Albany Bell: swindler or crook?

001720dThere is a tendency in Western Australia to assume that if someone is famous, they must have done something good in their lives. So whatever else Alan Bond may have done, no matter who he screwed over, at least he painted a red dingo sign.

Only he didn’t. Just another part of the Bond self-myth-making process.

So look at the building above, which is on Guildford Road. You probably know it as the Albany Bell Castle, and might know its links with the chain of Albany Bell Tea Rooms.

And here is Mr Albany Bell (1871-1957):

80x105mmIf you read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry on him, you will find that he was an upstanding Christian gentleman ruined by misused power of the evil unions.

Even the normally ever-reliable Richard Offen tells how Bell was wonderful philanthropist to his employees, who must all have loved him.

What a saintly man.

Bollocks, was he!

Albany Bell was a crook who tried to rip off each and every employee he ever had, and when he was finally brought to book dumped his café chain in a fit of pique.

He illegally refused sick pay to waitresses working in his tea rooms who were forced to take a day off due to illness. He also declined to pay the overtime for the staff he forced to work extra hours to fill in for their absent colleagues.

120x165mmIt was only after the waitresses had finally had enough and became militant (not to mention the intervention of a union and the threat of court action), that he finally promised to make good a fraction of the money he had cheated out of them.

And this is before we get into the fact that he adulterated the milk he sold, just to increase his profits.

Just the kind of gentleman who deserves celebrating then. Especially by the Style Council, who wax lyrical in their history of the Castle about Albany Bell’s spiritual values and his “Christianising the natives”.

Thank goodness Dodgy Perth is here to put the record straight on this hypocritical cheat.

One Comment

  1. Interesting! I knew that he left the tea room business because of the pressure he was under because of the strike, but I didn’t realise he was one of the causes! Enough to curdle milk …oh but!


Comments are closed.