WA’s first jihadist

turkish troops

Turkish troops looking forward to going home for a kebab and a packet of Camels

When fighting at Gallipoli, you probably don’t expect to run into an old mate fighting for the other side. Yet that is exactly what happened to Private Henry Molloy.

Henry was a stretcher bearer and one morning he was, as usual, preparing a cup of tea. He had just boiled the water, and started to add the tea and sugar when a familiar voice called to him from behind Turkish lines.

“Hullo, Molloy,” said the voice in a heavy accent, “how vos Blossom?” Blossom was a colleague of Molloy’s at the Midland Railway Workshops, where he had worked as a fitter before the war.

Henry immediately knew who was speaking. Frederick Shack was a German also employed at the Workshops until he was dismissed for quarrelling with the foreman. After that, Fred set up a grocers in North Perth, where he was a familiar face doing the rounds with his cart. But somehow Fred had evaded the authorities, left Perth, and joined the Turkish troops.

The two chatted about the latest gossip from the Midland Workshops. Then Henry remembered the foreman’s son was also at Gallipoli, and would likely shoot Fred for insulting his father some years earlier.

Fred didn’t seem all that worried. “You hop it before you’re seen,” he replied, “or Jacko will put you in the harem.” (‘Jacko’ was digger slang for Turkish forces.)

Henry retorted with a friendly “Fuck the Kaiser!” before scooting back to the safety of the trenches.

War may be hell. But it can also be very odd.

Trouble in an Inglewood paradise


This was once considered porn. Seriously.

Today’s Dodgy Perth deals with a delicate story. As a consequence, we will use first names only. The protagonists are certainly deceased, but we wish to minimise the chance of young descendants stumbling across Great Grandma in this particular setting while researching family history for a school project.

Let us introduce Violet and Geoffrey . She grew up in North Perth and he in Inglewood. Both were born around the time of World War I.

Geoff was tall, broad-shouldered, olive-skinned, wavy-haired, and mustachioed. Looking every inch like a sportsman, he cut a handsome figure in his natty, gold-braided Flying Squadron blazer.

Violet was dainty, but extremely pretty with her raven black hair and noticeably high heels.

Their parents must have been delighted when the young couple met, fell in love, and married in 1940. It seems likely that the pair moved in with Geoff’s mother in Crawford Road, directly opposite Inglewood Primary School. (The house still stands, not looking at all like a home for what follows.)

Her parents were probably less than ecstatic when the following year Geoff was convicted of theft. Oh well. Newlyweds always have a few problems at first. But the problems kept coming for poor Violet.

It turned out the Geoff had a bit of a thing for laying her across his knee and spanking her bare bottom. Perhaps she could have lived with this if it wasn’t for Geoff’s habit of collecting pictures of men and women in (let us say) unusual poses and demanding that Violet act out the scenes with him.

No matter how many times she burned his stash of photographs, Geoff always seemed to be able to find more. When Violet finally cracked and threatened to take the porn stash to the police, Geoff blackmailed her by claiming he had taken photos of her sleeping. If she said anything, these would find their way into the public gaze.

In the divorce court in 1943, Geoff got a chance to put his side of the story. “I am not a sexual pervert”, he protested. “Every time we went to bed I was always too tired and wanted to go to sleep.”

In any case, Violet was difficult to live with, he claimed, alleging that his petite wife had hurled a heavy engineer’s hammer at his head, and made him beg on his knees just to get his trousers mended.

No one believed him, and maintenance was fixed at £2 10s a week.

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.