detectives obtained their first real clue in the Somerton body mystery to-day, when they examined a quantity of clothing found in a suitcase, recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station. They are satisfied that the clothing belonged to the man who was found dead at Somerton on December 1 and believe he travelled to Adelaide by train from another State.

With the exception of the names, Keane and Kean, on a singlet, all the name tabs had been removed from the garments. The same method had been used to conceal the ownership of the clothing worn by the dead man. The other articles found on the dead man were a single train ticket to Henley Beach, which had not been used and a bus ticket to Somerton.

The police believe that he arrived in Adelaide on November 30, the date of issue of the tickets.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/93334344

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) Thursday 20 January 1949 Page 5 of 44

 

CLUE IN SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY

 

 

Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery belive that the dead man might have been employed as a station hand because of the knife, scissors and stencilling brush, shown above, which they found in a suilcase recovered from the cloak room at the Adelaide railway station.. They believe that these three articles could have been used by a man who was employed in handling sheep.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22699115

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Tuesday 25 January 1949 Page 5 of 32

 

Mystery of dead man on beach:

 

WAS HE A VICTORIAN?

 

The unknown man whose body was found on Somerton beach Adelaide, on December 1, and the mystery of whose death has baffled Adelaide detectives and doctors, might be a Victorian, Russell st detectives said yesterday.

The mystery of the man’s death and identity is now regarded by the police as being almost as baffling as the mystery of the famous Albury “Pyjama Girl.”

In the last month thousands of South Australian people have viewed the man’s body, which is packed in ice in the Adelaide police mortuary. Five people said they knew the man, but subsequent police inquiries proved them wrong.

Russell st detectives, who are working on a “hunch” that the man is a Victorian, have asked Melbourne newspapers to publish the photograph of the dead man, to see if anyone in Victoria can recognise him.

 

No tags on clothes

 

When found on Somerton beach the man’s body was fully clothed and had not been in the water. There were no marks of violence or anything else to suggest the cause of death, but all name tags had been removed from the man’s clothing.

A post-mortem examination failed to elicit the cause of the man’s death, and finger prints have not established his identity.

A suitcase left at Adelaide railway station on November 30 — the day before the man’s death— was opened last week. It contained clothes similar in size and style to those he was wearing; also a reel of thread like that with which his clothes had been mended. A singlet and a tie bore the name “T. Keane.”

Detectives do not think that this was the man’s correct name.

 

Official description

 

Their description of the man is: About 45, 5ft 11 in. strong build, clean shaven, fair hair going grey at the temples, natural teeth. When found he was wearing brown trousers, brown pullover, white shirt and collar, and brown shoes and socks.

Melbourne detectives say a dry-cleaner’s mark on the man’s trousers is similar to the marks of a number of dry-cleaning firms in Victoria. They have also issued photographs of the mark to newspapers for scrutiny by dry-cleaning firms.

 

 

 

THE UNIDENTIFIED MAN whose body

DRY CLEANER’S MARKS

was found on Somerton Beach (SA                         found on the dead man’s trousers.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130239942

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 25 January 1949 Page 10 of 12

 

May be Victorian

 

Melbourne.-The unknown man whose body was found on Somerton beach, Adelaide, on December 1, and the mystery of whose death has baffled Adelaide detectives and doctors, might be a Victorian, Russell street detectives said yesterday.

The mystery of the man’s death and identity is now regarded by the police as being almost as baffling as the mystery of the famous Albury “Pyjama Girl.”

Detectives, who are working on a possibility that the man is a Victorian, have asked Melbourne newspapers to publish the photograph of the dead man, to see if anyone in Victoria can recognise him.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48583758

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Wednesday 26 January 1949 Page 3 of 8

 

Clue To Mystery

 

Melbourne.-The body of a man washed up on the beach at Glenelg (S.A.) on December 1 may be that of a former “cockatoo” for a Melbourne baccarat school.

The body has been embalmed, and is being kept in a special freezing chamber until it is identified.

Two Melbourne baccarat players telephoned the police yesterday after they had seen a photograph of the dead man. They were not able to give the police the name of the missing “cockatoo.”

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130242462

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 26 January 1949 Page 13 of 16

 

Gamblers believe dead  man was “nitkeeper”

 

Melbourne.-Two promininent Melbourne baccarat players who desire to remain anonymous, believe they knew the unknown man in the “Somerton beach body mystery.”

They saw the man’s picture in a Melbourne newspaper and said they thought they recognised him as a “nitkeeper” who worked at a Lonsdale street baccarat school about four years ago. They could not recall his name.

They said the man talked to few people. He was employed at the baccarat school for about 10 weeks, then left without saying why or where he was going.

No response has been received from dry cleaners who were asked to identify dry cleaning marks on the man’s trousers.

Pictures of these marks have also been published here.

Police have been flooded with calls from people who claim they recognise the picture of the mystery man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83767714

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83767799

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Thursday 27 January 1949 Page 9 of 18

 

Many Claim Clue To Beach Body

 

MELBOURNE, Thurs: Victorian police have been inundated with telephone calls from people who said that they could identify the man in the ‘Somerton Beach body mystery.’

A number of women claimed that the man was their husband, and that he had deserted them.

Four mothers said that he could be their son who left home years ago.

The task of establishing the man’s identity is proving the most clueless and baffling since the famous ‘Albury pyjama girl’ case.

The body was found on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1. All means of identification, including name tags on the clothes, had been removed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22698114

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Thursday 27 January 1949 Page 5 of 20

 

Many claim to identify man in Somerton Beach mystery

 

RUSSELL st homicide detectives were inundated yesterday with telephone calls from people who said they could identify the man in the “Body on Somerton Beach Mystery.”

A number of women claimed the man was their husband, and that he had deserted them.

Four mothers said he could be their son who left home years ago.

Three men said they recognised him as a man with whom they had worked.

All the informants gave their names and their stories will be checked during the week.

Detectives say it is possible the man was a Victorian, and all angles of the identification claims will be thoroughly checked.

The man’s body was found against the sea wall at Somerton beach, Adelaide on December 1. Doctors cannot give the cause of death.

When found the man was neatly clad, but name tags had been deliberately removed from his clothing.

There was no suicide note near the body.

The task of establishing the man’s identity is proving the most clueless and baffling since the famous “Albury Pyjama Girl” case.

Photographs, fingerprints, and a description have been circulated in all states and New Zealand without satisfactory results.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47641107

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Thursday 27 January 1949 Page 10 of 31

 

DEAD MAN’S PICTURE

 

Many Differ About Identity

 

MELBOURNE, Jan. 26: At least 20 persons have visited or telephoned police headquarters believing that they can identify a man who was found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide. early last month.

Each caller has “identified” the man, whose photograph was published in Victorian news papers, as a different person. Melbourne detectives said today that certain unexplained circumstances of the man’s death probably gave rise to the suspicion that he met his death other than by natural causes or suicide. Descriptions and pictures of the man have been sent to all States in the hope that someone may recognise him.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/67848589

Geraldton Guardian (WA : 1948 – 1950) Thursday 27 January 1949 Page 5 of 6

 

Beach Body Mystery

 

Futile Search for Identity

 

CLUE FROM MELBOURNE

 

Melbourne, January 27.

Two prominent Melbourne baccarat players, who want to remain anonymous, said they thought they knew the unknown man in the Somerton Beach Body Mystery. The body was found on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1st. All means of identification, including name tags on the clothes, had been removed and police have so far been unable to establish the body’s identity.

The gamblers saw the man’s picture in a newspaper and said they thought they recognised him as a ‘nit-keeper,’ who worked at a Lonsdale Street baccarat school about four years ago. They could not recall his name. They said this man talked to few people. He was employed at the baccarat school for about ten weeks and then left without saying why or where he was going.

Doctors have been unable to establish the cause of the man’s death and the Melbourne police think the man might have been a Victorian.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/95710451

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950) Thursday 27 January 1949 Page 4 of 6

 

Dead Man’s Identity

 

MANY CONFLICTING REPORTS

 

Melbourne, Jan. 26.— At least 20 persons have visited or telephoned police headquarters, believing that they can identify a man who was found on the Somerton Beach near Adelaide early last month. Each caller has ‘identified’ the man whose photograph was published in Victorian newspapers as a different person.

 

Melbourne detectives said to-day that certain unexplained circumstances of the man’s death probably gave rise to the suspicion that he met his end other than by natural causes or suicide. Descriptions and pictures of the man have been sent to all States in the hope that someone may recognise him.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49931951

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) Friday 28 January 1949 Page 3 of 15

 

Cleaning marks identity clue

 

Queensland police have been asked to assist in an attempt to identify a man found dead on the beach at Somerton South Australia on December 1 last.

Police all over Australia are helping the search.

Dry-cleaning numbers printed upside down in indelible pencil, were found on the man’s fawn trousers, and on his singlet the word “Kean” showed faintly.

“T Keane” was printed in Indian ink on a plain fawn tie.

Description of the man is: About 45 years 5ft. 11in., strong build clean shaven, fair hair, going grey at temples grey eyes, natural teeth.

Police have photographs of the man at the C.I.B Any dry-cleaning establishment who can identify the laundry markings or anyone recognising the description, is asked to communicate with the C.I.B. (B1101).

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/203224135

Truth (Brisbane, Qld. : 1900 – 1954)  Sun 30 Jan 1949  Page 4

 

Do you know this man?

 

In the belief that the victim may have been a Queenslander, Brisbane detectives, through ‘Truth,’ are asking the public for aid in their efforts to establish the identity of the man whose body was found on file beach at Somerton, South Australia, in November last.

All identification marks had been removed from the cloth- i ing of the dead man, but Adelaide police established that a suitcase left at the Adelaide railway station on November 30, 1948— the day before the body was found— belonged to the man found dead.

Contents of the suitcase provided what may be a clue to the man’s identity — a series of dry-cleaning numbers on the rear pocket of a pair of fawn trousers.

On a singlet the name ‘Kean’ was showing very faintly, and printed on a plain fawn tie in Indian ink was the name ‘T. Keane.’

The body is described as that of a man about 45 years of age; 5 feet, 11 inches in height; strong build; clean shaven; fair hair going grey at the temples; grey eyes; natural teeth.

Any person knowing the identity of the man, or able to recognise the identification marks on the clothing, is asked to contact the C.I.B. (B1101), or the nearest police station, as soon as possible.

Picture show: the drowning victim, and the laundry markings.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47641811

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Monday 31 January 1949 Page 3 of 21

 

MYSTERY OF BODY

Possible Clue At Darwin

 

DARWIN, Jan. 30: Police inquiries into the mystery of the body of a man found on the beach at Somerton, South Australia, on December 1 were extended to Darwin in the weekend, when it was learnt that the man might have worked here recently. Subsequently two employees of the Department of Works and Housing, Messrs. D. Gordon and J. Commins. said that the photograph of the dead man in the “Police Gazette” was that of R. E. Davis, a former workmate who left here a short time ago.

Members of the Darwin police force agreed that the photograph and description tallied in every respect with Davis except that his height was not more than 5ft. 9in.; it is given as 5ft. 11 in. in the “Police Gazette.” Davis was employed as a typewriter mechanic here, and his wife lives at Townsville, Queensland. The police are continuing their inquiries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22711538

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Monday 31 January 1949 Page 5 of 16

 

DARWIN CLAIM TO IDENTIFY BEACH BODY

 

DARWIN, Sun: Two Darwin men claim to know the identity of the man whose body was found on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1.

They believe he was R. E. Davis, who worked in Darwin as a clerk and typewriter mechanic last year. He was a married man, and his wife was believed to live in Townsville.

The body was found fully clothed on Somerton beach, but had not been in the water. There were no marks of violence, but all name tags had been removed from the clothing. A post mortem failed to show cause of death.

Scores of persons all over Australia have claimed to have known the man since a photograph was published in the Press. The body is still being kept in a state of preservation in Adelaide.

  1. Comins and D. Gordon, who claim to have known him in Darwin, worked with him, and believe he left Darwin about November 26. Adelaide police said last night that the photograph showed a marked likeness to a man they knew as Davis, but he was about 3in shorter than the description of the Darwin man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/43802353

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 31 January 1949 Page 1 of 12

 

Two More “Identify” Somerton Body

 

DARWIN, January 29.

 

Two Darwin men are the latest to claim to have known the unidentified man whose body has been preserved in Adelaide for two months.

They say he was R. E. Davis, who worked here as a clerk and typewriter mechanic last year

Davis is believed to have left Darwin on November 26. and police will check whether he went to Adelaide

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130238648

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 31 January 1949 Page 8 of 8

 

Beach clue discounted

 

A suggestion that the unidentified Somerton body was that of R. E. Davis, a typewriter mechanic, was discounted by a Darwin man who viewed the body at the City Morgue today.

It had been suggested that the victim might have been Davis who left Darwin on November 26.

The body has been ‘”positively” identified as seven different men. More than 30 names have been given as likely clues.

The finding of the body on the beach on December 1 has received Australia-wide publicity. The number of missing people in Australia at present is estimated to number several hundred.

The body, which has been embalmed, may be kept at least another four months.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47641811

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Monday 31 January 1949 Page 3 of 21

 

MYSTERY OF BODY

Possible Clue At Darwin

 

DARWIN, Jan. 30: Police inquiries into the mystery of the body of a man found on the beach at Somerton, South Australia, on December 1 were extended to Darwin in the weekend, when it was learnt that the man might have worked here recently. Subsequently two employees of the Department of Works and Housing, Messrs. D. Gordon and J. Commins. said that the photograph of the dead man in the “Police Gazette” was that of R. E. Davis, a former workmate who left here a short time ago.

Members of the Darwin police force agreed that the photograph and description tallied in every respect with Davis except that his height was not more than 5ft. 9in.; it is given as 5ft. 11 in. in the “Police Gazette.” Davis was employed as a typewriter mechanic here, and his wife lives at Townsville, Queensland. The police are continuing their inquiries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74642090

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 1 February 1949 Page 7 of 12

 

Somerton Body Still Unidentified

 

Following a message from Darwin that the body found on the Somerton beach on December 1 might be that of R. E. Davis a cleric and typewriter mechanic, who left Darwin in November, a Darwin resident visited the City Morgue yesterday, but could not identify the body. He said that he knew Davis in Darwin.

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150195289302926

New South Wales Police Gazette No. 5 Wednesday 2 February 1949 Page 51

 

[Note: Cover only]

ATTENTION OF ALL OFFICERS

SPECIAL INQUIRY

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130240200

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 4 February 1949 Page 13 of 16

 

Body again “identified”

 

The Somerton beach body has again been “identified.”

Harold Francis, of Winifred street, Plympton, told police the body was that of a Swede named Tim Reed, who had lumped wheat at Thevenard.

Police, however do not think the body is that of Reed.

The body was found on December 11. It has been viewed by nearly 50 people and “identified” as that of eight different men.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83767447

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 5 February 1949 Page 17 of 26

 

WA Police Help Sought In SA Body Mystery

 

With the nine weeks mystery still unsolved, inquiries have been extended to WA by police trying to identify a body found at Somerton Beach, South Australia.

Perth detectives have been supplied with the latest data on the case and asked to investigate further here.

Though circumstantial, the evidence so far gathered indicates that the dead man was named Kean or Keane.

An autopsy held after the body was found, dressed, on the beach on December 1, could not establish the cause of death.

Later, South Australian detectives found that a suitcase containing some clothing had been left at Adelaide railway station on November 30 and had not been claimed.

On a singlet in the case the word ‘Kean’ showed faintly A tie bore the lettering ‘T Keane’ in Indian ink. There were no identification tabs on the rest of the clothing.

A pair of trousers in the suitcase had been mended with stout brown thread. There was a card of this thread in the case.

The trousers on the body had a button, sewn on with identical thread.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83767515

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 5 February 1949 Page 21 of 26

 

WA Help Asked In SA Mystery

 

With the nine weeks’ mystery still unsolved, inquiries have been extended to WA by police trying to identify a body found at Somerton Beach, South Australia.

Perth detectives have been supplied with the latest data on the case and asked to investigate further here.

Though circumstantial, the evidence so far gathered indicates that the dead man was named Kean or Keane.

An autopsy held after the body was found, dressed, on the beach on December 1, could not establish the cause of death.

Later, South Australian detectives found that a suitcase containing some clothing had been left at Adelaide railway station on November 30 and had not been claimed.

On a singlet in the case the word ‘Kean’ showed faintly A tie bore the lettering ‘T. Keane’ in Indian ink. There were no identification tabs on the rest of the clothing.

A pair of trousers in the suitcase had been mended with stout brown thread. There was a card of this thread in the case.

The trousers on the body had a button sewn on with identical thread.

Many people in South Australia and Victoria have told the police during the inquiries that they thought they could identify the body, but none has succeeded.

Until the case is closed, the body will be preserved in formalin like the famous body in the Albury ‘pyjama girl case.’

The body of a woman, clad in pyjamas, was found in a culvert near Albury in 1934, kept in a formalin bath for several years while efforts were made to identify it. Ten years after the body was found Italian waiter Antonio Agostini was gaoled for six years for the killing of his wife.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22703463

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Wednesday 9 February 1949 Page 5 of 24

 

BODY ON BEACH MYSTERY DEEPENS

 

Investigations into a number of claims by persons throughout Victoria that they knew the unknown man in the Adelaide “Body on the Beach” mystery had so far failed to prove that he was a Victorian, homicide detectives said yesterday.

The “mystery” man was found dead on Somerton beach, Adelaide, on December 1 last. There were no marks of violence on his body, and doctors do not know what caused his death.

He could have died from natural causes, suicide, or murder. Name tags had been removed from the man’s clothing, and no one knows who he was or where he came from.

The man’s body is embalmed at Adelaide police mortuary, and police are comparing the mystery of the man’s identity with the famous case of the Albury “Pyjama Girl.”

Two weeks ago Adelaide detectives, who admit they are baffled by the man’s death, thought he might be a Victorian, because he had a rail ticket from Victoria in his pocket. Following publication of the man’s photograph in Melbourne newspapers, 28 people in Victoria claimed that they knew him.

Detectives said yesterday that the claims had been proved wrong, and that the man’s identity was a bigger mystery than ever. From other investigations they thought it unlikely that he was a Victorian.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47644198

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Thursday 10 February 1949 Page 5 of 31

 

UNIDENTIFIED BODY

 

KALGOORLIE, Feb. 9: It is thought that the body of an unknown man found on the beach at Somerton (South Australia) on December 1 last year may have been that of Harry Kearns, formerly of Kalgoorlie. who was last heard of in 1945 when he was working on the North Kalgurli mine. In 1942 while working on the transAustralian railway he visited Adelaide to attend the funeral of his mother and often said that he intended to go back to see the grave.

The Kalgoorlie detectives, who are investigating, hope that persons knowing anything of Kearns’s movements since 1945 will get in touch with them.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83766534

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Thursday 10 February 1949 Page 6 of 17

 

‘Dead Man’ Reports

 

KALGOORLIE, Thurs: A former Kalgoorlie resident named Harry Kearns, who detectives thought might have been the man found on the beach at Somerton in South Australia on December 1, reported to the CIB office today.

Kearns, who left Kalgoorlie in 1945 had not been heard of since then. When he reported today he said that he had been working in the North West and had returned to Kalgoorlie recently.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/95711351

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950)  Thu 10 Feb 1949  Page 2

 

DEAD MAN’S BODY

 

Identification Mystery

KALGOORLIE DETECTIVES INVESTIGATING

It is thought possible that the body of an unknown man found on the beach at Somerton, in South Australia on December 1, 1948, may have been that of a former Kalgoorlie man, Harry Kearns

When the dead man was found on the batch an Australia-wide investigation began in an attempt to identify the body, but up to date all attempts have proved unsuccessful. The dead man was described as being about 45 years of age. He was 5 ft. 11 in. tall, was of strong build, clean shaven and had fair hair, going grey at the temples. He had grey eyes and natural teeth, two of which were missing from the front of his mouth on the top. He was wearing a greyish-brown double-breasted overcoat, brown trousers and a knitted pullover, a white shirt and a tie and brown shoes and socks.

Kearns was last heard of in 1945, when he was working on the North Kalgurli gold mine. Prior to that he worked on the Kurrawang wood line and the trans-Australian line.

In 1942 whilst working on the trans-line he visited Adelaide to attend the funeral of his mother and often said that he intended going back to see the grave.

The Kalgoorlie detectives are investigating the matter, and it is hoped that persons knowing anything of the movements of Kearns since 1945 will get in touch with them.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48585291

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Friday 11 February 1949 Page 7/8

 

Beach Mystery Probe

 

Broken Hill police, in common with others throughout the State, are seeking identification of the man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton (near Glenelg), S.A., on December 1 last year.

Local police believe it is possible that the man was employed in the Broken Hill district and are inquiring at dry-cleaning establishments.

Among the few clues are cleaners’ marks on a pair of trousers that may have belonged to the dead man.

The names “Kean” and “T. Keane” have also been discovered on a singlet and necktie.

The man was about 45 years of age, 5ft. 11in., and strongly built. He had fair to auburn hair, turning grey at the temples; grey eyes, and natural teeth, two missing from the front of the upper jaw. He was dressed in a grey-brown double-breasted coat, brown trousers, brown knitted pullover, white shirt and collar, and brown shoes and socks.

 

SUIT CASE

 

A 24-inch brown fibre suitcase containing clothing, unclaimed at the luggage room at Adelaide Railway Station since November 30, 1948, bears evidence of having been his property. Identification tabs had been removed from the clothing found in the case, but close examination of a singlet revealed to the police the name “Kean.” On a plain fawn necktie the name “T. Keane” was similarly marked

Only other article bearing marks was the trousers, with cleaner’s marks “1171/1,” “4393/3” and “3053/1.”

Other property in the case comprised a red and grey small-check pattern dressing gown, a pair of red slippers (size 7), a card of sewing thread, a table knife, the blade of which had been reduced in length and ground to a fine point, which would suggest that it had been used for skinning; a pair of scissors, the blades reduced to two inches and sharply pointed; and a stencilling brush.

 

WAS STATION HAND

 

The three last mentioned articles have suggested to the police that the man was possibly a station hand or had been engaged in a similar rural pursuit.

Broken Hill police will be glad if any person who could assist with information about the identification of the dead man would get in touch with them.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55922068

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 12 February 1949 Page 1 of 47

 

Somerton body for burial

 

Still unidentified, the body of the dead man found at Somerton beach on December 1 would buried “in the near future,” CIB chief (Supt. Sheridan) said today.

IT has been lying embalmed in the City Morgue

Police chiefs of many countries have co-operated with the SA police in their efforts to trace the dead man’s identity. These efforts will continue

The dead man’s fingerprints were sent to all Australian and many foreign police headquarters. All reported the man’s fingerprints were not on file.

The body was found slumped against the seawall at Somerton on the morning of December 1. No marks of identification were on the body. All tags had been removed from the man’s clothes

A subsequent pathological examination failed to find any cause of death.

More than 30 people have viewed the body in the City Morgue and many have claimed to be able to identify it. All clues and suggestions were followed up by police without success.

Det-Sgt. Lionel Leane is in charge of inquiries.

Supt Sheridan said today “The body will be buried in a city cemetery in the near future. it cannot be kept indefinitely.

Kaigoorite.-The Somerton beach body is not that of Harry Kearne, as was once thought. Kearne walked into the CIB office today and said he had been working in the north-west.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130240127

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 12 February 1949 Page 8 of 8

 

NOT “SOMERTON BODY” MAN

 

Kalgoorlie.–Harry Kearns, whom detectives thought might have been the unknown man found on Somerton Beach, in South Australia, on December 1, has reported to the CIB office here.

Kearns left Kalgoorlie in 1945. He said today he had been working in the north west, and returned only recently to Kalgoorlie.

He read a newspaper story that he might be the man at Somerton, and reported to the police immediately.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/59508812

Sunday Times (Perth, WA : 1902 – 1954) Sunday 13 February 1949 Page 22S of 29

 

Mystery Not Solved

 

Adelaide, Sat : Mystery still surrounds the identity of a man found dead near Glenelg last December.

Adelaide police stated today that the body was not that of Harry Kearns, of Kalgoorlie, as was suggested.

Kearns had walked into CIB Kalgoorlie office today and said he had been working in the north-west.

Body is still unidentified and will soon be buried. It has been lying embalmed in the city morgue.

Dead man’s fingerprints were sent to all Australian and foreign police hqrs., but no such prints had been on their files.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/52665202

Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Monday 14 February 1949 Page 6/15

 

S.A. Beach Mystery Unsolved

 

ADELAIDE. – All efforts by S.A. police, with the co-operation of the authorities in other states and in many foreign countries have failed to solve the mystery of the death and the identity of a middle aged man whose body was found slumped against a sea wall at Somerton, near Glenelg, on the morning of December 1, last year.

Every tab had been removed from the man’s clothing, and a subsequent pathological examination did not reveal the cause of death.

Since the body has been lying embalmed in the Adelaide morgue it has been viewed by numerous people, many of whom have claimed, without eventual justification, to be able to Identify the deceased.

The body will be buried in an Adelaide cemetery in the near future.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26490273

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Monday 14 February 1949 Page 16/24

 

POLICE FAIL TO IDENTIFY MAN’S BODY

 

ADELAIDE, Sun. – AU efforts by South Australian police, with the co-operation of authorities in other States and in many foreign countries, have failed to solve the mystery of the death and identity of a middle-aged man whose body was found slumped against a sea wall at Somerton, near Glenelg, on the morning of December 1 last year.

Every tab had been removed from the man’s clothing, and subsequent pathological examination did not reveal the cause of death.

Since the body has been lying embalmed in the Adelaide morgue, it has been viewed by numerous people, many of whom have claimed, without eventual justification, to be able to identify the man.

The body will be buried in an Adelaide cemetery in the near future.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/212140746

The Evening Advocate (Innisfail, Qld. : 1941 – 1954)  Tue 15 Feb 1949  Page 3

 

New clues found in South Australian body mystery

ADELAIDE. — Detectives obtained their first real clue in the Somerton body mystery when they examined a quantity of clothing found in a suitcase recovered from the cloak room at Adelaide railway station.

The body of a man was found in a sitting position on the beach at Somerton early in December.

It was neatly dressed, and had not been in the water.

There was no sign of violence and a post-mortem examination did not reveal the cause of death.

Police fear the man might have been murdered.

Many people have viewed the body, but it has not yet been identified.

Police are satisfied that the clothing in the suitcase belonged to the man.

They believe he travelled to Adelaide by train from another State.

A card of brown cotton found in the suitcase was of an unusual type and was Identical with the cotton used to repair the lining of a pocket in the dead man’s trousers and to sew buttons on a pair of trousers found in the suitcase, detectives said.

REMARKABLE FEATURE

A remarkable feature about the clothing in the suitcase was that the exception of the names “T. Keane” and “Kean” on a singlet, all the name tabs had been removed from the garments.

The same method had been used to conceal the ownership of the clothing worn by the dead man.

Police believe that whoever removed the name tabs from the clothing either overlooked the. names on the two pieces of clothing or purposely left them on, knowing that the dead man’s name was not “Keane” or “Kean.”

The suitcase also contained several pairs of underpants and a shirt of the same make as that worn by the dead man.

The only articles found on the dead man were a single train ticket to Henley Beach which had not been used, and a bus ticket to Somerton.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/99044032

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954) Wednesday 16 February 1949 Page 5 of 10

 

Laundry Check To Identify Dead Man

 

SYDNEY. Tuesday-C.I.B. detectives will check all city and country laundries in an effort to establish the identity of a man found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1, 1948.

Intensive investigations throughout South Australia by detectives have failed to identify the man and other states have been asked for help.

The man, whose body has been in the Adelaide morgue since the day of its discovery, was about 45 years of age, strong build, fair auburn hair, grey at the temples, grey eyes, natural teeth, two of which are missing from the upper jaw.

The only clues available to the police are the singlet the man was wearing bears the name “Keane” and his tie has the name “T. Kenne”, sewn on it.

The dead man’s trousers bear the laundry mark “117-7,429-3, 3053-1”

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/194569766

Tweed Daily (Murwillumbah, NSW : 1914 – 1949)  Wed 16 Feb 1949  Page 3

 

LAUNDRY CHECK IN BID TO IDENTIFY MAN

 

SYDNEY, Tuesday: CIB detectives will check all city and country laundries in an effort to establish the identity of a man found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1, 1948.

Intensive investigations throughout South Australia by detectives have failed to identify the man and other States have been asked to help.

The man, whose body has been in the Adelaide morgue since the day of its discovery, was about 45 years of age, strong build, fair auburn hair, grey at the temples, grey eyes, natural teeth, two of which are missing from the upper jaw.

The only clues available to the police are a singlet the man was wearing, which bears the name “Keane” “His tie has the name T. Keane” sewn on it.

The dead man’s trousers bear laundry mark 117-7, 429-3, 3053-1.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/194892743

Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954)  Wed 16 Feb 1949  Page 3

 

Laundry Check To Identify Man

 

SYDNEY, Tuesday — The C.I.B. detectives will check all city and country laundries in an effort to establish the identity of a man found dead on Somerton Beach Adelaide, on December 1 1948. An intensive investigation throughout South Australia by detective has failed to identify the man, and other States have been asked for help.

The man, whose body has been in the Adelaide Morgue since the date of its discovery, was about 45 years of age, strong .build, fair auburn hair grey at the temples, grey eyes, natural teeth, two of which are missing from the upper jaw.

The only clues available to the police are a singlet the man was wearing, which bears the name ‘Keane’ and his tie has the name ‘T. Keane’ sewn on it. The dead man’s trousers bears the laundry mark, ‘117/7, 4393/3 and 3053/1.’

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/134351206

Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954)  Wed 16 Feb 1949  Page 1

 

Laundry Check To Establish Man’s Identity

 

SYDNEY, Tuesday. – Detectives will check all city and country laundries in an effort to establish the identity of a man found dead on Somerton. Beach, Adelaide, on December 1 last.

Investigation throughout South Australia has failed to identify the man. Other States have been asked for help.

The man’s body has been in Adelaide morgue since December 1. He was about 45, of strong build, fair auburn hair, grey at the temples, grey eyes, natural teeth, two missing from the upper jaw.

He was wearing a grey brown double breasted coat, brown trousers, brown knitted pullover and white shirt, with brown shoes.

An analyst’s report failed to establish the cause of death.

The only clues available to police are A singlet the man was wearing bears the name “Keane,” and his tie has the name “T. Keane” sewn on it.

His trousers bear the laundry mark “117/7 4393/3 and 3053/1.”

Articles in a bag belonging to the dead man suggest that he was some kind of a rural worker.

Police pin most of their hope of identifying the man by checking on the laundry tag.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47656707

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Monday 11 April 1949 Page 11/26

 

AN UNSOLVED MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, April 10: With both the identity and cause of death still unknown after 18 Weeks of police investigations in Australia and overseas, the case of the man found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1, is now classed by the South Australian authorities as an “unparalleled mystery.” Because the man apparently took elaborate precautions to conceal his identity by cutting all name tabs from his clothing it has now been suggested that he may have taken the trouble to obtain some obscure organic poison which he knew would be difficult to trace. If so, the cause of his death might never be known. The embalmed body, which has been viewed by many persons, is still being kept at the city morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49674233

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) Monday 11 April 1949 Page 3 of 10

 

BEACH DEATH STILL POSER

 

ADELAIDE, Sunday. — With both the identity and cause of death still unknown after 18 weeks of police investigations In Australia and overseas, the case of the man found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1 is now classed by South Australian authorities as an ‘unparalleled mystery.’

As the man apparently took elaborate precautions to conceal his identity by cutting all name tabs from his clothing, it has now been suggested that he might have taken trouble to obtain some obscure poison which he knew would be difficult to trace.

If this was the case the cause of death might never be known. The embalmed body, which has been viewed by scores of people, is still being kept at the City Morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36361680

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 11 April 1949 Page 3 of 14

 

“Unparalleled Mystery” Of Somerton Body Case

 

With both the identity and cause of death still unknown after 18 weeks of police investigations in Australia and overseas, the case of the man found dead on Somerton beach on December 1 is now classed by SA authorities as an “unparalleled mystery.”

Investigations have extended to Scotland Yard, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries.

As the man apparently took elaborate precautions to conceal his identity by cutting all name tabs from his clothing, it has now been suggested that be may also have taken the trouble to obtain some obscure organic poison which he knew would be difficult to trace.

If such were the case, the cause of death might never be known.

Continuance of testing has become more difficult because of gradual exhaustion of the supplies of testing material available.

Tests so far have shown that none of the common poisons or the barbiturate drugs were used.

The embalmed body, which has been viewed by scores of people, is still being kept at the City Morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/95741124

Kalgoorlie Miner (WA : 1895 – 1950) Monday 11 April 1949 Page 4 of 6

 

DEAD-MAN ON BEACH

Unparalleled Mystery

NO CLUE AFTER EIGHTEEN WEEKS

 

Adelaide April 10.— With both the identity and cause of death still unknown, after 18 weeks of police investigations in Australia and overseas, the case of the man found dead on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, on December 1, is now classed by the South Australian authorities as an unparalleled mystery.

Because the man apparently took elaborate precautions to conceal his identity, by cutting all name tabs from his clothing, it has now been suggested that he may have taken the trouble to obtain some obscure organic poison, which he knew would be difficult to trace. If so the cause, of his death may never be known. The embalmed body, which has been viewed by many persons, is still being kept at the city morgue.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130194922

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 2 May 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

TO MAKE CAST OF BEACH BODY

 

A plaster cast is to be made of the Somerton body, which has now lain unidentified in Adelaide City Morgue for five months.

It is understood the cast will be made of the head and shoulders.

This will enable efforts at identification of the man to continue after the body is buried.

Although the practice of making casts of unidentified bodies is widely used overseas, it will be the first time it has been done in such circumstances in South Australia.

The city coroner (Mr. Cleland) will probably open an inquest in the next few weeks. He may decide to bury the body at a later date.

Mr. L. Elllott, undertaker, of Port road, Hindmarsh, who embalmed the body on December 10-nine days after it was found on the beach at Somerton-is completing final preparation of the body today to enable work to start on making the cast.

University professors, pathologists, analysts, and police are expected to tell of their efforts to unravel the mystery of the cause of death when the inquest is opened.

Strongest clue to identity so far is in a suit case of unclaimed clothing found at Adelaide Railway Station bearing the name Keane.

The Liquid Fuel Control Board granted Mr. Elliott enough petrol for 50 visits to the morgue in connection with the embalming. For the first three months Mr. Elliott averaged four visits a week.

More than 50 people have viewed the body, hundreds more have inquired about it at police headquarters, and letters have been received from countries overseas.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/52676017

Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Tuesday 3 May 1949 Page 5 of 19

 

Making Cast of Dead Man

 

ADELAIDE — To enable identification efforts to continue, a plaster cast is to be made of the head and shoulders of the body of a man found on the beach at Somerton nearly five months ago and which has not yet been identified.

The city coroner will probably open an inquest shortly and order the burial of the body.

The only clue to the body’s identity so far is the finding of a suitcase of unclaimed clothing at the Adelaide railway station bearing the name Keane.

More than 500 people have viewed the body, and hundreds more have enquired about it at police headquarters.

The cause of death also remains a mystery.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36364854

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 3 May 1949 Page 1 of 14

 

New Clues May Identify Somerton Body

 

The man who was found dead on the Somerton beach on December 1 and who has not been identified despite world-wide police investigations, may have been a Bulgarian named Keanic, according to the information received by the police recently.

In view of fresh evidence, Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane has recircularised the man’s description throughout the world under that name. Police believe that they now have a definite lead towards establishing his identity.

Recently an Egyptian who speaks seven languages and is employed by a Hindley street butcher, identified the name “Keanic” written on the tie worn by the dead man, and said that he believed him to be a Slav, probably a Bulgarian.

After a minute examination of the name tag in the suitcase, he told police that the last two letters had been partly obliterated by wear and that the name could have been mistaken for Keane.

Police had previously hoped to identify the man as “Keane,” the name they found on clothing in a suitcase which they are certain was left by the dead man at the Adelaide railway station shortly before the discovery of the body.

This opinion was reached after the finding of a type of rare grass seed found near the body, which was identical with one found in the suitcase.

The case of clothing contained a seafarer’s stencilling outfit which, according to shipping authorities, would be used only by a member of a ship’s crew for marking cargo and supplies.

A small piece of paper printed in Turkish which was found in the dead man’s pocket has led police to assume that he was able to speak that language.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22726149

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Tuesday 3 May 1949 Page 3 of 32

 

Clue to mystery of dead man on beach

 

ADELAIDE, Mon: After widespread enquiries lasting five months, Adelaide police believe they now have a definite lead towards establishing the identity of the man found dead on Somerton Beach on December 1.

An Egyptian, who speaks seven languages and is employed by a city butcher, has identified the name “Keanic” written on the tie worn by the dead man, whom he believes is a Slav, probably a Bulgarian.

Until now police have sought to identify the man as “Keane,” which appeared to be the name found on clothing in a case which they are certain was left by him at the Adelaide railway station shortly before his body was found.

The Egyptian said the name could have been mistaken for “Keane,” because the last two letters on the name tag were partly obliterated.

Acting on this fresh evidence, Adelaide police have sent the man’s description under the new name throughout the world.

Police are satisfied the man was not murdered, as he apparently took elaborate precautions to conceal his identity by cutting name tags from his clothing.

The theory that he may have taken some little-known poison has also been advanced. The city coroner will conduct an inquest on a date to be fixed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69356124

Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) Tuesday 3 May 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

EFFORTS TO IDENTIFY MAN’S BODY

 

ADELAIDE, Monday.- To enable identification efforts to continue, a plaster cast is to be made of the head and shoulders of the body of a man found on the beach at Somerton, nearly five months ago, and which has not yet been identified.

The City Coroner will probably open an inquest shortly, and order the burial of the body. The only clue to the body’s identity so far is the finding of a suitcase of unclaimed clothing at the Adelaide railway station bearing the name Keane. More than 500 people have viewed the body and hundreds more have inquired about it at police headquarters.

The cause of death also remains a mystery.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47660901

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Tuesday 3 May 1949 Page 4 of 25

 

DEAD MAN’S IDENTITY

 

Clue To Adelaide Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, May 2: After widespread inquiries lasting five months, police believe that they now have a definite lead to wards establishing the identity of the man found dead on Somerton Beach on December 1. An Egyptian who speaks seven languages and is employed by a city butcher has identified the name “Keanic” written on the tie worn by the dead man who he believes is a Slav, probably a Bulgarian. It was previously thought that the partly-obliterated tag was “Keane.”

Acting on this fresh evidence police have sent the man’s description under the new name throughout the world. Circumstances of the case have attracted worldwide interest.

The City Coroner will conduct an inquest on a date to be fixed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47661123

 

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Wednesday 4 May 1949 Page 4 of 26

 

DEAD MAN’S IDENTITY

 

Clue To Adelaide Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, May 3: After widespread inquiries lasting five months, police believe that they now have a definite lead to wards establishing the identity of the man found dead on Somerton Beach on December 1. An Egyptian who speaks seven languages and is employed by a city butcher has identified the name “Keanic” written on the tie worn by the dead man who he believes is a Slav, probably a Bulgarian. It was previously thought that the partly-obliterated tag was “Keane.”

Acting on this fresh evidence police have sent the man’s description under the new name throughout the world. Circumstances of the case have attracted worldwide interest.

The City Coroner will conduct an inquest on a date to be fixed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130195226

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 30 May 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

Somerton body inquest soon

 

The City Coroner (Mr. Cleland) announced today he would probably hold an inquest next week into the death of an unknown man whose body has lain in the City Morgue for six months. The body will probably be buried within the next fortnight.

The SA Grandstand Bookmakers’ Association secretary (Mr. Alan Saunders) said today his association would pay burial costs, to prevent the victim being buried as a pauper.

In spite of six months’ intensive investigation by police pathologists and scientists, the victim’s identity and cause of death remain a mystery.

On the morning of December 1 the body, that of a neatly dressed middle-aged man, was found in a sitting position against the sea wall on the beach at Somerton.

The body had not been in the water and all name tags had been cut from the clothing.

It is understood the weight of medical opinion is that the victim did not die a natural death. Some authorities believe he committed suicide, but the true cause of his death may never be known.

Three weeks after the body was found and when all attempts to identify the man and find the cause of his death had failed, Adelaide undertaker Mr. L. Elliott embalmed the body by injecting fluid into the veins.

Police inquiries have extended throughout the world. Hopes that the man will be identified now seem remote.

Today arrangements were completed to have a plaster cast made of the head and shoulders. The work will probably be done by the Museum Director (Mr. Hale).

It is expected that the cast will be completed in about a fortnight.

It has not yet been decided whether the victim will be buried before or after the inquest

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130194490

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 7 June 1949 Page 2 of 16

 

Unidentified body copied in plaster

 

Work was begun today on a plaster cast of the unidentified Somerton body.

An official of the Adelaide Museum is working at the City Morgue today but the cast will not be completed for about a fortnight.

The City Coroner (Mr. T. E. Cleland) is expected to open an inquest in about 10 days.

The body has lain at the City Morgue more than six months. It will be buried soon.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36371152

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36371154

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 9 June 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

Cryptic Note On Body

 

The translation by Public Library officials yesterday of a cryptic note discovered in the clothing of the unidentified man found dead at Somerton on December 1 has caused detectives to intensify their enquiries in an effort to solve what is considered the strangest case of its time in the history of the SA police force.

The note, which was printed on a scrap of paper, read, “Tamam Shud.”

The words “Tamam Shud” are to be found at the end of the last verse of the English translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Tamam Shud is believed to be a contraction of the Tamain Shudan. which according to Wollaston’s English – Persian dictionary, means “to end” or “to finish.”

Detectives believe that the dead man cut the words out of a book.

In an effort to trace the book, photographs of the scrap of paper will be sent to interstate police

 

The note in Persian

 

An inquest into the man’s death will open on June 17. It is expected that about 30 witnesses will be called.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36371416

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 10 June 1949 Page 2 of 18

 

“TAMAM SHUD”

 

Every fresh disclosure about the man found dead on the Somerton beach on December 1, seems to make his identity and mode of life—to say nothing of the cause of his death—more of a puzzle than ever. Indeed, the case supplies all the elements of one of Australia’s most profound mysteries.

Not only did the dead man conceal his identity with extra ordinary skill, but, intentionally or not, set a riddle as to the manner of his death which neither police nor medical authorities yet seem able to solve. If the cause of death was a poison so rare and obscure that it cannot be traced by normal methods, a more than average knowledge of toxic substances is suggested. To former signs of the mystery man’s learning, is now added the revelation that on a note found in his clothes were printed the words ‘Tamam Shud,” which, indicating the finish, are to be found at the end of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The concluding stanzas of the Rubaiyat, of course, deal with the writer’s impending departure from this mortal “garden,” and finally invite subsequent “guests” to “turn down an empty glass.” The “Somerton man” seems to have made certain that the glass would be empty, indeed, save for speculation.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/82384183

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Tuesday 14 June 1949 Page 6 of 12

 

MYSTERY BODY BURIED  AFTER SIX MONTHS

 

ADELAIDE, Tues: The body of the unknown man found on the beach at Somerton more than six months ago was buried at ‘West Terrace cemetery today.

The embalmed body is expected to stay preserved for many years. This will help in identification if an exhumation is necessary.

The City Coroner will attempt to unravel some aspects of the mystery on Friday. Among 20 witnesses will be university professors, pathologists and analysts.

The body was found on December 1 last year. All normal means of identification, including name tags on the clothes, had been removed. The only articles found on the dead man were a single train ticket to Henley Beach, which had not been used, and a bus ticket to Somerton. Inquiries have been made throughout Australia.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36371968

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 14 June 1949 Page 1 of 12

 

Unknown Man To Be Buried Today

 

After having been kept in the City Morgue for more than six months, the unknown man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton last December, will be buried in West Terrace Cemetery this afternoon.

The body was embalmed about three months ago.

The expense of the funeral will be met by the Grandstand Bookmakers’ Association.

A plaster cast has been taken and police enquiries will be continued indefinitely.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/130192974

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Tue 14 Jun 1949  Page 1

 

Few see burial of Somerton body.

 

The body of the unknown man found on the beach at Somerton more than six months ago was buried at West Terrace Cemetery at 9.30 a.m. today.

Arrangements for the funeral were kept secret to prevent the attendance of curious sight seers

This afternoon, gravediggers will place a small wooden cross on the grave, bearing the words “Unknown Man”

Police had to call on a newspaper reporter and a publican to assist as pallbearers.

To prevent the victim being buried as a pauper, the cost of the funeral is being met by the SA Grandstand Bookmakers’ Association

Time-old method

The body, which has been embalmed in a manner similar to that employed by the Egyptians 2,000 years ago is expected to stay preserved for many years, should it be necessary to exhume it.

The grave is in specially selected dry ground in the cemetery.

The burial service was con ducted by Capt. E. J. Webb, of the Salvation Army.

The coroner’s warrant to bury was made out for “the body of an unknown man found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948. Age, address, and occupation unknown.”

No wreaths

The funeral, comprising a hearse and one car, left the parlors of F. T. Elliott & Sons, Port road, Hindmarsh, at 9.15. There were no wreaths.

Before the casket was sealed the coroner’s constable (PCC Sutherland), who has been associated in inquiries since the mystery began, viewed the body.

Mr. L. A. Elliott, who is a member of the British Institute of Embalmers and the British Embalming Society, embalmed the body 10 days after it was found. He believes it is the longest period a body has been kept embalmed in Adelaide.

The embalming was done by injecting special fluid into the veins. The case has aroused great interest among embalmers in England, and a full report is being sent away by Mr. Elliott.

Mr. Leo Kenny, licensee of the Elephant and Castle Hotel, opposite the City Morgue, acted as a pallbearer. He has followed the case with great in terest.

The City Coroner (Mr. T. E. Cleland) will attempt to un ravel some aspects of the mystery associated with the man’s death when he opens an inquest at 10.30 a.m. on Friday. Among the 20 witnesses will be University professors, pathologists and analysts.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/130192987

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954)  Tue 14 Jun 1949  Page 1

 

Final scene at West Terrace

 

A PUBLICAN, A JOURNALIST, a police constable and two undertaker’s assistants acted as pallbearers when the Somerton body was buried at West Terrace Cemetery today. The burial service was conducted by Capt. E. J. Webb, of the Salvation Army.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/158294554

The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954)  Tue 14 Jun 1949  Page 1

 

Unidentified Body Buried In Adelaide

 

ADELAIDE.— The body of the unidentified man found on the beach at Somerton more than six months ago was buried at West Terrace Cemetery today.

The embalmed body is expected to stay preserved for many years, should it be necessary to exhume it. The embalming was done by injecting special fluid into the veins.

The case had aroused great interest among embalmers in England and a full report is being sent to them.

The City Coroner will attempt to unravel some aspects of the mystery on Friday.

Among 20 witnesses will be university professors, pathologists and analysts.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/145459197

Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 – 1954)  Wed 15 Jun 1949  Page 8

 

ADELAIDE, Tuesday: The City Coroner (Mr. T. Cleland) will hold an inquest on Friday into the death of an unknown man who was found on Somerton Beach on December 1, 1948.

The body, was buried in West Terrace Cemetery today, the funeral expenses being paid by the South Australian Grand stand Bookmakers’ Association.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49686500

The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 6 of 12

 

Unknown buried

 

ADELAIDE, Tuesday.— The body of an unknown man found on Somerton Beach more than six months ago was buried at West Terrace cemetery, Adelaide, to-day.

The body was embalmed in a manner similar to that employed by the ancient Egyptians so that it will stay preserved for many years should it be necessary to exhume it.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36372229

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 3 of 16

 

Buried In Mystery

 

The body of the unknown man found on the beach at Somerton six months ago was buried at the West Terrace Cemetery yesterday.

Extensive enquiries throughout the world were made by Adelaide detectives, but the identity of the man and the cause of his death remained unsolved.

The cost of the funeral was met by the SA Grandstand Bookmakers’ Association. The service at the graveside was conducted by Capt. E. J. Webb, of the Salvation Army.

The body has been specially embalmed and should be well preserved for exhumation, if that should be necessary at some later date.

A cross, bearing the words “Unknown Man,” was later erected on the grave.

The City Coroner (Mr. T. E. Cleland) will open an inquest on Friday into the man’s death. It is expected that about 20 witnesses will attend.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22735305

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 3 of 24

 

UNKNOWN MAN’S BODY EMBALMED

 

ADELAIDE, Tues: The body of an unknown man found on the beach at Somerton six months ago was buried at West Terrace Cemetery today.

The body, which has been embalmed in a manner similar to that employed by the Egyptians 2,000 years ago, is expected to stay preserved for many years should it be necessary to exhume it.

Mr T. E. Cleland, city coroner, will attempt to unravel some aspects of the mystery when he opens an inquest on Friday.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2809097

The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1954) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 2 of 6

 

INQUEST TO OPEN ON BODY OF UNKNOWN MAN

 

ADELAIDE, Tuesday.

 

The City Coroner (Mr. T. Cleeland) will hold an inquest on Friday into the death of an unknown man who was found on Somerton Beach on December 1.

The body was buried in West Terrace Cemetery to-day, the funeral expenses being paid by the South Australian Bookmakers’ Association.

Twenty witnesses will be called at the inquest.

Police, pathologists, and analysts are baffled as to the cause of death. At least 100 persons have viewed the body in an attempt to establish identification.

A plaster cast of the man’s head and shoulders was made in the hope, that identity may eventually be revealed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130196585

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 8 of 20

 

HEADSTONE OFFERED FOR GRAVE

 

A Keswick monumental mason today offered to erect a headstone ornament on the grave of the unidentified man found on Somerton Beach.

The donor, Mr. A. Collins, of Everard avenue, Keswick, erected a headstone over the grave of three-year-old Sandra Selway, who died last year as a result of injuries inflicted by her foster-father.

Mr. Collins said today he did not like to see anyone buried without some inscription on the grave.

He had been given permission by the Police Department to put a cement kerb round the Somerton victim’s grave, and to cover it with a concrete floor sprinkled with marble chippings.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130196520

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 15 June 1949 Page 20 of 20

 

Grave of an unknown man

 

 

A CROSS bearing the words “Unknown Somerton body” has been erected over the grave of the unknown man who was found on the beach at Somerton six months ago. His body was buried at West Terrace Cemetery yesterday.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/2809097

The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995)  Wed 15 Jun 1949  Page 2

 

INQUEST TO OPEN ON BODY OF UNKNOWN MAN

 

ADELAIDE, Tuesday.

The City Coroner (Mr. T. Cleeland) will hold an inquest on Friday into the death of an unknown man who was found on Somerton Beach on December 1.

The body was buried in West Terrace Cemetery to-day, the funeral expenses being paid by the South Australian Bookmakers’ Association.

Twenty witnesses will be called at the inquest.

Police, pathologists, and analysts are baffled as to the cause of death. At least 100 persons have viewed the body in an attempt to establish identification.

A plaster cast of the man’s head and shoulders was made in the hope, that identity may eventually be revealed.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48595755

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Thursday 16 June 1949 Page 1 of 8

 

Grave of an unknown man

 

A CROSS bearing the words “Unknown Somerton Body” has been erected over the grave of the unknown man who was found on the beach at Somerton, S.A., six months ago. His body was burled at West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, on Tuesday.

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130195091

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 17 June 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

Somerton body inquest

 

Murder not ruled out, court says

 

The possibility that the Somerton victim had been murdered had to remain under consideration until circumstances excluded it, said the City Coroner (Mr. Cleland) today.

He was opening the inquest into the death of an unknown man found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948

A plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the dead man was mounted on a pedestal in the Coroner’s Court.

Mr. Cleland said from the report he had received it would appear that:

Identity of the man was quite unknown

Death was not natural.

Death was probably caused by poison.

It was almost certain death was not accidental.

“Big disadvantage”

That, said Mr. Cleland, left the alternatives to be considered whether he died by his own hand or through the act of some other person

“Because we do not know who he was, the motive which may have actuated him or someone else, is unknown” continued the Coroner

“This ignorance is a great disadvantage, and emphasises the necessity of ascertaining what is known and of recognising what is only inference.

“The natural and simple explanation of the circumstances which will be detailed in the evidence, may be that he died by his own act. but as we are dealing with circumstances which are not ordinary, it may be that the natural explanation is not the true explanation.

“I am going to try to find, if I can, who he was and how, when, and where he died,” said the Coroner. “I am afraid I will be unable to answer these questions unless further evidence is forthcoming.”

If any member of the public believed he could supply information which might be of assistance, the Coroner appealed to him to communicate with the police.

 

(Continued on Back Page)

 

 

LIFE-SIZED plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the unidentified body which was found on Somerton beach more than six months ago had a prominent position in the Coroner’s Court today.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130195091/11115945

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 17 June 1949 Page 16 of 16

 

DOCTOR THINKS SOME POISON CAUSED DEATH

 

(Continued from Page 1)

 

Poison of some sort caused the death of the Somerton victim, but apart from special cases he knew of no common poison that could not be detected on analysis. Dr. J. M. Dwyer, pathologist at Royal Adelaide Hospital, told the city coroner (Mr. Cleland) at the Somerton body inquest today.

The coroner had asked if there were a common poison known to the average person that could not be detected on analysis. Dr. Dwyer said there were special poisons that could not be detected on analysis.

He could not say the man had not taken an overdose of a drug, but he felt there was not enough evidence for him to say that was the cause of death.

“I am quite convinced death could not have been natural,” said Dr. Dwyer.

“I think the immediate cause of death was heart failure, but I am unable to say what factor caused heart failure.

“When I sent in my report, I suggested a poison or a soluble hypnotic, and I still think this consistent with the finding.

 

“Educated man”

 

Dr. Dwyer said he saw no evidence of a hypodermic needle having been used.

Dr. Dwyer said the general impression he gained was that the victim was a man whose bearing and general appearance were such that one would take notice of him.

“There was the expression about his face as though he might have been an educated man,” he said.

Robert James Cowan, Deputy Government Analyst, said he thought death was more likely to have occurred from natural causes than through poison because of failure to detect any poison. (Proceeding)

 

Still “certain” of identity

 

Only woman present at today’s hearing of the Somerton body inquest was bespectacled, elderly Mrs. E. Thompson, who made a special trip from Morgan.

Mrs. Thompson interjected to ask about “grass seeds in a parcel” while Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane was giving evidence.

Afterwards she told a “News” reporter she was still positive the victim was Bob Walsh, a Welshman who had stayed with her. She was the first to come forward in an effort to identify the body.

“He was coming home for Christmas,” she said. “I am satisfied he was robbed and the shock killed him.”

Last year she received a card from him on Mothers’ Day, as was his usual practice. Since then she had heard nothing of him.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130195162

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 17 June 1949 Page 16 of 16

 

At inquest on Somerton body

 

PERSONALITIES arriving at the Coroner’s Court for today’s inquest into the death of the unknown man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton last December. BELOW (from left) – Assistant Coroner’s Constable A. Horsnell, Fingerprint Expert J. Durham, and Detective L. Brown. BOTTOM -The Government Analyst (Mr. R. Cowan), left, and Coroner’s Constable W. Sutherland.

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130195176

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 17 June 1949 Page 16 of 16

 

LATE NEWS

 

BODY INQUEST

Somerton body inquest adjourned until Tuesday. Prof. J. B. Cleland, Sir Stanton Hicks, and Dr. J. B. Bennett will give medical evidence. Twelve witnesses heard today.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55924781

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 18 June 1949 Page 4 of 54

 

Headstone for unknown

 

ERECTION OF A HEADSTONE ORNAMENT on the grave at West Terrace Cemetery of the unidentified man, found dead on Somerton Beach last December, was completed today. The work was the gift of Mr. A. Collins, a Keswick monumental mason, who was given permission by the Police Department to put a cement kerb round the grave, and to cover it with a concrete floor sprinkled with marble chippings. Looking at the inscribed headstone is Mr. S. C Brice, works supervisor at the cemetery.

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/82388641

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 18 June 1949 Page 5 of 26

 

COURT SEES PLASTER CAST OF DEAD MAN’S HEAD

 

ADELAIDE, Sat: A plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the victim was mounted in the Coroner’s Court to day when the inquest into the death of an unidentified man found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948, was opened.

City Coroner Cleland said the possibility that the man had been murdered had to remain under consideration until circumstances excluded it.

It would appear that death was not natural and was probably caused by poison. It was almost certainly not accidental.

It had to be considered whether he died by his own hand or through the act of another person. The inquest was adjourned.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36372869

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 18 June 1949 Page 4 of 18

 

BEACH DEATH INQUEST.

‘Not Accidental,’ Says Coroner.

 

The unknown man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton was probably poisoned and his death was almost certainly not accidental, the City Coroner (Mr. T. E. Cleland) said at the opening of the inquest yesterday.

This left the alternative that the deceased died by his own act or was murdered.

After evidence of the discovery of the body, and medical and police evidence, the inquest was adjourned until Tuesday, when medical evidence will be given by Professor J. B. Cleland, Sir Stanton Hicks and Dr. R. B. Bennett.

A plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the dead man was displayed in court during the proceedings.

The Coroner said it appeared the man was not missed, per haps because there was sufficient reason for his disappearance from his usual surroundings.

 

Arm Moved

 

Evidence of discovery of the body was given by John Bain Lyons, jewellery proprietor, of Whyte street, Somerton, who said he was walking on the beach with his wife on the evening of November 30 when she pointed out a man lying near the steps in front of the Crippled Children’s Home.

While he was watching, the man’s right arm made a circular movement upwards and outwards. He assumed the man was drunk, and was “sleeping it off.”

Early next morning he saw men on horses looking at a body.

He examined it without touching it, and informed the police.

He could not identify the man or his clothing with the man he had seen the previous night, but the body was in the same position.

Constable John Moss, stationed at Brighton, said he examined the body, but found no marks of violence.

The body was taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital, where Dr. Bennett had said that death had occurred about eight hours previously. There was no undue disturbance of the sand around the body.

He searched the body, and found a train ticket, a tram ticket, cigarettes, matches, half a packet of chewing gum, two combs and a handkerchief.

 

Different Position

 

Gordon Kenneth Strapps, Inspector, of Seymour terace, Woodlands Park, and Olive Constance Neill, telephoniste, of East Parkway, Colonel Light Gardens, gave evidence of seeing the body on the beach about 7.20 p.m. on November 30.

Strapps stated that although he did not see the body move, he noticed a difference in the position of the hand when he left the beach about 8 p.m.

Dr. John Matthew Dwyer, of Port road, Hindmarsh, said he had made a post-mortem examination of the body on December 2.

The pupils of the eyes were smaller than usual, a condition with which certain drugs might be associated, including the barbiturates, but this was by no means a distinguishing point.

The brain, stomach, kidneys and liver were deeply congested.

The heart was normal and was that of a man in good physical training.

There were signs of acute gastritis, with bleeding in the stomach.

Death was due to heart failure, which, with such a healthy heart, could not be from natural causes.

The most likely poison was a barbiturate or a hypnotic.

He was disturbed by the report that no traces of poison had been found.

It was possible, however, that certain quick-acting barbiturates or other poisons could be decomposed in the body shortly after death.

He produced extracts from medical literature to show that in known cases of deaths by barbiturates, none had been found on analysis.

This explanation, although extremely unusual, was possible.

 

Poison Theory

 

If a hypodermic injection had been made, it might have escaped notice in the post mortem.

He thought that a poison which could not be found on analysis was the cause of death.

Robert James Cowan, deputy Government analyst, of Fisher street, Fullarton, stated that he had analysed organs taken from the body.

He had found no trace of the common poisons, such as cyanides, alkaloids, barbiturates, or carbolic acid.

He did not think that any poison taken by mouth could be absent from the body at death.

If the deceased died by poisoning it must be a poison rarely used for suicidal or homicidal purposes.

Evidence of police investigation of a suitcase left at the cloak-room at the railway station on November 30 and since unclaimed was given by Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane.

Comparison of the contents of the suitcase with clothes found on the body showed marked similarities.

The coat worn by the deceased was stitched with brown cord similar to thread found in the suitcase. The trousers in the case and those worn by the deceased were mended with similar thread.

The shirt, underclothing and handkerchief on the body were the same type as those in the case.

Name Found

A laundry bag and a tie in the case bad the name “Keane” on them. Other name tabs had been torn from clothing in the case and on the body.

A description, fingerprints and photographs of the body had been circulated all over Australia and in NZ. Finger-prints and photographs had been sent to all the English-speaking countries of the world, but no identification had been made.

Det. L. D. Brown gave evidence of investigations into a piece of paper bearing the words “Tamam Shad” in Persian, found in the fob pocket of the deceased’s trousers by Professor J. B. Cleland.

On receiving information that these words occurred at the end of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, he looked through copies of the book and found the words in identical type at the end of an edition published by the Collins Press.

Enquiries at libraries had not disclosed any copy of the book with the words cut out.

The meaning of the words was “to end” or “finish.”

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130197014

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 21 June 1949 Page 2 of 16

 

[Note: this article (and the related two following) appear oi the same page as an article about the Mangnoson fund: http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130197017]

 

POISON “LIKELY, BUT MORE FACTS WANTED”

 

The theory that the unknown Somerton man committed suicide by taking a poison with a sudden terrific effect was given by an expert witness at the resumed inquest today.

He was Prof J. B. Cleland, professor of pathology at Adelaide University. He was giving evidence before the City Coroner (Mr. Cleland) at the inquest into the death of the unknown man found on Somerton beach on December 1, 1948.

Prof. Cleland said he did not feel “too convinced” about the removal of the name tags from the clothes on the body and in the suitcase recovered from Adelaide Railway Station. It looked as though they had been removed.

“I came to the opinion death was almost certainly not natural, and that in all probability some poison had been taken with suicidal intent,” said witness.

His explanation for the body’s unusual position (with head and shoulders resting against the seawall within a yard or two of steps frequently used) was that the poison he used had such a terrific effect on him he did not have time to go as far along the beach as he intended.

Witness told the Coroner he saw the body after it had been embalmed. He could not say whether the man had worn a moustache, or a beard and it had been removed shortly before his death.

Witness said from time to time people died a natural death and no organic reason could be found to account for it.

Prof. Cleland said he came to the suicide conclusion before he found the piece of paper bearing the words “Taman Shud.” The fact that those words meant something like “the end” supported his opinion considerably.

“I think the words were put there deliberately and indicated the intention that he was fed up with things,” said witness. The paper was in a small fob pocket that was extremely difficult to find.

Prof. Cleland said he accepted the evidence of the deputy Government analyst (Mr. Cowan) that he found no poison present.

“It is possible for certain poisons to be excreted from the body before death, so that they are not noticeable on analysis,” he said.

 

Poison unknown

 

Witness said the man seemed to have taken undue trouble to hide his identity.

He continued: “It makes one rather think that he may have gone to equal trouble to use something which caused a quiet death, something unusual, which was unlikely to be found.

“It would presuppose some knowledge, either a medical man or someone associated with a laboratory, or possibly, as Sir Stanton Hicks suggested, an illness in the family for which some drug had been prescribed which would achieve the result intended.

“If a common poison were used and not found, even in the presence of ordinary circumstances, the dose must have been enough, and just enough, to cause death. He probably died at or before midnight.

“Every poison we have suggested seems to be discounted. We found no evidence, of vomiting.”

“Apparently he had discarded most of the contents of his pockets; including his money. The absence of money suggests he had deliberately emptied his pockets. One can hardly think of the last penny as having been spent on his last meal or whatever his last purchase was, unless, of course, he had been robbed after death.”

 

Inquest adjourned

 

The inquest was adjourned sine die in the hope some further facts would be discovered.

The City Coroner said he took this course because he could not establish the identity of the Somerton body or how, where, or when the man met his death.

“The evidence is too inconclusive to warrant a finding,” said the coroner.

“There is no evidence as to who he was, only that he died during the night of November 30-December 1.

“I cannot say where he died.

“I would be prepared to find he died from a particular poison and that it was not accidentally administered, but I cannot say whether it was administered by himself or by some other person,” Mr. Cleland said.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130196998

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 21 June 1949 Page 2 of 16

 

Cast of body for Museum?

 

The plaster cast of the bust of the Somerton body may soon be on display in the Museum.

It is believed the Police Department will ask Museum authorities to do this in the hope somebody might recognise the man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130197015

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 21 June 1949 Page 2 of 16

 

Bust carried into Court

 

 

 

LEFT-DET.-SGT. LIONEL LEANE carrying a bust of the unidentified man into the Coroner’s Court when the inquest on the Somerton body was resumed today. Right Prof. J. B. Cleland was one of today’s witnesses.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74647022

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 22 June 1949 Page 10 of 18

 

No Finding At Beach Body Inquest

 

The resumed inquest into, the body of an unknown man, found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, was yesterday adjourned sine die by the City Coroner (Mr. T. E. Cleland on the ground that the evidence before him was too inconclusive to warrant a finding.

‘I would be prepared to find that the deceased died from a particular poison of a group mentioned in evidence, and that it was not accidentaly administered.’’ the Coroner said in his summary of the evidence. ‘But I cannot say whether it was administered by the deceased himself or by another person.

‘There is no evidence who the deceased was. Although he died during the night of November 30-December 1. I cannot say where he died.’’

None of the witnesses who had seen the man on the beach on November 30 had seen his face, or any part of his body which they could identify with the body found on December 1. Mr. Cleland added.

It is understood that the Police Department will ask the Museum to exhibit the plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the body there, in the hope that further evidence of identification will come forward.

 

Poison Group

 

The names of a group of poisons, and of two poisons of that group, suggested in medical evidence as the cause of death, were suppressed by the Coroner.

Evidence was given by Sir Stanton Hicks, Professor of Human Physiology and Pharmacology at Adelaide University, that the poison was easily procurable by the ordinary person. It might have been secured from a case under treatment, be said. Its use implied intelligence and shrewd observation, but not necessarily a knowledge of the way in which it caused death.

Prof. J B. Cleland. Profexsor Emeritus of Pathology at Adelaide University, said that he had examined the clothing of the deceased and the contents of a suitcase left unclaimed at the Adelaide Railway station.

Orange-colored thread in the suitcase corresponded, on microscopic examination, with the color and size of fibre in similar thread used to mend clothing is the suitcase and on the body.

Death was almost certainly not due to natural causes. Probably some poison was taken with suicidal intent. The discovery of the piece of paper with the words “Tamam Shud” (meaning ‘the end ‘) in the deceased’s pocket reinforced this supposition.

Questioned by the Coroner as to deceased’s choice of a frequented place, witness said he thought that the poison might have begun to have a soporific effect before deceased had gone as far along the beach as he intended.

Witness thought it unlikely that a common poison had been used and destroyed in the body so as to leave no trace. Deceased had taken the trouble to conceal his identity and might have gone to equal trouble to find a poison which was unlikely to be discovered.

The absence of money in deceased’s pockets suggested that he had deliberately emptied his pockets, unless he had been robbed before or after death.

Sir Stanton Hicks said that a massive dose of any barbiturate would have been needed to cause death between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. In the case of a barbiturate, death would be due to respiratory failure, and the left ventricle of the heart would be enlarged, which was not the case.

Witness suspected a certain group of poisons for three reasons: — The heart was contracted; the lungs and particularly the liver and spleen, were engorged with blood; the wall of the stomach was not only engorged, but was bleeding into the cavity.

These facts suggested the action of a poison which caused the heart ultimately not to relax and fill in the normal war. Before stopping in the unfilled condition there must have been some time when its filling was growing less and less, which meant that more and more blood was remaining on the input side, leading to the engorgement of the organs.

 

“Toxic”

 

Witness confirmed the Coroner’s suggestion of a group of poisons and two poisons of that group as producing these effects. One of these would be particularly toxic in relatively small doses by mouth, would be completely missed by any of the tests applied and would in fact be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to identify, even if it had been suspected in the first instance.

The only missing facts which would have confirmed this conclusion were the absence of signs of vomiting, or of convulsions. There was, however, sufficient variation in the reaction of individuals to account for the absence of vomiting.

The gesture with the arm mentioned in evidence would be consistent with convulsions, which would be mainly of the arms, and not necessarily violent.

Evidence of examination of the body at 9.30a.m. on December 1, and of the fixing of the time of death at more more than eight hours previously, was given by Dr. John Berkely Bennett, of Fullarton.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130193278

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 22 June 1949 Page 20 of 20

 

Somerton man from Mildura?

 

A Mildura woman believes the Somerton body may be that of her missing husband

Mrs. P. Bailey, of Lion avenue, Mildura, has advised Adelaide police that her husband has been missing since last November.

An Englishman aged 57, he left Mildura last August to go to Melbourne. She believes he later went to Adelaide, but she has not heard from him since November.

Police are checking on details of description.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/96212714

Recorder (Port Pirie, SA : 1919 – 1954)  Wed 22 Jun 1949  Page 1

 

INQUEST ON UNKNOWN MAN ADJOURNED

 

Hope That Further Facts May Be Discovered

ADELAIDE, Tuesday.

In the hope that further facts might be discovered Mr, Cleland (City Coroner) adjourned until a date to be fixed an inquest into the death of the unknown man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton on December 1 last year.

Giving evidence today, Prof. J. B. Cleland (professor of pathology at Adelaide University) said he had formed the opinion .that death was ”almost certainly not natural”, and that in all probability poison had been taken with, suicidal intent.

Referring to the position of the body, which had been found near steps which were in frequent use, Prof. Cleland expressed the opinion that poison used had had “such a terrific effect” that the man had not had time to go as far along the beach as he had intended.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36373580

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 23 June 1949 Page 3 of 16

 

New Enquiry On Somerton Body

 

In a letter to the superintendent of the Adelaide CIB (Supt. W. O. Sheridan), a Mildura woman states she believes the body of a man found on the beach at Somerton to be that of her missing husband.

The woman, Mrs. P. Bailey, said her husband left Mildura last August to go to Melbourne for eye treatment.

The last information she had of his whereabouts was from the RSL, Spencer street, Melbourne, where she was told that her husband had gone to Adelaide in November. Since then she has heard nothing of him.

Det-Sgt. R. L. Leane in charge of the case, is now checking details of the man’s build from figures and a photograph given by his wife.

 

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=385641021483939 (top) http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=385641878150520 (bottom)

Truth (Adelaide) Saturday 25 June 1949 Page 6

 

Attempts to Solve Somerton Mystery Deepen Mystery

 

DOCTORS DIFFER

 

POISON OR NOT?

 

The mystery of the death of an unknown man at Somerton beach which, for months, has puzzled police and public in South Australia, was not solved by the inquest held this week, but was made more profound and more intriguing. Far from finding a solution, the inquest added mystery to mystery, and was highlighted by starkly contrasting evidence by medical experts called to help elucidate the mystery.

PATHOLOGIST John Matthew Dwyer told Coroner T. E. Cleland: “I am convinced that death was not natural. I believe poison was the cause, although it could not be found in the dead man’s stomach.”

  • Deputy Government Analyst Robert James Cowan declared: “I am not aware of any poisons that are not discoverable on analysis. I think death is more likely to have been due to natural causes than poisoning.
  • Professor J. B. Cleland, of Adelaide University, said: “I came to the opinion death was almost certainly not natural, and that in all probability some poison had been taken with suicidal intent.”

A plaster cast, replica of the features of the unknown man, whose body was found on Somerton Beach more than six months ago, was a grotesque, silent and uncomprehending exhibit at the inquest.

Coroner Cleland said that murder could not be ruled out until circumstances excluded that possibility. From the reports he had on hand, he said, it looked as if:

  • Identity of the man was unknown;
  • Death was not natural;
  • Death was probably caused by poison;
  • It was almost certain death was not accidental.

 

Motive Unknown

 

These factors, he add, left the alternatives to be considered whether than man had died by his own hand or through the act of some other person. Because the victim was unknown the motive for death was also unknown.

Describing how he stumbled twice upon the mystery man, John Bain Lyons, jewellery store proprietor, of Whyte St., Somerton, said that on the evening of November 30, he and his wife were returning from a walk when his wife commented on the attitude of a man lying slumped against the sea wall.

“I assumed he was drunk and took no further notice,” Lyons told the court.

About 6.35 the next morning, Lyons continued, he saw a number of men on horses looking at the body of a man.

Constable John Moss told the coroner that there was no disturbance on the sand near the body. He searched the clothing and found a railway ticket to Henley Beach, a bus ticket, a packet of chewing gum, a packet of cigarettes, and two combs.

 

Drug Suggestions

 

Paul Francis Lawson, taxidermist, of Cane St., Prospect, gave evidence of a number of peculiarities of the corpse. On June 7 he made a plaster cast of the features and shoulders of the body. The feet, Lawson said, indicated that the man had worn high-heeled and pointed shoes. His calves were developed as a woman’s who used similar type of footwear might be.

Dr. Dwyer said that he conducted the post mortem. The body was that of a tallish man, about 45 years old and in good physical condition.

The pupils of the eyes were smaller than usual and uneven in outline. This contraction could be associated with certain drugs, said Dr. Dwyer. Blood in the stomach suggested the use of an irritant poison.

“I am convinced that death was not natural,” Dr. Dwyer continued. “I think the immediate cause of death was heart failure, but I am unable to say what factor caused the heart failure.”

 

“Natural Causes”

 

He was astounded when Dr. Cowan, who made an analysis of the stomach contents, found no poison. Dr. Dwyer declared. He though it was a possible explanation that poison was taken or administered and had decomposed after causing death.

“I believe that poison caused death, although it could not be found on analysis,” Dr. Dwyer told the court.

Deputy Government Analyst Robert James Cowan said that he was unable to find any traces of poison when he analysed specimens of the stomach contents.

 

Slip of Paper

 

“If any of the poisons which I tested were the cause of death, they would not be absent from the body of they were taken by mouth,” he said.

“I do not think common poison was responsible for death. Off-hand I am not aware of poisons which can cause death but decompose in the body so that they are not discoverable on analysis.

“I think that death is more likely to have been due to natural causes than to poisoning.”

Professor Cleland said that when he examined the clothing of the dead man he found a slip of paper hidden away in a concealed fob pocket, bearing the words “Taman Shud.” His opinion that the man had committed suicide was considerably strengthened by the fact that these words meant, “the end.”

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane said that on January 14 he examined an unclaimed suitcase of clothes, which had been handed in on November 30, at the Adelaide Railway Station luggage office. A number of items, he said, bore the names, “T. Keane,” and “Kean.” Name tabs had been removed from a sports coat and some other articles.

Leane said that a tailor to whom he had taken the coat the dead man was wearing, said it had been made in the United States.

Adjourning the inquest sine die, the Coroner said that he could not ascertain the identity of the man, or how, when or where he had died.

“I would be prepared to find he died from a particular poison and that it was not accidentally administered by himself or some other person,” he declared.

 

New Inquiry

 

Supt. W. O. Sheridan, of the C.I.B., said after the inquest that he had received a letter from a Mrs. P. Bailey of Mildura, saying she believes the body to be that of her husband, who left Mildura last August for Melbourne for eye treatment.

The last information she had of his whereabouts was that her husband had gone to Adelaide in November. Since then she has heard nothing of him.

Det.-Sgt. Leane is now checking.

 

 

Government Pathologist Dwyer, and Professor J. B. Cleland both ascribe death to poison. Coroner T. E. Cleland is baffled.

 

STILL MAN OF MYSTERY Above is a picture of the Somerton man of mystery, who identity and death have defied solution. The Coroner’s probe only served to deepen the mystery. Do you know him?

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/235980793

Smith’s Weekly (Sydney, NSW : 1919 – 1950)  Sat 25 Jun 1949  Page 5

 

Body On Beach Still Baffles S.A. Police

 

After a seven months’ search extending across the world, SA. police admit they are still completely baffled by the mysterious Somerton body case.

ON December 1, last year, the body of a neatly-clad man was found propped up against the seawall of Somerton, popular Adelaide seaside resort.

It was obvious the most elaborate precautions had been taken to hide the man’t identity. All name tabs had been cut off his clothing, every possible identity clue had been eliminated.

An unclaimed suitcase found at Adelaide railway station cloak room was positively linked with victim. It contained clothing and one laundry tab with three numbers on it.

Tab was not recognised by any Australian laundry although it was circulated in all States.

Only last week police began work on another slender clue.

A cryptic note containing the words “Tamam Shud” were also found on his clothing.

Public Library officials have found the words are from the last verse of the English translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

They are Persian words meaning “to end.”

Murder or Suicide?

Police believe the words were cut out of a book.

More than 50 people have viewed the body. The victim has been identified as six different people including a sailor, a two-up ring “nit” keeper, a farmer.

All leads have proved false.

Investigations have extended to Scotland Yard, U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, N.Z., South Africa, and other countries.

Adelaide scientists, doctors, chemists have carried out scores of experiments in an effort to determine cause of death.

They are still uncertain whether death was due to suicide or murder.

No trace of any known poison has been found.

The body was the first embalmed in S.A. police history. Last week a plaster, cast was made of the head and shoulders, the body was given a Christian burial.

S.A. Bookmakers’ League defrayed undertaker’s expenses so that the victim would not be buried as a pauper.

Body was buried in high, dry ground. It has been embalmed by the Egyptian method, popular more than 2000 years ago.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/168961380

Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954)  Sun 10 Jul 1949  Page 14

 

WHO IS THE MYSTERY MAN?

 

Puzzle Of Beach Find

THE Man on the Sand! Who was he and by whose hand did he die? Did he, as some believe, take his own life, or was he the victim of a murder plot as fiendish and coldly calculated as ever Oppenheim devised?

Those questions, it seems, will never be answered. The nation’s best criminological brains have acknowledged themselves baffled and the Man on the Sand lies buried in a South Australian cemetery.

Over his head is a crude wooden cross, bearing the inscription, ‘Unknown Man.’

The curtain on this bizarre drama rose at Somerton, a beach resort a few miles from Adelaide, on December 1 last.

It looked a commonplace setting as the first member of the cast walked from the wings — a bare strip of beach apparently deserted except for a pair of gulls squabbling noisily at the water’s edge.

But, unbeknown to the First Character (whose role, after all, was only a minor one), the central figure of the mystery drama was already on stage. He had been there for some hours, waiting for curtain call and the spotlight that was to throw him into bold relief as one of history’s famous figures.

The First Character, though no seeker after fame, was one of those figures destined to play a part on the world’s stage. A humble local resident, his claim to renown is that he is a member of that hardy fraternity— the early morning swimmers.

As he strolled on to the sand, swinging his towel, the sun was peeking over the horizon, heralding the dawn of another typical South Australian summer’s day.

Suddenly he halted. Slumped against a concrete retaining wall was the body of a man, his sightless eyes staring over the sea into infinity.

Thus did the first act of the Mystery of the Man on the Sand open.

Since the body was discovered, national and international investigations have failed to provide even half a clue to the dead man’s identity.

Many people have viewed the preserved corpse and not a few have ‘positively’ identified it. In all cases the information has been proven false.

Hottest tip, so far as the police were concerned, was that The Man on the Sand was a gambler who had run foul of Melbourne’s baccarat ring and paid the penalty

Like all the rest, this ‘lead’ got detectives nowhere. Phizgigs and ‘stoolies’— ever ready to please — knew him not.

If, as some experts believe, The Man on the Sand took his own life it will go down as one of the most elaborate suicides on record.

All name tags had been cut from the clothing and there were no letters or papers which could have helped toward identification. All that police found on the body were an unused train ticket, a bus ticket and the trousers label of a Victorian firm.

In a concealed fob pocket was a slip of paper bearing the words, ‘Taman Shud,’ a Persian phrase meaning ‘The End.’

According to some experts, including Professor J. B. Cleland. of Adelaide University, this is an indication that a tortured mind sent the mysterious unknown to Somerton with the deliberate intention of ending his life.

He had, they reason, reached ‘The End’ and, like Omar Khayyam, who used ‘Taman Shud’ to complete his Rubaiyat, believed that ‘the rose that once has bloomed forever dies.’

Others, however, incline to the opinion that ‘Taman Shud’ was the signature of a learned and crafty murderer, and that it has deep significance in certain quarters.

Cause of death has not been determined. All known tests for poison have proved abortive, and there were no signs of violence.

Supporters of the suicide theory say that the unknown could have taken an overdose of one of the barbitone drugs, which leave no trace. Those who favor the murder angle hint at a new mystery poison.

A few days ago The Man on the Sand was buried, but detectives, still hopeful of a solution, are prepared for sudden developments. They say that the amount of preserving fluid used in the past seven months will keep the corpse recognisable for a long time.

In addition, they have taken plaster casts and had the body interred in a dry portion of the cemetery.

They are hopeful that, like the famous Pyjama Girl case, the Mystery of the Man on the Sand will some day be a puzzle no longer.

Others, however, say that ‘Taman Shud’ really means the end of the case, and that the unknown will rest forever in his tiny, wind-swept plot.

Time alone will provide the answer.

 

 

ABOVE: Deserted beach at Somerton, near Adelaide, Cross marks spot where body of the mystery man was found. LOWER RIGHT: Mr. X — the man on the sand. Nobody knows who he was.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/189461559

The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 – 1954)  Wed 20 Jul 1949  Page 3

 

TORN PAGE

 

Detectives went to the Public Library yesterday in search of a clue to the identity of a man whose body was found some weeks ago on a beach near Adelaide.

The detectives searched copies of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam for a torn page — but in vain.

The search for a torn page in a library copy of the Rubaiyat is going on in libraries throughout Australia, because a fragment of the poem was found in one of the dead man’s pockets.

Police believe it may have been torn from a library volume. If they can find the volume they will have found the city or town in which the man lived before going to Adelaide, and they will have taken a long step towards establishing his identity.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/248978027

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954)  Thu 21 Jul 1949  Page 11

 

Torn book may be clue to dead man

MELBOURNE, Wed. — Victorian and South Australian police are searching for a book with a torn page which they believe will help to solve the Somerton body mystery.

The body, a man’s, was found on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, late last year.

Detectives found a torn page of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the man’s pocket.

The identity of the dead man has baffled the police.

Post-mortem examinations have failed to show cause of his death.

A Victorian police spokesman said today: “The torn page of Omar Khayyam may have been taken from a public library volume.

“If we can find the volume we can trace the man to a city or town before he went to Adelaide.

“With this we can probably trace the man’s identity.”

The spokesman added that a search of the Melbourne Public Library and libraries in Victorian provincial towns had failed to discover the torn volume.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/248976800

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954)  Fri 22 Jul 1949  Page 6

 

Clue at long odds

 

Sydney librarians said yesterday that police would bring off a million-to-one chance if they solved the Somerton body mystery from the clue of a page torn from a book.

Detectives found a torn page of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the pocket of a man whose body was found on Somerton Beach. Adelaide, last year.

So far the man has not been identified.

South Australian police have launched an Australia-wide search for the torn book, which they believe may be in a public library.

If they trace the volume police believe they can start a chain which would eventually give them the man’s identity.

In the Sydney telephone directory more than 300 public and private libraries are listed.

Nearly every country town has one or more libraries. Other libraries travel through country districts.

Most school libraries carry a copy, or copies, of the Rubaiyat.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22766300

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Friday 22 July 1949 Page 1 of 20

 

TORN BOOK MAY BE CLUE TO SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY

 

VICTORIAN and South Australian police are searching for a book with a torn page which they believe will solve the Somerton body mystery.

Detectives found a torn page of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in the pocket of a man whose body was found on Somerton Beach, Adelaide, last year. The identity of the man has baffled police, and post-mortem examinations have failed to show the cause of death.

Victorian police believe the torn book may be in a public library. They think that if they find it they can trace the man to the city or town he was in before he went to Adelaide. With this information they hope to establish identity.

So far a search of Melbourne’s public libraries and libraries in Victorian provincial towns has failed to reveal the torn volume. Sydney detectives said yesterday they were not yet searching for it.

Sydney librarians said yesterday that police would bring off a million to one chance if they solved the mystery through the book clue.

Some librarians said they had “unofficially” checked copies still on their shelves, but had found none with a torn out page.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130264202

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 22 July 1949 Page 1 of 20

 

Remote book clue in mystery death

 

Although police realise they are acting on a million to one chance, a search for a book with a torn page which may throw some light on the Somerton body mystery is continuing throughout Australia.

A torn page of Fitzgerald’s translation of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” was found in the the pocket of the victim.

Det.-Sgt. Leane and Det. Brown believe the torn book may still be on the shelves of a library. They think that if they find it, they can trace the man to the city or town he was in before he came to Adelaide. With this information it may be possible to establish his identity.

Melbourne police have made a search of public libraries and libraries in Victorian provincial towns, but have failed to find the torn volume.

Although a number of city and suburban libraries have been checked here, others in country districts have not yet been investigated.

The cause of death with probably never be known.

A plaster cast of the victim’s head and shoulders, which was exhibited at the inquest, is now in a store room at Adelaide Museum. No request for it to be displayed has yet been made by the authorities.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/78632681

Border Watch (Mount Gambier, SA : 1861 – 1954) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 1 of 12

 

SEARCH FOR A BOOK WITH A TORN PAGE

 

Fitzgerald’s translation of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’, which police believe will help to solve the Somerton body mystery, if they can find a copy with a torn page, is not in the Mount Gambier Institute Library.

Detectives found a torn page of the translation in the pocket of the man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton, Adelaide, last year. His identity has baffled the police, and a post mortem examination failed to reveal the cause of death.

Police believe that the torn book may be in a public library and they think that if they can find it they can trace the man to the city or town he was in before he went to Adelaide.

A search of Melbourne and Victorian provincial libraries proved fruitless.

Mount Gambier police made inquiries yesterday.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36677396

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 1 of 18

 

Possible Clue In Somerton Body Case

 

A bus conductor informed police last night that he believed he knew the whereabouts of a book, which, if it were the correct one, might provide a very important clue in the Somerton body mystery.

Detective – Sergeant R. L. Leane has been trying for several months to trace a copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” from which the dead man is believed to have cut a piece of paper bearing the words “Taman Shud” (meaning “The End”) and placed it in the pocket of his trousers.

Last night Mr. L. P. Wytkins, bus conductor, of Partridge street, Glenelg, told police that several months ago he found a book answering the description of the one required by the police. He handed it in to the lost property office at the Tramways Trust.

Mr. Wytkins said he was not sure when he found the book, but he believed it to be about the time the man’s body was found on the beach at Somerton.

Although it is nearly eight months since the body was found, enquiries throughout the world have so far been unable to establish the man’s identity. An inquest recently failed to reveal the cause of death.

Detective-Sergeant Leane believes that if he can find the book from which the clipping was taken, he might be able to trace from where the book came and possibly the person who owned it.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/243675707

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/243675694

The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954)  Sat 23 Jul 1949  Page 1

 

Detectives Bring Off One-ln-Million Chance

 

Rubaiyat Clue May Solve Mystery Death

Adelaide police have brought off a one-in-a-million chance of solving the mystery of the Body on the Beach.

A motorist last night brought them a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” from which the last two words had been torn.

For nearly eight months, they have been trying to identify a man’s body found on the Somerton beach, with only a scrap of paper bearing two words, as a clue.

Recently they announced that they were searching public libraries for a torn copy of the “Rubaiyat.”

‘TAMAM SHUD’ HINT

To follow the story it is necessary to go back to December 1 of last year, when a man’s body was found on the beach at Somerton, near Glenelg, Adelaide’s biggest seaside suburb.

The body was in a sitting posture. Cause of death was a mystery. There were no marks of violence. The body had not been In the sea.

Whose body was it? No one Identified it, even though .the body was kept embalmed for months and thousands of people examined it, or the photographs that were circulated throughout the world. Last month the body was buried

Clues were bafflingly few. Every identifying mark had been cut off the clothing. In the pockets were

A train ticket.

A bus ticket.

A piece of neatly trimmed paper, bearing two printed words, “TAMAM SHUD.”

Scrap Of Paper Was One Hope

The tickets gave no leads. The detectives pinned their faith on the other scrap of paper. They reckoned it a safe bet that the words “Tamam shud” were those used by a Persian philosopher poet 800 years ago.

For when Omar Khayyam penned the last line of his Rubaiyat poems he wrote:

And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass

Among the Guests Star-scattered on the Grass.

And in Thy Joyous errand reach the spot

Where I made One — turn down an empty Glass

TAMAM SHUD

Search Vain And Then

So the one faint chance the detectives had was to find a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with the last page missing.

They began their search by circulating public libraries throughout Australia — on the ground that the body was that of a poor man who would be unlikely to own such a book.

Nothing came of this line of inquiry, but a newspaper paragraph was published giving the story.

Last night an Adelaide business man recalled that some time in November last year, he found a book thrown on the back seat of his car while it was parked in Jetty Road, Glenelg.

Today he handed detectives the book. On the last page the words “Tamam Shud” had been torn out.

Phone Numbers In Book

On the back of the book are several telephone numbers and. a series of capital .letters written in pencil. The meaning of this has not yet been deciphered.

To make certain that the piece of paper in the dead man’s packet came from the book now found, the paper Itself will be scientifically tested next week.

“Tamam Shud” means “The End.”

 

Who Is He?

 

Death mask of body of man found on the beach.

 

On the book the motorist handed in the last two words had been torn out.

Because the top of the scrap of paper had been cut clean, it did not fit into the torn part of the page. But the bottom of it corresponded with the printer’s trimming at the foot of the page, and police are satisfied that the piece was torn from the book.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/76183104

Mirror (Perth, WA : 1921 – 1956) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 4 of 23

 

MISSING RUBAIYAT TURNS UP IN S.A.

 

Adelaide, Today: Copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam with a torn page, which has been sought by police throughout Australia in the hope that it migth provide some clue to the identity of the mystery Somerton body, has been found in Adelaide.

Last night an Adelaide businessman recalled that in November he had found a copy of the book which had been thrown on the back seat of his car while it was parked in Glenelg.

Book, the last page of which is torn, has been handed to police. If scientific tests to be conducted early next week show the scrap of paper found on the dead man’s clothing to have been taken from the book, police will have brought off a million-to-one chance.

On Dec. 1, when the body of the mystery man was found on the beach, police discovered that all name tags had been cut from the clothing. All he had in his pockets was a train ticket, a bus ticket and a neatly trimmed piece of paper with printed words: ‘Taman Shud.’

These are the words with which Omar Khayyam closed his Rubaiyat. They mean ‘The End,’ or ‘The Finish.’

Somerton body, after being embalmed for 6 months, was recently burled in Adelaide. A small cross bears the simple inscription: ‘Unknown man found on Somerton Beach.’

Perth detectives conducted an exhaustive search of libraries here but failed to find the missing copy of the Rubaiyat.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/56059849

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 2 of 54

 

Torn book gives new hope in body case

 

Fresh hope that the Somerton body mystery may be solved come today with the finding of a copy of the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’ with the last page torn.

POLICE have been searching for such a book through out Australia in the hope it might provide the missing clue to the body’s identity.

Last night an Adelaide businessman read of the search in ‘The News’ and recalled that in November he had found a copy of the book which had been thrown on the back seat of his car while it was parked in Jetty road, Glenelg.

The book, the last page of which is torn, has been handed to police.

If scientific tests, to be conducted next week, show the scrap of paper found on the dead man’s clothing had been taken from the book, police will have brought off a million to one chance.

 

Paper on body

 

On December 1, when the body of the mystery man was found on Somerton beach, police discovered the name tags had been cut from the clothing and all he had in his pockets was a train ticket, a bus ticket, and a neatly trimmed piece of paper with the printed words ‘Tamam Shud.’

Investigators found these words had been used by Omar Khayyam at the end of his verses and meant ‘the end’ or ‘the finish.’

A study of the printing indicated the words might have been torn from a copy of Fitzgerald’s translation of Omar Khayyam.

In the belief if the book could be found it might show the movements of the man before his death, police through out Australia have been looking for it.

The finder of the book today handed it to Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane. On the last page the words ‘Tamam Shud’ had been torn out.

On the back of the book are several telephone numbers and a series of capital letters, written in pencil, the meaning of which have not yet been deciphered.

As the scrap of paper found on the dead man had been trimmed, police were unable to identify the book merely by fitting it into the torn page.

Proof will now rest with tests on the paper and the print.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48610725

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 3 of 8

 

SOMERTON MYSTERY

 

Adelaide.-Although police realise they are acting on a million to one chance, the search for a book with a torn page, which may throw some light on the Somerton Beach mystery, is continuing throughout Australia.

The torn page of Fitzgerald’s translation of the “Rubaiyat” of Omar Khayyam was found in the pocket of the victim.

Detectives Leane and Brown believe the torn book may still be on the shelves of a library. They think that if they could find it they could trace the man to the city or town he was in before coming to Adelaide and possibly learn his identity. A search of Victorian libraries failed to find a suitably torn volume and country libraries of South Australia still have to be checked. It is doubtful whether the cause of death will ever be determined.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130266390

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 23 July 1949 Page 1 of 12

 

BOOK FOUND: BODY CLUE?

 

A copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” with a torn page which has been sought by the police throughout Australia in the hope that it might provide the missing clue to the identity of the mystery Somerton body, has been found in Adelaide.

Last night an Adelaide businessman read of the search in “The News” and recalled that in November he had found a copy of the book which had been thrown on the back seat of his car while it was parked in Jetty road, Glenelg.

The book, the last page of which is torn, has been handed to police.

If scientific tests, to be conducted next week, show the scrap of paper found on the dead man’s clothing had been taken fro the book, police will have brought off a million-to-one chance.

On December 1, when the body of the mystery man was found on Somerton beach, police discovered that the name tags had been cut from the clothing and all he had in his pockets was a train ticket, a bus ticket, and a neatly trimmed piece of paper with the printed words “Taman Shud.”

Investigators found that these words had been used by Omar Khayyam at the end of his verses and meant “the end” or “the finish.”

A study of printing indicated that the words might have been torn from a copy of Fitzgerald’s translation of Omar Khayyan.

In the belief that if the book could be found it might show the movements of the man before his death, police throughout Australia have been looking for it.

The finder of the book today handed it to Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane. On the last page the words “Taman Shud” had been torn out.

On the back of the book are several telephone numbers and a series of capital letters, written in pencil, the meaning of which have not yet been deciphered.

As the scrap of paper found on the dead man had been trimmed, police were unable to identify the book merely by fitting it into the torn page.

Proof will now rest with tests on the paper and the print.

 

 

TODAY’S PICTURE of the book “Omar Khayyam” (top) found last November in the back seat of a car which had been left in Jetty road, Glenelg. The last line in the book has been torn out. BELOW—The fragment of paper found in the clothing of the Somerton victim which may have been torn from the book.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/212201817

Brisbane Telegraph (Qld. : 1948 – 1954)  Sat 23 Jul 1949  Page 15

 

Torn Book May Solve Mystery

 

ADELAIDE: A search is being made throughout Australia for a book with a torn page in the hope that it may throw some light on the mystery of the Somerton Beach body.

On December 1 last year the body of a man was found propped up against the sea wall at Somerton and police have since been unable to identify the man or establish the cause of death.

It is a million to one chance that the present quest will bring results, but police are following it up

A torn page of Fitzgerald translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was found in the pockets of the Somerton body.

Adelaide detectives believe the torn book may still.be on the shelves of some library.

If they can find it, they may be able to trace the man to the city or town he was in before he came to Adelaide.

This might prove to be an important clue to identity.

A hunt of town and country libraries is now going on.

A plaster cast of the victims head and shoulders is being stored in the museum in the event of its being useful in helping to establish his identity. The body was buried some weeks ago.

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/168963714

Truth (Sydney, NSW : 1894 – 1954)  Sun 24 Jul 1949  Page 2

 

TORN BOOK DEATH CLUE

ADELAIDE, Saturday.— Renewed, hopes that the Somerton body mystery may be solved came today with the finding of a copy of the ‘Rubaiyat’ by Omar Khayyam, in which the last page was torn.

Police had been searching throughout Australia for such a book |n the. hope that it might provide a clue to the identification of the dead man (‘Mr. X’) whose body was found on the beach at Somerton last December.

An Adelaide businessman has told police that in November he found a copy of the book which was thrown Into his car while it was parked at Glenelg.

On the last page the words “Taman Shud” have been torn out. (“Taman Shud” means “the end.”) On the back of the book are several telephone numbers and a series of pencilled capital letters.

Scientific tests will be conducted to see whether a scrap of paper found in the dead man’s clothing came from the book. On the paper were the words “Taman Shud.”

 

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/248975990

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, NSW : 1931 – 1954)  Sun 24 Jul 1949  Page 38

 

“Taman Shud” (the end) may solve mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Sat.- A book which may lead police to the solution of the Somerton body mystery has been found.

The book is a copy of Fitzgerald’s “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

Part of a page had been torn from this book, and the page coincides in some ways with a piece of paper found on the Somerton body.

On the page are printed the Persian words, “Taman Shud,” which mean “the end.”

Most editions of the Rubaiyat conclude with these words.

Last night an Adelaide business man read about the police search for a copy of the Rubaiyat with this page missing.

He recalled that last November a copy of the book had been put on the back seat of his car by an unknown person.

This book had the page containing the missing words torn from it.

Scientific tests will be made to see whether the torn paper found on the body comes from this book.

The Somerton body- that of a middle-aged man— was found on Somerton beach, near Adelaide, on December 1, 1948, and has not been identified.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/28668248

The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 – 1953) Sunday 24 July 1949 Page 1 of 54

 

PERSIAN WORD CLUE IN DEATH

 

ADELAIDE, Saturday. Scientific comparison of two Persian words on a tiny scrap of paper with a page torn from a book might give police a clue to the identity of a dead man found on a beach near here eight months ago.

The body-that of an unknown, middle-aged man-was found last December on Somerton Beach. He has never been identified.

About a week before that, a book-handed to the police today-was thrown into the back seat of a car parked near Somerton.

 

TWO WORDS

 

It was a copy of Fitzgerald’s English translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. And torn from the page containing the last stanza were the Persian words, “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End.”

In a pocket of the mystery dead man’s clothing was a neatly trimmed scrap of paper, on which were the printed words “Tamam Shud.”

If the texture of the paper and the print are similar to those in the book, the police might find a valuable clue to the dead man’s identity.

They will investigate several telephone numbers and some apparently meaningless capital letters also found in his pockets.

The man is believed to have committed suicide by using some rare drug-such as curare-not yet identified.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36677719

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 25 July 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

New Clue In Somerton Body Mystery

 

A new lead to the identity of the Somerton body may have been discovered on Saturday when Det.Sgt. R. L. Leane received from a city business man a torn copy of Fitzgerald’s translation of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam said to have been found in his car at Glenelg about last November, a week or two before the body was found.

The last few lines of the poem, including the words “Tamam shud” (meaning “the end”) have been torn out of the book.

When the body was searched some time ago a scrap of paper bearing the words “Tamam shud” was found in a pocket.

Scrawled in pencilled block letters on the back of the cover of the book are groups of letters which appear to be foreign words and some numbers.

These, it is hoped, may be of assistance in tracing the dead man’s identity.

The business man told Det.Sgt. Leane that he found the copy of the Rubaiyat in the rear of his car while it was parked in Jetty road Glenelg, about the time of the RAAF air pageant in November.

He said he had known nothing about the much-publicised words “Tamam shud” until he saw a reference to them on Friday.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/52688055

Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Monday 25 July 1949 Page 6 of 15

 

Omar May Help Solve Mystery

 

ADELAIDE.-The identity of the. man whose body was found on the beach at Somerton, near Glenelg, on December 1 may be established through a page torn from Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat.

FOR eight months Adelaide police have been unable to have the body identified. The only clues they had to work on were a train ticket, a bus ticket, and a piece of trimmed paper bearing the printed words “Taman Shud.”‘

The Rubaiyat ends with those words, which means “the end,” and the police decided to conduct an Australia-wide check of public libraries in the hope they might find a book with the last page missing.

After their intentions were published in a newspaper, an Adelaide business man recalled that during November last year he found a book lying on the back seat of his car which was parked in Jetty Rd, Glenelg.

Yesterday he handed the book to the police, and the last page with the words “Taman Shud” was missing. On the back of the book there were several telephone numbers and some pencilled capital letters.

Police will now endeavour to decipher these letters, and scientific tests will be made to discover whether the torn sheet had been removed from the book found in the car.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26643570

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Monday 25 July 1949 Page 9 of 20

 

TORN PAGE OF “RUBAIYAT” MAY BE “TAMAN SHUD” IN POLICE HUNT.

 

ADELAIDE Sun.-The identity of a man who se body was found on the beach at Somerton, near Glenelg (S.A), on December 1, may be established through a page torn from Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat.”

FOR eight months Adelaide police have been unable to have the body identified.

The only clues they had to work on were a train ticket, a bus ticket, and a piece of trimmed paper bearing the printed words “Taman Shud.”

The “Rubaiyat” ends with those words, which mean “The End,” and police decided to conduct an Australia-wide check of public libraries in the hope that they might find a book with the last page missing.

After their intentions were published in a newspaper, an Adelaide businessman recalled that during November last year he found a book lying on the back seat of his car, which was parked in Jetty Rd., Glenelg.

Yesterday he handed the book to the police.

The last page with the words “Taman Shud” was missing.

On the back of the book there were several telephone numbers and some pencilled capital letters.

Police will now endeavour to decipher these letters, and scientific tests will be made to discover whether the torn sheet was removed from the book found in the car.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130268634

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 25 July 1949 Page 16 of 16

 

POLICE TEST PAPER, BOOK

 

Microscopic examination of the slip of paper found in the clothing of the Somerton body, and of the book from which he slip is believed to have been torn, is being made by police today.

If experts are able to say that the texture and color are the same, detectives will then try to decipher the block letters pencilled on the back of the book—a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat”.

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane is in charge of inquiries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36677872

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 26 July 1949 Page 3 of 12

 

Police Test Book For Somerton Body Clue

 

Microscopic tests of a slip of paper found in the clothing of the unknown man known as the “Somerton body,” and the book from which the slip is believed to have been taken, yesterday established that the slip could have come from the book—a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat.’”

The paper in the book and that of the slip were found to be similar. Detectives handling the case will now concentrate on tracing another edition of the book to compare the words “Tainan Shud” (meaning “The End”) with those on the slip found in the possession of the dead man

Yesterday the police interviewed two suburban telephone subscribers whose numbers corresponded with those on the back of the book, but they knew nothing of the matter.

Headquarters police are still making enquiries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130270026

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Tuesday 26 July 1949 Page 1 of 16

 

BODY MYSTERY DEEPENS

 

Phone number found on cover of book

 

The Somerton body mystery deepened today with the discovery of an Adelaide woman’s telephone number on the cover of a book linked with the case.

A fragment found in the victim’s clothing, is believed to have come from the book—”The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

Police have discovered also that the woman gave a similar copy of the book to an Army lieutenant in Sydney about three and a half years ago, and that the lieutenant later tried to contact her in Melbourne, when she wrote back saying she was now married.

Police have also discovered that the Somerton body was found within a quarter of a mile of the woman’s home.

Today, police in Melbourne and Sydney are checking on missing people to see if the Army lieutenant is among them.

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane yesterday obtained the opinion of an authority that the piece of paper bearing the words “Tamam Shud” was of the same texture and color as that of the book handed to police on Saturday.

The book had been thrown into the back seat of a motor car in Jetty road, Glenelg, shortly before the victim’s body was found on the beach at Somerton on December 1.

 

Woman’s story

 

All efforts yesterday to obtain a similar copy of the book from city book shops failed. If police could obtain a similar copy, they would be able to check on the print used in the words “Tamam Shud.”

The woman whose telephone number appears in the book told police that when she was nursing at North Shore Hospital in Sydney about three and a half years ago, she gave a similar copy to a lieutenant who served in the Water Transport section of the Army.

Later, she said the lieutenant wrote to her mother’s home in Melbourne. She replied to this letter, telling him she was married.

Subsequently, the woman told police, she and her husband settled in Adelaide. Last year a man called at the house of a neighbour, inquiring for a nurse he once knew.

This afternoon the woman is being shown the plaster cast of the Somerton victim, which is now in a storeroom at Adelaide museum.

Acting on the possibility that the “Rubaiyat” in their possession did belong to the lieutenant, police set out to decipher a number of block letters pencilled on the back of the book.

Although the lettering was faint, police managed to read it by using ultra-violet light.

In the belief that the lettering might be a code, a copy has been sent to decoding experts at Army Headquarters, Melbourne.

 

Police are looking for anyone who has an exact copy of the book “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” It was published in New Zealand by Whitcombe and Toombs.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26648686

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Wednesday 27 July 1949 Page 4 of 24

 

“OMAR” CLUE BIG LEAD IN S.A. MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, Tues. – The copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat” handed to the police on Friday has given a definite lead to the identity of a man found dead on a beach near Glenelg on December 1.

ONE of the few clues on the body was a piece of trimmed paper bearing the printed words “Taman Shud”-the last words of the “Rubaiyat.” They mean “The End.”

A long hunt ended when a business man gave the police a book he found in a car. It was a copy of the “Rubaiyat”-with the last words missing.

A telephone number written in the back of the book proved to be that of an Adelaide woman, who says-she gave a copy of the “Rubaiyat” to an army lieutenant in Sydney about three and a half years ago.

The officer later tried to communicate with her. She told him she was married.

Then the body of the unidentified man was found within a quarter of a mile of her home. Melbourne and Sydney police are checking lists of missing people to see if the officer is among them.

They are satisfied the slip of paper in the dead man’s pocket is of the same texture as the paper in the book handed to them.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36678021

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 27 July 1949 Page 1 of 14

 

Army Officer Sought To Help Solve Somerton Body Case

 

Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery yesterday interviewed a woman who had given an Australian Army lieutenant a copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” which she believed could be identical with the book found in a motor car at Glenelg last year.

The book handed to the police was found in the back seat of an Adelaide businessman’s car in Jetty road. Glenelg shortly before the body was discovered at Somerton on December 1.

The words ‘Taman Shud” had been torn from the last page of the book. Similar wording was printed on a piece of paper found in the clothing of the dead man.

Tests made yesterday revealed that the piece of paper found on the body was of the same texture and color as the torn page in the back of the book.

Yesterday’s discovery caused local police to enlist the aid of Sydney and Melbourne CIBs in an effort to trace the man mentioned by the woman.

The police have also for warded to Army Headquarters, Melbourne, a copy of a series of letters printed in pencil on the back of the book. They believe that it is possible that the letters may be some coded message.

Police located the woman from a telephone number, also written in pencil on the back the book.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told police that when she was nursing at the North Shore Hospital, Sydney about 3½years ago, she gave a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to an Australian Army lieutenant who was serving in the water transport section.

The woman said that she subsequently went to live in Melbourne, where she was after wards married. After her marraige she received a letter from the man. She replied telling him that she was now married.

Some time last year, she could not remember the month, she was told that a man had come to some flats next door to her home and enquired for a nurse. She did not know, however, whether this was the same man.

It was after this incident that the body was found on the beach at Somerton, not far from the woman’s home.

After seeing a plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the dead man. the woman said that she could not say whether the dead man was the lieutenant she had known.

It was pointed out yesterday that the features of the dead man had altered materially before the cast was made.

An amazing coincidence was revealed yesterday when another Adelaide business man called at police headquarters with a copy of the “Rubaiyat” which he had found in his motor car at Glenelg about the time the body was found. This book was a different edition.

Between 4 p.m and 11 p.m. yesterday police headquarters received 49 telephone calls from people stating that they possessed copies of the “Rubaiyat.”

In many instances the copies were not identical with that of the book linked with the case. Four or five were of the same publication.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/22767533

 

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1956) Wednesday 27 July 1949 Page 3 of 28

 

BOOK GIFT MAY GIVE CLUE TO BEACH MYSTERY

 

ADELAIDE, Tues: Detectives investigating the Somerton body mystery today interviewed a woman who had given an Australian Army lieutenant a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam,” which, she believed, could be identical with the book found in a motorcar at Glenelg last year.

The words “Tamun Shud” had been tom from the last page of the book. The same words were printed on a piece of paper found on the dead man’s clothing.

Tests today showed that the paper found on the body was of the same texture and colour as that torn from the book.

Police located the woman from a telephone number also written in pencil on the back of the book.

The woman told the police, that while she was nursing at North Shore Hospital, Sydney, about 3½ years ago she gave a copy of the Rubaiyat to an Australian Army lieutenant. She subsequently went to live in Melbourne, where she was afterwards married.

Last year she was told that a man had come to some flats next to her home and inquired for a nurse. She did not know, however, whether this was the same man. It was after this incident that the body was found on Somerton beach.

She could not tell from a plaster cast of the head and shoulders of the dead man whether he was the lieutenant she had known.

Police are anxious to locate another copy similar to the one they have, to check the particular type used to print the words “Tasmun Shud.”

The edition required was published in New Zealand by Whitcombe and Tombs.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/69340590

Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 – 1954) Wednesday 27 July 1949 Page 2 of 16

 

Unravelling Beach Mystery

 

ADELAIDE, Tuesday.-The police to-day made new discoveries in Adelaide’s body-on-the-beach mystery.

When the body of a man was found eight months ago, a piece of paper bearing the words “Amam Shud” was discovered in a pocket. On Friday night, a copy of the “Rubaiyat” of Omar Khayyam was located, from which the words “Amam Shud” had been torn.

Following up this clue, the police have now discovered that one of the telephone numbers in the back of the book, which was found in a car seat, is that of an Adelaide woman. They say she gave a copy of the book to an Army lieutenant in Sydney about three and a half years ago. He later endeavored to contact her, when she wrote and informed him that she was married.

Then the body of an unidentified man was found within a quarter of a mile of her home. Melbourne and Sydney police are now checking on missing people to see if the Army officer is among them.

According to the woman, she gave a similar copy of the book to an officer while she was nursing at a northern Sydney hospital.

The police are satisfied that the paper is of the same texture as that of the book.

 

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

The News (Adelaide) Wednesday 27 July 1949

 

Belief book is right one

 

Police today obtained further evidence to substantiate the belief that they hold the actual book from which the mystery Somerton victim tore the last words “Tamam Shud” —meaning “The End.”

Following an appeal in “The News” yesterday for a similar copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” to that found in the back of a car at Glenelg last November, several people came forward with the book.

A comparison of the type used in the printed words “Tamam Shud” was found to be identical with those on the back of the paper found in the victim’s clothing.

Yesterday police traced a telephone number pencilled on the cover to an Adelaide woman who had given a similar copy of the book to an Army lieutenant in Sydney 3½ years ago. The man was last heard of in Melbourne, and eastern States police are still trying to locate the man.

If the Army lieutenant is missing, he might be the Somerton “mystery man.” If he is alive, police will then try to learn what he did with the copy of the book.

Efforts to decipher several rows of block letters, believed to be a code, on the back of the book are continuing.

A Navy “code cracker” is tackling the task this afternoon.

Indication of the public interest in the mystery was shown last night and again today, by 60 phone callers, who have offered copies of the book. Most of them were different editions from the one required.

Det.-Sgt. Leane today renewed an appeal to dry-cleaning experts throughout Australia to make a search of their records for the follow entries: —

117/7; 4393/3/ 3053/1.

The numbers were found in clothing in an unclaimed suitcase at the Adelaide Railway Station luggage office, and may be linked with the victim.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130269495

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Wednesday 27 July 1949 Page 1 of 20

 

SOMERTON BODY MYSTERY

Police find ex-officer

 

A former army lieutenant, sought in connection with the book clue in the Somerton body mystery, was located by Sydney police, in a Sydney suburb today.

Three and half years ago, an Adelaide woman gave the lieutenant a copy of the “‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” similar to the one from which the Somerton victim tore the last words, “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End.”

It is not yet known what has become of the book he was given.

Police today obtained further evidence to substantiate the belief that they hold the actual book from which the words were torn.

Following an appeal in “The News” yesterday for a similar copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” to that found in the back of a car at Gleneig last November, several people came forward with the book.

A comparison of the type used in the printed words “Tamam Shud” was found to be identical with those on the back of the paper found in the victim’s clothing.

Yesterday police traced a telephone number pencilled on the cover to the Adelaide woman who gave a similar copy of the book to the Army lieutenant.

Efforts to decipher several rows of block letters, believed to be a code, on the back of the book are continuing.

A Navy “code cracker”, is tackling the task this afternoon.

Indication of the public interest in the mystery was shown last night and again today, by 60 phone callers, who have offered copies of the book. Most of them were different editions from the one required.

Det.-Sgt. Leane today renewed an appeal to dry-cleaning experts throughout Australia to make a search of their records for the following entries:

1171/7; 4393/3/ 3053/1.

The numbers were found in clothing in an unclaimed suitcase at the, Adelaide Railway Station luggage office, and may be linked with the victim.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130269554

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) 27 July 1949 Page 5 of 20

 

PASSING BY, By Mr. Pym

 

GRAVEDIGGERS at West Terrace Cemetery say there have been flowers regularly on the grave of the Somerton beach mystery man since he was buried on June 14. They don’t know who brings the flowers. They haven’t seen anybody putting them on the grave; just see the flowers in the morning.

 

Police Work

 

Since the unidentified body was found on Somerton beach on December 1, three detectives have dealt with nearly 400 reports on the mystery, and with 1,800 inquiries. Det.-Sgt. Leane has been on the case for eight months, often working 10 hours a day.

In efforts to idenitify the man, photographs and fingerprints were sent to the police in every English speaking country. This brought 40 or 50 reports; but none took the detectives much further.

Photographs of the faint laundry marks on the dead man’s clothes were sent to laundries all over Australia, bringing more reports. Threads found in an old suitcase at the railways were scientifically tested to see if they matched the brown thread used to mend the dead man’s clothes. (They did match; but it was very common thread).

Now there have been more tests-of the piece of paper torn from a copy of “Omar Khayyam” found on the body, and the paper in the book found in a car at Glenelg.

The investigations haven’t been especially costly, the CIB chief (Superintendent Sheridan) told me.

“We’re very grateful to the public for its help,” he said.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47739036

The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 5 of 29

 

A MYSTERY STILL

 

Somerton Beach Case Clue Disappoints

 

SYDNEY, July 27: The latest clue in the “tamam shud” mystery at Somerton Beach (S.A.) broke down in Sydney today. Sydney detectives, at the request of Adelaide police, traced and interviewed a former army lieutenant whose body, it had been believed, may have been that of the man found on Somerton Beach last December.

Information given by a former army nurse, now married and living in Adelaide, led the police to believe that the unidentified body may have been that of the lieutenant, who was formerly attached to the A.I.F. water transport unit.

The ex-nurse told the police that about three years ago she had given the man, Lieut. Alfred Boxall, a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat” when he was in hospital. She thought that the book might have been identical with one found in a car at Glenelg (S.A.).

After inquiries in the city and suburbs today, detectives traced Boxall to his home in Maroubra, a Sydney beach suburb. He was not there when the police called and they then went to Randwick bus depot, where he is employed on the maintenance staff. Boxall told the police that he had been employed at the bus depot for ten years, except during the period of his army service.

“I am very much alive,” Boxall said tonight. He showed the police the copy of Omar Khayyam’s work which had been given to him by the army nurse. Boxall said that he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945, and it had been in her possession ever since.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36678225

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 1 of 14

 

EX-OFFICER FOUND—AND HIS “RUBAIYAT”

 

SYDNEY, July 27.

The latest clue in the “Tamam Shud” mystery at Somerton beach (SA) broke down in Sydney today.

Sydney detectives, at the request of Adelaide police, interviewed a former army lieutenant whose body it was believed might have been that of the man found on Somerton beach last December.

The clue was given by a former army nurse, now married and living in Adelaide, who told police that about three years ago she had given the man, Lieut. Alfred Boxall, a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat” when he was in hospital

She thought the book might have been identical with one found in a car at Glenelg.

After enquiries in the city and suburbs today detectives traced Boxall to Randwick bus depot, where he is employed on the maintenance staff.

Boxall told the police he had been employed at the bus depot for 10 years except during his army service.

The copy of the “Rubaiyat” given to him by the nurse was later shown to the police.

Boxall said he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945. and it had been in her possession ever since.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/2815851

The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 4 of 6

 

NO SYDNEY CLUE TO DEAD MAN FOUND AT SOMERTON, S.A.

 

SYDNEY, Wednesday.

A clue, suggesting that the body, of a man, found on Somerton Beach, South Australia, last December, may have been an ex army lieutenant from Maroubra, was exploded to-day when detectives interviewed the man at Randwick.

Adelaide police supplied the C.I.B. with the name and address of a Maroubra man, following the discovery of a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” in a car at Glenelg.

In the dead man’s pocket a slip of paper, bearing the words in Persian “Taman Shud” (the end), was found and it was thought it had been torn from a copy of Omar Khayyam’s work,

Later, a woman, whose phone number was found in the book, told the police she had given a copy of the Rubaiyat to an army lieutenant in Sydney, more than three years ago, when she was a nurse.

Detectives, who interviewed the man at Randwick this afternoon, are satisfied the book has no connection with the dead man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/26644140

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 2 of 24

 

Identity Theory Proves False

 

SYDNEY, Wed.—A clue suggesting that the body of a man found on Somerton Beach, South Australia, last December may have been an ex-army lieutenant from Maroubra was exploded today when detectives interviewed the man at Randwick.

Adelaide police supplied the C.I.B. with the name and address of a Maroubra man, following the discovery of a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” in a car at Glenelg.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130265582

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/newspapers1949.pdf

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 6 of 24

 

Mystery may be unsolved

 

The Somerton body case is becoming more involved than ever.

A high police official said today that if the body were not identified soon, the mystery would probably remain unsolved.

Three and a half years ago an Adelaide woman gave a former Army lieutenant a copy of the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” similar to the one from which the Somerton victime tore the last words “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End.”

Sydney detectives yesterday interviewed the lieutenant, Alfred Boxall, at his employment at Randwick bus depot.

The copy of the “Rubaiyat” given to him by the Adelaide woman was shown to the police. Boxall said he had given the book to his wife in June, 1945.

Boxall’s wife yesterday showed a Sydney newspaper reporter her husband’s copy of the “Rubaiyat.” The book was completely intact and undamaged. There was no writing any of the pages.

Mrs. Boxall said her husband gave her the book at Christmas, 1944, and she had had it ever since.

A copy of the “Rubaiyat” found in the back seat of a car at Glenelg last November had a piece torn from the last page.

The texture and color of the paper in that book is considered by police to be identical to the clipping of the words “Tamam Shud” found on the body.

Police believe they hold the actual book from which the words were torn.

On Tuesday police traced a telephone number pencilled on that book’s cover.

Detective-Sgt. Leane is leading investigations to decipher several rows of block letters, believed to be a code on the back of the book.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130265587

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 5 of 24

 

PASSING BY, By Mr. Pym

 

THE Somerton body mystery has given Adelaide a new phrase-taken from the torn piece from “Omar Khayyam” found on the victim.

Some men were having the last drink in a city last last night. The barman was clamoring for their glasses. “Oh, well,” said one of them, looking sadly at his empty schooner, “Tamam Shud”-by which Omar Khayyam meant, “It is finished: the end.”

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/99060434

Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 – 1954) Thursday 28 July 1949 Page 5 of 8

 

Likely Theory on Identity Of Body Exploded

 

SYDNEY, Wednesday. — A clue suggesting that the body of a man found on Somerton Beach, South Australia, last December, may have been an ex-army lieutenant from Maroubra, was exploded today when detectives interviewed the man at Randwick.

Adelaide police supplied the C.I.B. with the name and address of a Maroubra man following the discovery of a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” in a car at Glenelg.

In the dead man’s pocket a slip of paper bearing the words in Persian “taman shud” (the end) was found and it was thought it had been torn from a copy of Omar Khayyam’s work.

Detectives, who interviewed the man at Randwick this afternoon, are satisfied the book has no connection with the dead man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/82580060

Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 – 1954) Friday 29 July 1949 Page 6 of 8

 

“Rubaiyat” Clue False

 

A clue indicating that the body of a man found on Somerton Beach South Australia, last December might have been that of a former Army lieutenant from Maroubra was exploded when detectives interviewed the man at Randwick.

Adelaide police supplied the name and address of a Maroubra man to the C.I.B. after the discovery of a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” in a car at Glenelg.

In the dead man’s pocket a slip of paper bearing the words in Persian, “Taman Shud’’ (“The End”), was found. It was thought it had been torn from a copy of Omar Khayyam’s work and would lead to the man’s identity.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130271667

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 30 July 1949 Page 4 of 12

 

ALL HE SOUGHT WAS TIME TO THINK

 

By MAX MILNE

 

A Persian who lived to be 100 and died 826 years ago, wrote the poem which may solve the Somerton beach body mystery.

Police in all States are trying to locate a missing copy of’ the poem, the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” from which the cryptic Persian ending “Tamam Shud” meaning “the finish” has been cut.

It is said that Omar Khayyam and two other students agreed that if one of them became rich, he would share his wealth with the others.

One did become rich. The student who had suggested sharing the wealth asked for a Government job, but Omar Khayyam had other ideas.

“The greatest boon you can confer on me,” he said, “is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide the advantages of science.”

The generosity of his boyhood friend allowed Omar Khayyam to devote the rest of his life to study and the search for truth until he became recognised as the wisest man of his day.

 

500 Verses

 

It was said that after reading a book seven times, he was able to repeat it by heart.

Omar reformed the existing calendar and complied astronomical tables, but the “Rubaiyat” was his life’s work.

It’s “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” philosophy was written in a setting of enchanted rose gardens, orchards of apple and almond blossom, and jasmine scent.

Some old copies contain more than 500 verses, although most have about a quarter of that number.

The translation into English was made by Edward Fitzgerald 90 years ago.

Omar Khayyam revolted against the religion of his country, because he could not believe in the existence of any other world he set about making the most of this one.

Unable to get a glimpse of tomorrow, he fell back upon today, and accepted things for what they were rather than for what they might be. He says in his “Rubaiyat”:—

“Ah, fill the Cup;—what boots it to repeat.

How time is slipping underneath our feet:

Unborn Tomorrow, and dead Yesterday.

Why fret about them if Today be sweet!”

Because he was convinced that there was no satisfactory solution of the problem of the origin and end of man he often sought solace in wine.

At his own request he was buried “in a place where the north winds would scatter roses over it.”

 

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48611254

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Monday 1 August 1949 Page 2 of 8

 

ALL HE SOUGHT WAS SOME TIME TO THINK

 

By MAX MILNE

 

A Persian who lived to be 100 and died 826 years ago, wrote the poem which may solve the Somerton (S.A.) beach body mystery.

Police in all States are trying to locate a missing copy of’ the poem, the “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” from which the cryptic Persian ending “Tamam Shud” meaning “the finish” has been cut.

It is said that Omar Khayyam and two other students agreed that if one of them became rich, he would share his wealth with the others.

One did become rich. The student who had suggested sharing the wealth asked for a Government job, but Omar Khayyam had other ideas.

“The greatest boon you can confer on me,” he said, “is to let me live in a corner under the shadow of your fortune, to spread wide the advantages of science.”

The generosity of his boyhood friend allowed Omar Khayyam to devote the rest of his life to study and the search for truth until he became recognised as the wisest man of his day.

 

500 Verses

 

It was said that after reading a book seven times, he was able to repeat it by heart.

Omar reformed the existing calendar and complied astronomical tables, but the “Rubaiyat” was his life’s work.

It’s “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” philosophy was written in a setting of enchanted rose gardens, orchards of apple and almond blossom, and jasmine scent.

Some old copies contain more than 500 verses, although most have about a quarter of that number.

The translation into English was made by Edward Fitzgerald 90 years ago.

Omar Khayyam revolted against the religion of his country, because he could not believe in the existence of any other world he set about making the most of this one.

Unable to get a glimpse of tomorrow, he fell back upon today, and accepted things for what they were rather than for what they might be. He says in his “Rubaiyat”:—

“Ah, fill the Cup;—what boots it to repeat.

How time is slipping underneath our feet:

Unborn Tomorrow, and dead Yesterday.

Why fret about them if Today be sweet!”

Because he was convinced that there was no satisfactory solution of the problem of the origin and end of man he often sought solace in wine.

At his own request he was buried “in a place where the north winds would scatter roses over it.”

TAMAM SHUD

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/96841855

Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 – 1954) Thursday 4 August 1949 Page 4 of 8

 

NOTES FROM ADELAIDE

 

MYSTERY: It now looks as though South Australia’s celebrated mystery case, the case of the Somerton body, will never be solved. Public interest in the case was revived with the new clue of a torn page from a copy of the ‘Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.’ On this torn piece were the words ‘Tamam Shud,’ meaning ‘The End.’ It was found on the body of the man who was discovered dead on the beach at Somerton. A telephone number in the book was traced to a Glenelg woman, and she told police she had given a similar book to an Army man in Sydney three years ago. But police traced this man and found he said had the Khayyam book in his possession, without a torn leaf. So that ended a line of enquiry that police hoped might eventually lead to a solution of the mystery. It’s been a long job. Detectives have sifted nearly 400 reports and made nearly 2,000 inquiries.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36680677

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 11 August 1949 Page 3 of 14

 

Students’ Procession Lives Up To Reputation.

 

Living up to its reputation for ribaldry, the University students’ annual procession yesterday stalled traffic in parts of the city during the hour it took to move from the University to the Town Hall and back, and attracted thousands of spectators.

A skit on the “Bitter Springs” film production won for the Arts Association a prize for the best float.

“You lucky people” was the catchcry hurled at the crowd by Geoff Scott, who bears a resemblance to Tommy Trinder, and who was mounted on a large wooden horse in the middle of the float. “Chips Rafferty,” “Nonnie Piper,” and native extras performed in front of cameras of the “Quorney Film Company.”

A number of the floats and the signs and notices on them were censored before the procession by Police Inspectors Turnbull and Walsh, but some of the rejected entries appeared again in the procession when it reached the street.

An oft-repeated theme was the marriage of Rita Hayworth and Aly Khan.

“Death is so permanent” slogans were parodied by exhibits which included headless men and motor cycles ridden by grinning skeletons.

Inspired by the Somerton body case, the procession ended with a large placard marked ‘Tamam Shud.”

Afterwards engineering and medical students waged their I annual battle, in which flour bombs, eggs and tomatoes were the missiles.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83095310

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Thursday 25 August 1949 Page 11 of 20

 

WHO CAN CRACK THIS CODE?

 

ADELAIDE, Thurs: Police were told today that Australia’s top cipher experts had failed to ‘crack’ the code in the back of The Rubiayat Of Omar Khayyam, believed to be connected with the Somerton body mystery.

A naval spokesman said experts in ‘Melbourne had worked on the code for weeks. Melbourne authorities had informed him that the frequency of the occurrence of letters, while inconclusive, corresponded more favourably with the table of frequencies of initial letters of words in English than with any other table.

Accordingly a reasonable explanation would be that the lines were Initial letters of words of a verse of poetry.

The code, printed in pencil in the back of a copy of the Rubiayat from which the words ‘Taman Shun’ (the end) were torn, was found in an unattended car at Glenelg about the time when the unidentified Somerton beach body was found on December 1, 1948.

Letters of the code are:—

M R G O A D A B D.

M T B I M P A N E T P.

M L I A B O A I A Q C.

I T T M T S A M S T G A B.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130269040

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Thursday 25 August 1949 Page 22 of 24

 

NAVY EXPERTS COULD NOT CRACK CODE

 

Police were told today that Australia’s top cipher experts had failed to crack the code in the back of a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat’ believed to be connected with the Somerton body mystery.

A naval spokesman said experts in Melbourne had worked on the code for weeks.

Melbourne authorities had informed him that the frequency of the occurrence of letters, while inconclusive, corresponded more favorably with the table of frequencies of initial letters of words in English than with any other table.

A reasonable explanation would be that the lines were initial letters of words of a verse of poetry or something like that.

Before a copy of the code was sent to Melbourne, a local naval decoder expressed similar views.

The code, printed in pencil in the back of a copy of the “Rubaiyat” from which the words “Tamam Shud”-mean ing “The End”-were torn, was thrown into the back of an unattended car at Glenelg about the time the body of an unknown man was found on Somerton beach on December 1, 1948.

In the clothing on the body was a neatly trimmed piece of paper with the words “Tamam Shud.”

For readers who might be able to assist police in tracing the possible lines to which the letters might refer, the code is:

M R G O A D A B D

M T B I M P A N E T P

M L I A B O A I A Q C

I T T M T S A M S T G A B

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130268422

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Saturday 27 August 1949 Page 2 of 12

 

Many try to solve Somerton code

 

Amateur “code crackers” throughout tralia are trying to decipher the code released this week by police in connection with the Somerton body mystery.

One man has told Adelaide CIB that he worked throughout Thursday night and was still on it yesterday.

A woman who believes she may be able to break the code is contacting police today.

In the eastern States newspaper readers are also trying to decipher the code which this week foiled leading cipher experts.

The code is pencilled on the back of a copy of Omar Khayyam’s “Rubaiyat.”

A copy was found thrown in the back of a motor car at Glenelg about the time the body of the unknown man was found on Somerton beach on December 1.

The words “Tamam Shud,” meaning “The End,” were torn from the book. The torn fragment was found in the victim’s clothing.

Expert opinion is that the code was made up of initial letters of words from a verse of poetry or something similar. The code is:

M R G O A D A B D

M T B I M P A N E T P

M L I A B O A I A Q C

I T T M T S A M S T G A B

 

Vic. man’s claim

 

Melbourne.-A former news paper seller, Mr. Ernest Jessup, of Caulfield, thinks he may have solved part of the code.

This is how he worked it out:

MRGOADABD-Mr. Goddard

MTBIMPANETP – Pantryman(?).

MLIABOAIAQC – Mail-boat-AQC (AQC, A class quarters?)

ITTMTSAMSTGAB.

Mr. Jessup believes this hides the name of a ship-his guess is an Indian ship.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/98289667

Sunday Mail (Brisbane) (Qld. : 1926 – 1954) Sunday 28 August 1949 Page 4 of 16

 

Navy can’t solve code

 

ADELAIDE, Sat.— After having baffled police, doctors, and other experts, the Somerton body mystery has now tricked the Navy.

Police were advised this week that even Australia’s top cipher experts have been unable to crack, the code in the back of a copy of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, believed to supply the missing link in the mystery

Naval experts have worked for weeks in Melbourne trying to decipher it.

The code was printed in pencil in the back of a copy of Rubaiyat, from which the words ‘Tamam Shud,’ meaning ‘the end,’ were torn

The book was thrown into the back of an unattended car near Somerton about the time the body of the unknown man was found on Somerton beach on December I, 1948.

Identity of the man or the cause of his death is still unknown.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36683694

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Monday 29 August 1949 Page 2 of 12

 

This Beat The Navy

 

 

Can you decipher these rows of letters?

Police believe they might be a coded message, but Naval intelligence men have failed to decipher them.

The letters appear on the back cover of a copy of the “Rubaiyat” found in a motor car at Glenelg last year.

Police have established the book was once in the possession of the unknown man who was found dead on the beach at Somerton last December.

Several amateur “code crackers,” including two from Victoria, have told the police that they sat up all night trying to decode the message. One woman interpreted the lettering as a poem concealing a message that the man was tired of life.

The second line of letters has been crossed out as if the writer had make a mistake and written the correct version in the third line.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36684271

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Wednesday 31 August 1949 Page 3 of 18

 

Many Attempts To Decipher Message

 

Many telephone calls and letters have been received by police during the past few days from people who claim that they have deciphered the lettering which appears on the back cover of a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The book is a vital clue in the still unsolved Somerton body mystery. It was found in the back seat of a motor car parked at Glenelg shortly before the body was found last December.

A man who saw a photograph of the lettering in “The Advertiser” on Monday, told police yesterday that he considered the writing was that of a child.

Others, including persons in Victoria and Western Australia, have written to police, giving their “solution” or the possible coded message.

A postal clerk of Alberton who told headquarters police last night that he had bad considerable experience in decoding work, suggested that the lettering might be interpreted to read “Go to Bowden (or Brighton) Box LI. E.L.T

The police checked on the box number which, it is understood, is a Bowden postal number, but enquiries last night failed to establish any definite lead to investigation.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/36684466

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Thursday 1 September 1949 Page 4 of 16

 

Drank 10 Pots Of Tea To Keep Awake

 

Mr. C. Rusten, of the Alberton Post Office, who worked all through one night in an effort to decipher the lettering which appears on the back cover of a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, drank 10 pots of tea to prevent him from falling asleep.

Police believe that the lettering could provide a vital clue in the Somerton body mystery. The book was found in the back seat of a motor car at Glenelg shortly before the body was found at Somerton last December.

Mr. Rusten, who has a knowledge of code from being a former lighthouse keeper on Cape Willoughby, said yesterday he had worked out the following message by a standard code:—

“Go B Wait By PO Box L1 1 a.m. T TG” (signature).

Police informed Mr. Rusten that Box L1 was at Bowden.

The opinion that the lettering was more cryptic than cipher was expressed in a letter to “The Advertiser” yesterday by Mr. V. A. Reynolds, of Magill road, Magill.

Mr. Reynolds, who was a signaller in the World War I, suggested the following interpretation:—

“Wm. Regrets. Going off alone. BAB. deceived me too. But I’ve made peace and now expect to pay.’”

“My life is a bitter cross over nothing. Also l am quite confident I’ve this time made ‘Tamam Shud’ a mystery.

St. G.A.B.

(Or signature) GAB.”

The lettering on the book read:—

W or M R G O A B A B D

W or M T B I M P A N E T P

M L I A B O A I A Q C

I T T M T S A M S T G A B

The “O” in the third line had a cross above it.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/83095558

The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950) Saturday 3 September 1949 Page 7 of 32

 

A try at that code

 

WITH reference to the code MRGOADABD; MTBIMPANETP; MLIABOAIAQC; IT TMTSAMSTGAB (Daily News, Aug. 25), the experts seem to be right that there is no code. But, as they say, the letters might be initials of words of a verse, as they fit in easily for that purpose. Here is an attempt:

My road goes on, and down a bad descent;

My tired being is mouthing pain, and now elects to pay;

My life is all but over, and I am quite content;

Til take the means to sleep — and my secret to guard at bay.

That sounds like sense, but it’s not much of a clue. — J. Sayers, Perth.

The letters were found on a dead man (so far unidentified) on Somerton Beach, South Australia.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130769453

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Thursday 1 December 1949 Page 32 of 32

 

Body mystery is year old

 

The Somerton body mystery is one year old today.

 

At 6.30 a.m. on December 1, 1948, Mr. John Lyons, of Whyte street, Somerton, found the body of a man leaning against the seawall opposite Somerton Crippled Children’s Home. Name tags had been cut from his clothing.

Scores of people have seen the body and many gave it a name.

The body was embalmed by Mr. L. A. Elliott, of Hindmarsh.

Fingerprints were taken, but they did not tally with any in police records.

A scrap of paper bearing the words “Tamam Shud” (mean ing “To End”) was found on the body. These words are from “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

The body was buried on June 14, at West Terrace Cemetery.

On June 22, the City Coroner (Mr. Cleland) adjourned an inquest to a date to be fixed in the hope that more evidence would be forthcoming. He found the evidence before him was too inconclusive to warrant a finding.

No police inquiry is filed as unsolved.

The Somerton body investigation is still going on with Det.-Sgt. Leane and Detective Brown in charge.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/74659309

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 2 December 1949 Page 7 of 24

 

Flowers Placed On Mystery Grave

 

For five and a half months, an unknown woman has regularly placed fresh flowers in two jars on the grave of the unknown man who was found dead on Somerton beach a year ago yesterday.

The flowers at present on the grave include red gladioli, yellow antirrhinums and daisies.

West Terrace Cemetery officials said yesterday that a woman had been noticed to visit the grave periodically to renew the flowers since the burial on June 14.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/44920761

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 23 June 1950 Page 1 of 27

 

SOMERTON MYSTERY REVIVED

 

The possibility of a suitcase and its contents, found in a city hotel bedroom on Wednesday, being connected with the Somerton body mystery, is to be investigated by detectives.

The Somerton mystery arose from the finding of the body of a man at Somerton on December 1, 1948.

Despite extensive police enquiries throughout all English speaking countries, the man’s identity is still unknown.

Allan Roy Walters, who took over the managership of the John Bull Hotel, Currie street, city, on Wednesday, told police yesterday that a former employe had banded him a suitcase which bad been in his bedroom.

“Omar Khayyam”

The employe told Mr. Walters that the suitcase belonged to a man who had stayed at the hotel In 1945. The case contained letters, writing papers and ration cards.

Papers in the case bore the name of J. Carlin. Abinga, via Marree, Central Australian Railways.

Among the contents of the case was a pad on which there was some writing and the words “Omar Khayyam.”

A piece of paper bearing the words “Tamam Shud” was found in a trouser pocket of the dead man. The words are from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a copy of which was found in a motor car at Glenelg, shortly before the discovery of the body  The words ‘Tamam Shud” had been cut from the book, the pages of which were the same in color and texture as the piece of paper found in the dead man’s trouser pocket.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/44921988

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 24 June 1950 Page 1 of 26

 

SUITCASE CLUE ABANDONED

 

Police are certain that the finding of a suitcase in a city hotel bedroom on Wednesday night is not connected with the Somerton body mystery.

A man reported yesterday that J. Carlin, whose name was found on papers in the case, could not possibly be the man whose body was found at Somerton on December 1, 1948.

He had known Carlin at Katherine (NT) and his description did not fit that of the Somerton body.

A piece of paper bearing the words ‘Tamam Shud” from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was found in a trouser pocket of the Somerton body.

In the suitcase were pieces of paper on which were written verses from the Rubaiyat.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130290019

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) (about)   Previous issueThursday 30 November 1950 Page 23 of 32

 

Somerton body still mystery after 2 years

 

Tomorrow the Somerton body mystery will be two years old.

It is one of the most baffling cases the SA police have ever handled. The dead man’s name and cause of his death are still unknown.

Early on the morning of December 1, 1948, Mr. John Lyons, of Whyte street, Somerton, found the body of a man leaning against the seawall opposite Somerton Crippled Children’s Home. Name tags had been cut from his clothing.

The body was kept at the City Morgue for many weeks and was later embalmed by Mr. L. A. Elliott, of Hindmarsh. Scores of people saw it, many giving it different names.

Fingerprints were taken, but they did not tally with any in police records.

A scrap of paper bearing the printed words “Tamam Shud” (meaning “the end”) was found on the body. These words are from “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.”

The body was buried on June 14, 1949, at West Terrace Cemetery.

On June 22, 1949, the City Coroner (Mr. Cleland) adjourned the inquest to a date to be fixed in the hope that more evidence would be forth coming.

He found the evidence before him was too inconclusive to warrant a finding.

Examinations by doctors and pathologists failed to establish the cause of death. There were no marks of violence on the body.

There was some evidence at the time that a man aswering the dead man’s description was seen sitting against the seawall the night before the body was found.

No police inquiry is filed as unsolved, and Detective-Sgt. R. L. Leane and Detective L. Brown are still investigating the death.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130362134

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Monday 26 February 1951 Page 2 of 24

 

Clue to identity sought in hotel

 

Although the body of a man found in Adelaide Railway Station yards on Friday night has not yet been identified, police think he may be identical with a man who booked in under the name of “Mr. Bell” at a city hotel last Wednesday.

During a search of his bedroom yesterday, Sgt. W. Sutherland found a copy of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam,” an extract from which was found on the mysterious Somerton body in 1948.

Police inquiries so far suggest the victim may be a seaman named Colgan James Bell, about 38, of New Lambton, NSW. Papers found in clothing in the hotel room bore that name.

When the mangled body was found at the rear of Adelaide Gaol soon after 9 p.m. on Friday, police and railway officials formed the opinion that the victim could not have suffered such injuries had he been standing, and believed he lay across the line.

Although there were no papers in his clothing, the name “C. Bell” was found on his clothing.

 

“Suicide’s handbook”

 

Dry cleaning marks on the victim’s clothing have been found identical with those on clothes in the hotel bedroom. The book by Omar Khayyam has become known to police as “the suicide’s handbook.”

On December 1, 1948, when the body of a man about 40 was found with the name tags cut from clothing on Somerton Beach, police found a cutting from a book in his clothes. It bore the words “Tamam Shud” meaning “the end.”

All efforts to identify the Somerton body failed. A post mortem examination also failed to disclose the cause of death.

Most police officers believe the victim committed suicide.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/130912022

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Friday 30 November 1951 Page 3 of 20

 

BODY BEACH IDEAS

 

Amateur detectives throughout Australia are continuing to forward weird theories on the identity of the body found three years ago tomorrow on Somerton beach.

However, this week Adelaide CIB sent a report to WA police following up yet another clue.

Time has failed to dampen the enthusiasm of members of the public in their efforts to decode mystery writing found on a copy of “The Rubiayat of Omar Khayam.”

A scrap of paper bearing the words “Taman shud” (meaning “the end”), believed to have been torn from the book containing the code, was found in the victim’s clothing.

This week Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane and Det. L. Brown asked Perth police to check on a man named Tony Keene, last heard of when living in St. George’s terrace, Perth.

This name ties up with the name found on cloth ing among unclaimed luggage at Adelaide Railway Station, which may have been deposited by the victim a few days before his body was found.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/55741291

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 15 December 1951 Page 16 of 72

 

25 PEOPLE ‘VANISHED’ IN MONTH

 

About 25 people “disappear” in SA every month, according to police missing friends records.

But the records also show that more than 95 percent of cases are cleared up – either the “missing” people turn up, or the police trace them.

The chief of the CTB (Inspector Gill) said today relatives and friends caused themselves much unnecessary anxiety and worry. Less than 1 per cent, of missing friend cases had sinister aspects.

Among the main reasons for sudden disappearances were amnesia, alcoholism, unhappy marriages, frustrated love affairs, school examinations, and plain boredom.

 

Police wary

 

The job of tracing missing friends had developed into one of the biggest phases of police work.

A tremendous number of police man-hours and thousands of pounds had been spent in the work.

Many missing friend inquiries fizzled out. Police, therefore, were wary of starting an inquiry without satisfying themselves the case was genuine.

But reports were never passed over lightly. There was always the possibility of something untoward happening to the friend reported missing.

 

Wide circulation

 

Inspector Gill said: “Nearly every day we get reports of one or two people missing.

“They are always made out on a missing friend report sheet with full particulars, such as description, clothing, where last seen, relatives and friends, and where they are likely to go.

“Every missing friend report is given to a CIB officer to investigate. It is given wide circulation in the Police Gazette, news papers, and over the radio.

“Finally, it is circulated to all police stations in the State, and, if necessary, to other States.”

Inspector Gill said records of missing friends were kept for years. They were checked every 12 months.

Then it was frequently found that missing friends had returned home, but that the police had not been notified.

 

Disappeared 1934

 

One of the most mysterious cases on SA records is the disappearance of Bertha Maud Davey, 44, single, of Wheaton road, St. Peters.

She left her home, which she owned, in May, 1934, and has not been seen since.

Her estate was worth about £1,100.

She withdrew £20 from the Savings Bank the day before she disappeared.

No motive has been discovered for her disappearance.

The exact opposite is the case of the man found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1949.

In that case the police had a body, but no name, and no report of a missing friend. The body is still nameless.

But these cases, and others, are still on record, and the police will never quit their search for an answer.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/57778251

The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 – 1954) Saturday 11 April 1953 Page 12 of 71

 

Mystery message to police on 2½-year-old murder

 

“If you want a lead on the Bray murder go and see — at — .”

This message, telephoned to police headquarters by a man obviously disguising his voice, sent members of the Homicide Squad on a dash to a northern country town this week.

The information detectives obtained there took them another step nearer to making an arrest for the 2½-year-old murder of George Bray.

This is just one instance of the untiring efforts of the Homicide Squad to track down the people responsible for SA’s five unsolved murders in the past 11 years.

As many criminals have found to their cost, the squad never lets up. No case is shelved and forgotten.

Several files at headquarters dealing with individual murder cases are now more than three inches thick.

 

Body in creek

 

The body of George Bray, 54. was discovered trussed in a sack in Sturt Creek, near Morphettville racecourse, early on the morning of November 4, 1950. There was a wound in the head.

So far 150 people have been interviewed by detectives, who are satisfied they know the identity of the killer.

But Bray was a notorious criminal and the police have been unable to obtain sufficient evidence because those who could give it to them fear reprisals.

Recently a man was questioned in connection with the murder of Leslie Arnold Glaister, 39, clerk, who was shot dead on the night of January 27, 1951, while sitting on a seat in East Parklands with a woman.

The woman was seriously wounded.

 

Couple saw killer

 

No one has been arrested for that crime, but 105 people have been interviewed by the police.

Members of the squad are confident they could solve this murder if they could interview a couple who were sitting on a nearby seat at the time of the shooting.

They say this couple must have seen the killer and could give them vital information. At the time police made many press and radio appeals but the couple did not come forward.

Another murder still on police files is that of Sidney Patrick Wildman, 61, whose body was found on the side of the road near Millicent on July 15, 1951. His head had been bashed with a piece of wood.

A new Australian was arrested. He was acquitted by a jury at Mount Gambier.

A more recent case was the murder of Zora Kusic, 29, whose mutilated body was found on a bed in a shed at North parade, Torrensville, on December 5, 1952.

A new Australian was charged with the woman’s murder, but after 30 witnesses had been called in Adelaide Police Court the charge was dismissed.

Since then police have interviewed another 27 people, and are now working on information recently received which they hope will end in an arrest and conviction.

Another case which police do not regard as unsolved was the murder of three men in a house in Hindley street, City, on December 11, 1942. One of the suspects has since been murdered himself.

The badly burnt bodies of the men— Horace Lavis Heysed, 56, Alan Gordon Davies, 38, and Edward Pate, 62 — were discovered in a room which had been set on fire after the men had been hacked with a tomahawk.

Two men were questioned, but sufficient evidence could not be obtained.

But the deepest mystery of all is the case of the unknown body at Somerton.

 

Beach mystery

 

On December 1, 1949, the body of a man was found on the beach at Somerton.

All tags and identification marks had been removed from the clothing, and there were no marks of violence on the body.

Doctors and pathologists were unable to discover the cause of death.

Police made inquiries in all States, and photographs and fingerprints were circulated all over the world.

Police are still receiving reports on the mystery, and last week information came from Western Australia, but it failed to reveal the man’s identity. Police believe the man took his own life.

But this, and all other cases, will not be written off the files until positive proof has been obtained.

From time to time the officer in charge of the Homicide Squad (Inspector G. Gully) and his men add new information to the files.

At frequent intervals each member of the squad is given the files to peruse with a view to discovering any clues that may have been overlooked, and any line of inquiry that has not been fully exploited.

Since the appointment of Mr. Ivor Green as Police Commissioner the CIB has been completely reorganised, and the branch has been divided into specialist squads (homicide, consorting, breaking, and entering, fraud, motor cars, and general criminal investigation).

Members of these squads are now able to pinpoint and keep in mind all offences relating to their particular activity.

This is backed up by the recently introduced special scientific course for the better equipment of the CIB.

Members of the Homicide Squad are Det.-Sgts. M. Eaton and W. Blyth, Detectives E. Canney, D. Collaton, F. Whitrod. J. O. Giles, J. B. Giles, and Plainclothes Constables L. Lenton and J. Zeunert.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49261406

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Thursday 23 April 1953 Page 12 of 12

 

Police clue on beach death

 

Adelaide: Detectives have a new clue to the Somerton Beach body riddle.

A Cheltenham woman has told them she met a Norwegian, shoemaker, whose description checked with that of the dead man, at Kangaroo Island, 21 years ago.

The Norwegian (Charles Mikkelsen) was then employed at Jensen’s guest house, American River.

Detectives R. L. Leane, and L. Brown have been told that Mikkelsen often quoted the last verse, which ended with the words “Tamam Shud,” from the Rubaiyat” of Omar Khayyam.

A scrap of paper bearing those words, evidently torn from a copy of the “Rubaiyat”, was found in the Somerton body’s clothing.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/134284491

News (Adelaide, SA : 1923 – 1954) Thursday 23 April 1953 Page 9 of 28

 

ANOTHER SOMERTON CLUE

 

Detectives have a new clue to the Somerton body riddle.

A Cheltenham woman has told them she met a Norwegian, whose description checked with that of the dead man, at Kangaroo Island, 21 years ago.

The Norwegian, Charles Mikkelsen, was then employed at Jensen’s Guest House, American River.

Det.-Sgt. R. L. Leane and Det. L. Brown have been told Mikkelsen often quoted the last verse, which ended with the words “Tamam Shud,” from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

 

Was gardener

 

A scrap of paper bearing these words, evidently torn from a copy of the Rubaiyat, was found in the Somerton body’s clothing.

The woman said Mikkelsen was aged about 30 when she met him at Kangaroo Island, and he spoke English fluently.

Mikkelsen was later employed as gardener to Sir John Brookman and was last heard of while boarding at Somerton.

Police are anxious for any further information on this man.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48291826

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Friday 24 April 1953 Page 1 of 20

 

Claims Description Fits ‘Somerton Body’

 

An Adelaide woman has told police that the description of the man’s body found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948, fitted a Norwegian, Charles Mikkleson, who was last heard of at a Somerton boarding house some years ago.

She said she met Mikkleson on Kangaroo Island 21 years ago when he was aged about 30.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/93936567

Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1895 – 1954) Thursday 30 April 1953 Page 37 of 44

 

Another Clue On Somerton Body

 

An Adelaide woman has told police that the description of a man’s body found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948, fitted a Norwegian, Charles Mikkleson, who was last heard of at a Somerton boarding house some years ago.

She said she met Mikkleson on Kangaroo Island 21 years ago when he was aged about 30.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48304578

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 16 May 1953 Page 9 of 26

 

Correspondents Answers To

 

W.L. (Manningham). — The body of an unknown man was found on the beach at Somerton, on December 1. 1948.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48923706

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Tuesday 10 November 1953 Page 4 of 20

 

Somerton Body Mystery

 

To the Editor

 

Sir— I saw in an old magazine recently a good description of the “Somerton body” and noted, among other things, that it had powerful shoulders and showed fine physical development. Yet the uncalloused hands seemed to indicate that the man had not been habitually engaged in manual labor.

There was reference to fruitless efforts to establish his identity as that of a ballet dancer or the like. But I think the description could equally well be fitted to an ex-trapeze artist.

I remember seeing three or four men in a trapeze act at Wirth’s Circus about 10 years ago, and have been wondering if there could be any connection. They were, I understand, from the US, and it has been shown the some of the deceased’s clothing was of American origin.

Although not sure of the date when the circus was here, I think it might be fixed from the facts that it was showing in the railway yards near Morphett street bridge, it was during the war and there was a two-headed calf on exhibition.

“WATSON,”

Unley.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/50072099

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Tuesday 10 November 1953 Page 1 of 12

 

Clue to S.A. Mystery

 

Adelaide: The Adelaide C.I.B, has received its 251st “solution” to the Somerton body mystery. It came from an amateur sleuth in a Queensland country town.

Nearly six-years of Australian-wide publicity has goaded thousands into offering theories on the unknown man, who died from an unknown cause.

His body was found on the beach at Somerton on December 1, 1948. Now a newspaper reader suggests the victim might have been a trapeze artist in a circus he saw, which featured a double headed calf.

Others have written to sell police they “met” him when he was a ballet dancer, a barman, a bosun and a bottle-oh.

About the only clue of any value is the clothing he wore, and that has all the identification tabs cut off it. The autopsy failed to disclose a cause of death.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/49421250

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW : 1888 – 1954) Saturday 27 March 1954 Page 12 of 24

 

UNKNOWN BODY CASE

 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa may have a case similar to South Australia’s Somerton body case.

The body of an unknown European youth found in the Klip river on December 3 has been exhumed to enable police to make further investigations.

But the mystery of his death and identification remain unsolved.

After the exhumation order had been signed, the body was taken out of the lonely pauper’s grave at Jacobskop and sent to the police morgue for further examinations.

During the week a Johannesburg man whose son had been missing for some time came to Vereeniging to see the remains but was satisfied the body could not be that of his son. This boy has since been found.

Major C. L. Stander, District Commandant, of Police at Vereeniging, said that continuing their investigations into the identity of the body, the police had found it necessary to exhume the body.

“We have by no means abandoned the case,” Major Stander said. “We are pursuing our inquiries just as actively as before, and although we are severely handicapped because of the advanced state of decomposition in which the body was found, we have not relaxed our efforts to solve the mystery.”

It has been established that the youth’s age must have been between 14 and 17, his height 5 ft. 5 in., his weight about 120 lbs. Two upper molars were missing but the remaining teeth were in such good condition that they had not been filled or damaged.

 

Tattered shirt

 

The body was found under a wooden bridge across the Klip River on a dairy farm between Vereeniging and Johannesburg. It was dressed only in a very tattered shirt and had obviously been in the water for a long time.

The district surgeon, Dr. D. B. Ziman could not determine the cause and time of death, and so the police do not know whether the youth was murdered or accidentally drowned.

What mystifies them is that no relatives have come forward in spite of the publicity which has been given to this mystery.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/48130560

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 22 May 1954 Page 8 of 26

 

In society’s fight against crime, science plays a big part — in …

 

The Tales Told By Fingerprints

by GEOFF. KENIHAN

 

JOE MARKAM, alias Grant Markham, alias William John Burns was a very surprised man when the local police sergeant in the South Australian country town in which he was living arrested him.

The charge was that in the town of J——- 20 miles away, three nights previously, he had broken into the drapery store and stolen a cash register and it’s contents of more than £30.

Markam had pulled the job all right, but it seemed a little short of a miracle that the police were on to him. He had been in South Australia only a few months. There were no previous convictions against him here. He reasoned that the police were acting on suspicion, because he had been employed at the store for three days the previous month. When he was charged, Joe said nothing, and pleaded not guilty. He had an alibi.

*

He reckoned without the skill of the Adelaide CIB’s fingerprint and scientific branch. Joe was found guilty and served his sentence of three years’ imprisonment. Here is how it happened: —

When the drapery store was burgled and the cash register stolen, a detective and a fingerprint expert were sent from Adelaide. The day after the robbery, the cash register was found by a boy in the centre of a clump of young saplings about a mile from the town. There were plenty of fingerprints on the cash register. They were checked by the fingerprint expert, and all but one were found to belong to the shop keeper or to his two assistants.

The exception was a clear right-hand thumbprint of a man. The fingerprint expert made the print clearly visible by dusting on fine grey powder with a camel hair brush. The print was photographed and sent to Adelaide Police Headquarters. A check through the files showed that no similar prints were on record with the department.

But the department airmailed the photograph to the recently-formed Central Fingerprint Bureau in Sydney, where records of all criminals fingerprinted in all Australian States had been collected a few months before the crime. The answer came back. The print- in question was identical with the recorded right hand thumb print of a Joseph Markam, convicted three times in Queensland and once in New South Wales for shop breaking and larceny.

*

A photograph of the man was attached. Dispatched to the country town, the shopkeeper identified the photograph as that of one William John Burns, who had been employed by him for three days the previous month before he had been dismissed for being rude to a customer.

Soon afterwards the sergeant knocked on Markam’s door.

But the fight was not over as far as Markham was concerned. In court he admitted that the print was most probably his, but pleaded right of access, that as a previous employe his thumbprint had every right to be on the cash register and that the jury should see nothing sinister in it.

Then the fingerprint expert stepped in again and pointed out that the position of the print showed that the person making it had been standing BEHIND the register. As the machine was normally kept in a niche in the wall, the only way the print could appear in such a position was if the register had been carried away.

Markham’s alibi, supported by his wife and a friend, was that he had been home in bed at the time of the crime. Because of this, the jury found him not guilty of breaking and larceny, but convicted him on a charge of receiving the stolen cash register and the money. He went to gaol just the same.

This is a true story from the files of the Adelaide Fingerprint Bureau. Only names and locations have been changed. It is typical of dozens of cases which are solved each year with the aid of the Fingerprint Department and the Police Forces other scientific arms.

The Police Commissioner in SA (Mr. Ivor Green), who has fostered the work of the scientific branches of his force since he took office, has long been an advocate of a scheme to fingerprint every child born in Australia.

‘If this was done, such unsolved cases as the ‘Somerton Body Mystery’ would never have been mysteries at all. If this unknown man had been born in Australia and fingerprinted at birth, his identity would have been known within hours,’ Mr. Green told me.

As early as 1893 Mr. Francis Galton, who had made a study of fingerprints, pointed out that the chances of two fingerprints being identical were one in 64 thousand million. This piece of theory has been borne out by the fact that, since the use of fingerprints has become standard police practice, no case of two persons with identical fingerprints has been discovered.

But it was left to a British magistrate in Burma, Edward Richard Henry, to devise the system of fingerprint classification which has enabled the science to be used by police.

In 1901, Henry took up an appointment as Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard, and a few months later introduced the Central Fingerprint Branch to the British police.

His method of collating arid identifying fingerprints is still the basis of nearly all the systems used by police throughout the world today.

In Adelaide, the Finger print Branch of the CIB, headed by Mr. D. C. Aebi, uses what is known as the Australian Extension of the Henry system. The modifications, to suit Australian police practice, have been devised at triennial conferences of fingerprint experts from all States.

The Adelaide Fingerprint Branch was started before World War I by Det. Sgt. Lingwood Smith. Now there are about 70,000 full sets of fingerprints on file and thousands of other single and fragmentary prints, some of which have been found at the scenes of crimes never solved.

At present, every criminal fingerprinted by South Australian police has two sets taken. One is retained at the Adelaide CIB and the other sent to the Central Fingerprint Bureau in Sydney, which has a fingerprint ‘bank’ of all known Australian criminals.

Apart from their help in criminal investigation, fingerprints are often the only means of identifying the unknown ‘drifters’ of society — men and women without friends or relatives who die natural or violent deaths and leave no other clue to their names and their lives but the tiny ridges and valleys on the tips of their fingers.

Last year, the Fingerprint Branch in Adelaide was called in to identify 14 dead persons. They succeeded in 12 of these cases — at some time or other these persons had been fingerprinted in either South Australia or the other states.

In some cases, the bodies have not been discovered for days or even weeks — they may have been recovered from the sea or badly decomposed from other causes. One method of obtaining a print in such a case is to peel the skin carefully from the fingertips and stretch it over the fingerprint expert’s fingers encased in a rubber glove.

This is aptly named the ‘human glove’ method, and frequently very clear sets of fingerprints are obtained in this way.

*

Another scientific branch of the South Australian police is the ballistics section at the Thebarton Police Barracks, in charge of Mr. J. H. Patterson, who has studied the subject for several years.

Mr. Patterson describes ballistics as the ‘science of fingerprinting the gun.’

Just as no two persons have the same fingerprints, so no two gun barrels have ever been found with the same minute scratches caused by the machining tools inside the barrel.

Mr. Patterson posed a hypothetical case.

A man has. been murdered, and police have their suspicions about an associate, but have no concrete evidence. A revolver is found hidden in the suspect’s house.

A shot is fired from the revolver into a long wooden box packed with wadding, and the bullet is recovered. Then the ballistics expert compares the bullet with that recovered from the body of the murdered man.

Using a £700 comparison microscope, bought by the Police Department a few years ago, Mr. Patterson would examine each bullet. In the space of an hour he could tell with a fair degree of certainty if the murder bullet had been fired from the revolver found in the suspect’s house. Each bullet would be marked by minute scratches made by the machining in the barrel. If the scratches matched, the evidence would be clear.

 

 

The head of the SA Police Force’s fingerprint section, Mr. D. C. Aebi, checking in the fingerprint files- kept at Police Headquarters.

 

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/47608063

 

The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954) Saturday 21 August 1954 Page 1 of 28

 

The Sunday Advertiser

 

Did He Die By His Own Hand?

 

On December 1, 1948, a man was found dead on Somerton beach. He was unknown. There was no apparent cause of death.

Over the last five years police all over the world have worked on the twin mysteries. At every turn they have been baulked.

The most likely clue seemed a leaf from a volume of Omar Khayyam found on the body. Using that, a writer in ‘The Sunday Advertiser” tonight has compiled an ingenious cryptogram which could explain the mystery.

That will be one of the feature articles giving new aspects of the news of the week, or the background of current events, which make entertaining weekend reading.

 

http://www.eleceng.adelaide.edu.au/personal/dabbott/tamanshud/mirror_nov1959.pdf

Sunday Mirror 22 November 1959

 

[Note: this article is incomplete, missing the various parts.]

 

tralia in 1918.

  • Was illegitimate and went to extraordinary lengths to cover his true identity.
  • Predicted 10 years before he died the time and manner of his death.
  • Gave him the “key’ to a code said to have been written by the dead man.

Collins has made extensive protestations to the Sunday Mirror

 

The body, propped against a sea wall, was found by some early-morning bather.

Police have never been able to discover whether the man was murdered, took his own life, or died from natural causes.

Scientists do not know the cause of death.

There was no money in the man’s pockets.

Name tags had been removed from his clothes.

There was no sign of a struggle in the sand around his body.

THE body was that of a man about 45, good physique, tanned and healthy. His fair hair was beginning to grey.

The calves of his legs were strongly muscled. His hands were soft and smooth.

There were no marks of violence. Dr. Cowan, Deputy marks of Robert Government Analyst, found no trace of poison. He said death occurred from natural causes — but could not say what they were.

Dr. John Dwyer, Police Pathologist, disagreed. He thought the man had died from a rare poison.

In an inside fob pocket of the man’s trousers police found a scrap of paper apparently torn from a book and on it were printed the words “Tamam Shud.”

These were the last words of Persian poet Omar Khayyam’s famous “Rubaiyat.”

They mean, in Persian, ‘The End.”

A doctor living near the beach produced a copy of the Rubaiyat, with the words “Tamam Shud” torn from the last page. He said he found it in his car.

Detectives deduced that the Unknown man “with a

MTBIMPANETP

MLIABOAIAQC

TTTMTSAMSTGAB

Cipher and code experts failed to find any meaning in the letters.

THE only clue to the man’s identity was an almost indecipherable mark on his singlet.—T. KEAN.

The body was buried in Adelaide’s West Terrace Cemetery under a small headstone reading “Here Lies the Unknown Man.’

Now, from Wanganui Prison, E. B. Collins says he met the dead man on a Saturday morning in 1938 in Christchurch.

This is his story:

We met in a bar. He asked if he could join me. He said his name was Titus Kean, but he used the name Tom Kean.

He was well-dressed, pleasantly spoken and well-mannered.

He asked me to join him in a drive to Timaru and ordered a taxi.

He said he had been waiting for three days to meet me — because he knew the meeting was preordained.

I told him this was nonsense because I had never seen him before.

But he said: “Nonetheless, it’s true. Just as true as life for me will be Tamam Shud in 10 years.”

He explained meaning of the words and said he was 36 and would be dead in 10 years.

He said he was born an illegitimate on September 6, 1902, in the United States.

In 1908, his mother gave him into the care of distant relatives named Kitto, an itinerant laboring couple.

While working on a Texas ranch in 1917, Mrs. Kitto told him that his mother had died.

HIS father was a man named Goodman. The name Kean was his mother’s surname.

Kean told me he drifted to Wyoming, worked on another ranch, but could not settle down.

He moved to San Francisco and became a

 

 

The cross shows where the unidentified body was found on Somerton Beach.

 

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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