The Inglewood scanties


We imagine they looked something like this

As the Dodgy Perth team desperately tries to delete their names from the Ashley Madison database (we had no idea what the site was, we thought it was a garden equipment retailer), we look back to a time when more direct evidence of infidelity was left behind. In the laundry at an Inglewood home.

The date was 13 December 1947. The time, 11.30pm. Laura came back from her friend’s house, and opened her front door. In the living room she discovered an unknown dishevelled couple, while her beloved carpets were covered in beer and cigarette ash. There was no sign of hubby, James.

Screaming abuse, Laura ordered the strangers to get out. This brought James running into the room. Slurring and barely able to stand upright, he too was told to get out the house.

Muttering curses, Laura set about with a mop and brush to restore some order. After that, she stepped into the garden for fresh air.

There were scuffling noises from the outside laundry, and then a woman scampered out and fled. James poked his head around the laundry door.

Naturally, Laura accused him of less than honourable behaviour, but he denied it. By now she was in no mood to argue, and went to bed. Where James slept that night is not recorded.

The next day she went back to the laundry and in the middle of the floor were a pair of scanties. They definitely weren’t hers.

Taking the panties in her hand, she again confronted hubby. This time, with a sore head, facing the irrefutable evidence, he agreed he had not been completely honest the night before. He didn’t even know the woman’s name, having picked her up at the local pub (probably the Inglewood Hotel) for a quickie after he’d been thrown out earlier.

Laura moved out to Fourth Avenue in Mt Lawley, and got her divorce the following year.

The moral, dear reader, is to always clean up after you. And that includes email addresses.

Green(er) on the other side

Edward McLarty and family, 1900

Edward McLarty and family at Edenvale, 1900

Are you ever too old to carry on with married women? This is the question we at Dodgy Perth will consider today.

In 1912, Reuben Green sued Edward McLarty for failing to make good on a £500 promissory note. So far, so straightforward.

Reuben was a labourer and mailman in Pinjarra, while Edward basically ruled the town like a medieval squire. He was JP and MLC, owned the biggest house (which you can still visit today), and was the father of a future Premier.

So perhaps it looks like Reuben was brave suing such a bigwig.

No, not brave. Stupid, as it turns out.

At this point, let us introduce Mrs Jessie Green, Reuben’s wife. Well, technically not wife, since Jessie wasn’t sure if her previous husband was alive or dead. But she called herself Mrs Green anyway.

Jessie was a middle aged, homely-looking matron, who was nearly as deaf as a post. But somehow she had caught the eye of the local squire, and whenever she beckoned Edward would rush to her bed.

Perhaps Edward wasn’t getting any at home from his missus, Mary Jane. Perhaps he just fancied bonking the local peasantry, like any good landholder. But since he was in his mid-sixties, he might have known better.

It should really have come as no surprise that one day Reuben should burst into the bedroom, and declare his outrage at finding the couple in flagrante delicto.

He levelled a rifle at Edward’s head, and demanded four promissory notes for £500 each or he would shoot.

Mr McLarty pleaded not to be blackmailed, but Reuben repeated his threat to fire. In the end, he received two such notes and allowed Edward to escape.

Now here comes the weird part.

Despite it being very clear that Mr and Mrs Green were in on this together, Edward kept coming round for nookie. And kept getting blackmailed.

In the end he had coughed up around £2,000 before he refused to honour one more note.

Then Reuben had the balls to sue in the Supreme Court to get a last five hundred out of his victim. Unbelievable.

The judge found for Edward, saying he had certainly been an old fool, but did not deserve to be blackmailed.

His Honour also said some very bad things about Reuben Green.

While it might have been good advice just to leave forbidden fruit alone, we at Dodgy Perth feel somewhat sorry for Edward McLarty. After all, that’s a hell of a lot of money for a little afternoon delight.

Let’s go outside

letsgooutsideYoung people today, eh? No standards, is what we say at Dodgy Perth HQ.

Not like in the good old days, like the 1950s. When people knew how to behave. And respected their betters. And did not make love in broad daylight in front of picnickers.

No sir.

Take for example, the way our grandparents celebrated New Year’s Eve 1953. The good old days. Just like in Back to the Future.

Can you imagine wild “necking parties” going on all night in King’s Park until the families arrived with picnics the next day? That generation could never have blended booze and sex into wild public orgies, never caring who saw them. Impossible!

It cannot be that these courting couples deliberately sought out audiences to their wanton promiscuity.

No. It was the 1950s, not 2015.

There could never have been a couple freely enjoying themselves in a ’53 model American sedan in King’s Park. Her blue nylon frock was not draped over the bonnet of the car. And sheer silk stockings weren’t boasting of her activities as they flew from the car’s radio aerial. There were no empty bottles strewn in the bush around them. This did not happen. It was the 1950s, when everything was better than today.

As dawn broke over a parking spot on Crawley Bay, near the University, you would not have been able to see a dozen people in six cars greeting 1954 in their own unique way.

A slim girl, probably no older than eighteen, was not vomiting into the river while her escort (shoeless, tuxedo pants and lipstick smeared singlet) did not drink breakfast straight from a bottle.

The pair in the back seat of a cream sedan nearby were being chaste. Not engaged in open activities which would make a pro blush.

Since it was the 1950s, all of these activities were confined decently to the marital bed. To people who were married to each other. That’s how things were back then.

The frogs were having a good time of it


If you’ve not been keeping up, the story so far:

Henry Whittall Venn is a pompous oaf, and WA Commissioner of Railways, who has fallen in love with a young married actress, Eve. She doesn’t seem particularly keen on the old bugger, but who knows what might happen?

Venn has had Eve’s husband arrested on a trumped-up charge, so he can send a love letter, which he is convinced will forever win over his intended. Never mind that Venn also has a wife.

It is getting late in the evening, and Venn is coming towards the end of his letter.

Now read on:

Eve was travelling to Melbourne on the troopship Orient—the Boer War was still raging—and Venn was concerned she might mix with soldiers. He warned her that, as a man of the world, he understood these men, and she should not fall for their fake charms or she would suffer as a consequence.

Although inexperienced at courtship, Venn was no fool. He instructed her that letters were to be sent to the Weld Club, not his home or office. If they were sent to his home, his wife would find them; at the office, his secretary.

The letter repeatedly assured Eve that the stiff, pompous git she had met at the party was dead, and now he was but a man “who looked now and then into a pair of brown eyes and thought the frogs were having a good time of it, because they would sing on, and be near you while I was far away.”

Suddenly, Venn became anxious. Why was Eve keeping her Melbourne address from him? Was she just being careful? Or was she being untrue before their relationship had started?

No… he must not think like that. Instead, he decided to praise her brief note to him, describing it as being like “the fragrance of the roses.” What a charmer the old man was turning out to be.

With a final warning—Please destroy this letter after you have read it—Venn went to bed, ready to post the note in the morning.

To be continued

It’s only gossip if you repeat it

The Sunday Times used to run a column with all the town’s gossip, but few identifying details.

Anyone who was the subject would know who they were, as would their friends and neighbours, but the newspaper trod carefully to enable maximum humiliation with minimum chance of a libel suit.

So, although I have no idea who the subjects were, Dodgy Perth still presents the gossip from the week ending 20 November 1927:

We hear…

That South Perth is the forcing ground for a scandal that will probably wreck several homes.
That a chance word from a mere baby set a social blaze that will take a lot of extinguishing.
That as the little boy had been allowed to see far too much it was the family’s fault.
That if the rumpus gets to the ears of their farmer relative he will make out a new will.

That a married couple from North Perth caused hearty smiles in a tram leaving the Esplanade for home.
That as it was a hot evening, pa and ma reclined on the grass to await the arrival of a picnic launch.
That when they entered the tram, all hands grew merry over the grass-seeds on the coat of pa.
That by the time they arrived at their destination half a hundred passengers had loud laughs.

That a much advertised wedding-to-be may not be if a certain bundle of letters comes to light.
That the owner of the said epistles has been keeping them for many a long year since his jilt.
That an attempt to steal them resulted in the burglar being caught and made to confess.
That as they have also been well photographed, the denouement may be sudden and sulphurous.

That the practice of a Claremont wife of slandering her decent husband recoiled upon her last week.
That as he devotedly gives her all he can in the way of motors and theatres, a pretty lady visitor heard him libelled.
That she discovered that the wife did it to prevent the visitor from falling in love with him.
That in one case the lady visitor fell in love with hubby out of sheer pity for his misery.

That why White City is being saved from slaughter is a mystery no reasonable citizen can fathom.
That this accursed gambling hell has incited many boys and girls to become hooligans and jazz-flappers.
That the type of brawler it breeds is exemplified by the weedy wasters who nightly enter it.
That as bottled beer and pinky is always planted for the closing hour, the subsequent capers would shock a savage.

That a cheeky swain in a northern township bas been given the key of the street over the piracy of several poems.
That for a long time he has been giving the retired farmer’s daughter verses allegedly composed by him.
That he has laboriously copied them from several volumes of poetry by Lord Byron and Bobbie Burns.
That when the schoolmaster relative came along and exposed the fraud the cavalier called no more.

As the actress said to the Commissioner of Railways

To celebrate Movember, we present Henry Whittall Venn, Commissioner of Railways and Director of Public Works in Forrest’s ministry.

A bald, portly man, with a red face and heavy moustache, pompous, extremely conventional, and very, very longwinded, Venn clashed with Forrest over the purchase of rolling stock.

He accused Forrest in the press of disloyalty. When asked to resign from the ministry, Venn refused three times. On 8 March 1896, Forrest requested Governor Sir Gerard Smith to withdraw Venn’s commission. As Venn famously put it, he was “dismissed in his nightshirt”.

So who would have guessed that the awesome moustache was concealing a veritable Don Juan?

To be continued…