It is not easy to square the post war picture of Mme Marie-Louise Monnier with the pre-war image of her as a strikingly colourful peroxide blonde princess. But being held in a concentration camp might well make you a different person.
Undoubtedly, she came from a good French family. She had received a good education, and had contacts in France which suggested her family moved in the best circles.
She was pretty in her younger days, but grew very plump with increasing age. Her clothes came from Australia’s most exclusive stores. Her money was good, even if her profession wasn’t. And she spent a small fortune on furs while travelling in a smart car with her own chauffeur.
Her striking blonde hair was said to be a matter of her own taste, not necessarily a preference of gentlemen. In fact she was probably the first peroxide blonde in Perth.
At 137 Joel Terrace, Princess Josie had an exclusive home with a river frontage. Neighbours turned an appraising eye as hundreds of pounds worth of expensive furniture went into the house, gazed with intrigued interest at the blonde, middle-aged, expensively dressed lady who followed it in.
But excitement simmered when whispers carried the name ‘Josie’—whispers that became almost a bellow of protest as some of the girls from Roe Street began to visit the house on social calls.
After Josie went overseas, the house was left in charge of one of her friends, who was tipped off by the police not to allow any of the girls from Roe Street to come there.
It was subsequently leased to a lady with several daughters. She exited hastily as soon as she learned the identity of its owner.