he’s no Crocodile Dundee

Steve Dunleavy carved out a career for himself as a reporter for Rupert Murdoch. Here, Marc Fisher talks about The King of Sleaze.

image found here (Dunleavy on the right)

“He really turns my stomach,” says Pulitzer Prize winner Tom Shales of The Washington Post. “I suppose he should get credit for helping to popularize some atrocious techniques. But he’s no Crocodile Dundee. If there’s an Australian anti-defamation league, they might want to look into the situation.” And some years ago, when Dunleavy broke his foot, rival New York columnist Pete Hamill quipped, “I hope it’s his writing foot”.

image from an article about the “real” crocodile dundee found here

On his way home after a night spent chasing stories in a bar in Miami, Dunleavy kisses a couple of female prosecutors on the hand, then turns to the detectives he’d been buying drinks for. “Anything goes tonight, give us a ring; we’ll be there like a rat up a drainpipe.” The guy actually talks like that.

Rat up a Drainpipe Award found here

Dunleavy is a 52-year-old dandy with a jutting jaw that shouts tenacity and a two-inch-high graying pompadour that is a marvel of modern architecture. He chain-smokes Marlboro Lights, squinting with delight at every puff. He wears tinted bifocals and a gold bracelet dangles from his left wrist.

image found here

This is the persona Dunleavy has spent a lifetime cultivating. “He wants this image as a drinker and a character, someone around whom legends are built,” says Yvonne Dunleavy, his ex-wife and the co-author of The Happy Hooker and books about such sex-scandal figures as Fanne Fox and Elizabeth Ray. “It’s astonishing that Steve is still vertical.”

Fanne Fox and friend found here

Random entries from the legendary Dunleavy Green Book, his enviable list of home phone numbers: Sydney Biddle Barrows, Lauren Bacall, the “Amityville Horror” killer, Paul Laxalt, Peter Byrne (the guy who searches for Bigfoot), Dino De Laurentis, a couple of big-time hoods, a slew of big-time lawyers, Lyndon LaRouche, parents of the victims of Son of Sam. It’s a tabloid reporter’s dream book. 

Lauren Bacall and friends found here

Dunleavy delivers. Exclusives with Elvis’s bodyguards, the Chappaquiddick girls, alleged Mafia boss John Gotti, Fidel Castro (they got stinking drunk on mojitas after Castro kept Dunleavy waiting till 3 a.m. “I just couldn’t keep up,” Dunleavy says. “We had five in double-quick order”).

Castro and friend found here

You could say that blood and guts are in Dunleavy’s blood and guts. His father was a photographer on The Sydney Sun. Steve started as a Sun copyboy at 14 and left school soon after. He didn’t want anyone to think he was getting special treatment because of his father, so he moved over to the Daily Mirror, where he was on the night police beat by the time he was 16.

blood and guts dessert recipe found here

One evening, preparing to scoot over to a crime scene, Steve saw a car from The Sun and decided he didn’t need any competition following him to a good story. So he slashed the rival car’s tires. “I didn’t know it was my father’s” he protests meekly.

“slasher” cupcakes found here

Sometime later, when Steve and his father were on the trail of a mad slasher, the tables were turned. Both Dunleavys got a tip on a sighting. Once there, Steve scurried into a little shed behind a house, hoping to catch the perpetrator himself. “I heard a dead bolt behind me, and then all the cars racing away. Then I heard my father shouting ‘Remember?’” Dunleavy sat in the shed for more than two hours.

George Bernard Shaw’s rotating shed found here

Some of Dunleavy’s colleagues at the Post say he saved his most aggressive manner for the women he worked with. His rep as a hard-drinking Lothario has followed him for decades. “Steve went after half the newsroom,” says a former city desk assistant at the Post. “He always had an item on the side. He put the moves on everybody. No woman was exempt.”

One producer says she has seen him go five days without eating. He would move into the newsroom during a major story, occasionally napping on a cot or couch, taking time out only to stop at the Racing Club for “a few gargles.”

After a 55-year career, Dunleavy retired with a celebration on 1 October 2008 that was attended by 400 colleagues and friends. And just maybe an enemy or two.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 11:46 am  Comments (50)  
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the wisdom of wearing balloons

Prior to reading the Smoking Gun, the only Norman Wisdom I knew of was the British comedian and actor who played a character called “The Gump”.  He seemed a nice enough fellow, he was immensely popular in Albania and Queen Elizabeth knighted him in 2000. No scandalous behaviour on record unless you count an attempt to convince the Inland Revenue that they didn’t deserve a share of his money.

Norman Wisdom found here

But Norman Wisdom of Missouri, USA, is a different kettle of fish according to this police report…

“At approximately 16:07 hours I was on patrol, stopped at a westbound red light on Highway 24. I observed a female eastbound, also stopped at the light. She was waving frantically at me so I pulled my patrol car in front of her vehicle to make contact. 

image found here

She pointed at the vehicle next to her, which was occupied by a white male. The female advised that the male subject had been following her and rubbing himself. I requested both parties to pull over into a nearby parking lot.

As I was pulling in behind the male subject’s pickup, I observed that he removed two balloons from underneath his shirt. He then removed a white bra which I later recovered behind a dumpster. I also recovered the balloons as well.  I told the subject several times to put his hands on the truck and when he refused I placed him in handcuffs. I identified the male subject as Norman Wisdom.

image found here

The female subject advised that prior to me stopping her, Mr Wisdom had been following her on Highway 24 for several miles. She said that he continued to drive next to her and would pull up beside her at stop lights. Every time she looked at him he would lift his shirt and expose a bra filled with balloons that he was wearing. She said that he would massage the bra and would then raise his crotch and rub it through his jeans.

I wonder if this sort of behaviour would go down well in Albania…..

more great Albanian images here

she had to eject it somewhere

An Environmental Health Inspector wrote this report in 1995 after viewing a performance by Stephanie Evans at the Ice House club

Princess Stephanie NOT Stephanie Evans found here

At 8:30pm Stephanie Evans appeared on stage. Approximately 35 people stood round the stage area to view Ms Evans on her back inserting ping pong balls in her vagina.  She then ejected the balls into the crowd where a small percentage of people attempted to catch the balls in their mouth or hands. Ms Evans agreed to autograph the balls after the show.

image found here

Pizza was available at all times and people ate during and after the show. Unlimited non alcoholic drinks were offered and most patrons had drinks on their table during the ping pong portion of the show. I served myself a slice of pizza from the delivery boxes on the bar. The temperature of the pizza was around 80 degrees F.

pizza art found here

At 10:15 Ms Evans re-appeared on stage. There were approximately 25 drink glasses on the counter that lined the stage from one end to the other being used by customers. There were no pizza slices on plates on the counter however there were people eating at several tables directly in front and to the sides of the stage.

old burlesque stage found here

Ms Evans sat in a large model of a champagne glass filled with liquid. She then rose out of the vessel and ejected water from her vagina into the crowd. Aim did not appear to be a concern. She repeated the actions several times and on the last occasion jumped out of the vessel and walked around the stage. It was obvious she had retained fluid in the orifice and was going to eject it somewhere.

Dita Von Teese found here

A customer was beckoned to move near her groin area whereupon she violently ejected the fluid she had retained directly in the customer’s face then walked back to the vessel to secure additional fluid. In order to observe the event I had to be in rather close proximity to the act but by now Ms Evans was ejecting fluid on almost everyone in the crowd and in order to avoid getting doused I left the establishment.

Wet Men by Francois Rousseau found here

In my judgement, the act of ejecting water from the vagina onto any food then consuming the food could create a health threat. My suggested compliance action would be to prohibit the serving of any food or drinks during any show that involves fluid being violently ejected from a vagina.

mixmaster blong jesus christ

In 1980, journalist Richard Shears flew to Espiritu Santo, the largest island in the nation of Vanuatu. Back then these Melanesian islands were known as the New Hebrides. The islands were administered by Britain and France in what was known as a condominium.

Vanuatu waters by Ben McDarmont found here

“Consequently, some people spoke French, other English. The original inhabitants adopted Bislama, a type of pidgin English. They also used a picture language that seemed to combine a bit of English and pidgin, resulting in a brassiere being described as “basket blong titty”.

image found here

A toothbrush was “broom blong tut” (brush belonging to tooth), a helicopter was “Mixmaster blong Jesus Christ”. 

image found here

At the time of Shears’ visit, the condominium had two police forces and two jails. Foreign visitors who fell foul of the law could elect to be tried either by the French or British system. Most preferred the French because the gendarmes served wine with meals. 

Gendarme by Owen Franken found here

A telex Shears received from the London Mail’s Foreign Desk read “CANST CONFIRM URGENTEST PRINCE PHILIP LAUDED AS GOD BY JUNGLE TRIBE STOP”. He showed this to anthropologist Kirk Huffman who agreed that it was true:

image found here

The villagers’ belief seems to centre on a trip that the Queen and Prince Philip made in 1974 to Vanuatu aboard Britannia. Tannese legend has it that during a reception in the capital Port Vila, the Duke shook only the hands of men from Tanna. This news reached the residents of Yaohnanen, who were waiting for a gift in return for a pig they had given to a British officer some years before. The tribe sent a letter to Port Vila, asking where their gift was and inquiring about the Duke. In response the British delivered a framed portrait of the Duke, and the worship began.

image found here

All his correspondence, newspaper clippings about him and his portraits are kept in a hut that has become a shrine. Children are taught about a god who lives in England and will one day return.The chief of Yaohnanen, said: “We know he is a very old man, but when he comes here he is going to be young again, and so will everyone else on the island.”

image found here

Published in: on June 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm  Comments (47)  
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the mental anguish of seeing stars

Back in 1998, Paul Shimkonis was just enjoying his bachelor party in a Florida nightclub when things got a little out of control

Paul Shimkonis rests his neck

Shimkonis says he was attacked by Tawny Peaks, a 38-year-old exotic dancer and actress hired to perform at the party. According to the Florida man, Tawny approached him and slammed her oversized breasts into his face, knocking him out and giving him whiplash.

Tawny Peaks found here

“I was literally seeing stars,” said Shimkonis.”The best way to describe it is like a concrete block hitting me in the forehead.” Shimkonis filed suit in Pinellas County Court on June 30, seeking more than 15,000 U.S.dollars in damages from the Diamond Dolls club.

image of stars found here

According to the suit, Shimkonis suffered head, neck and other injuries that caused bodily harm, pain, suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish and loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life.

neck air cushion found here

The parties accepted binding arbitration on “The People’s Court” television show and the judge, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, ordered a female bailiff to examine Peaks in private.

wearable breast examination model found here

The bailiff found the breasts to be “soft” and to weigh about 2 pounds (0.9 kg) each. Koch ruled they were not dangerous and refused to award damages.

By  2005, Tawny had shed her oversized implants and put one of them up for auction on ebay.

“Why not … I don’t need it any more. Somebody might bid on it. It’s like the first boob to be sued in a lawsuit,” she said. Peaks said she would autograph the auctioned implant for the winner but would keep its mate “for good measure.”

She explained that she had her size 69-HH implants removed and underwent breast reduction surgery in 1999 after retiring from the business to start a new life. “They were like really big, crazy big,” said Peaks, who described herself now as a mother of three and happily married homemaker.

image found here

balloon riots

The first public demonstration of a lighter-than-air machine took place in 1783, in Annonay, France, when Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, two brothers who owned a paper mill, sent up an unmanned hot-air balloon.

early balloon found here

After their success, the brothers went to Paris and built another larger one. On September 19, 1783, in Versailles, the Montgolfiers flew the first passengers in a basket suspended below a hot-air balloon—a sheep, a rooster, and a duck.

Miss Dietrich with her duck in a basket found here

On August 27, 1783, Jacques Alexandre César Charles launched the first balloon inflated with hydrogen gas in Paris. Unlike the Montgolfier balloon, his hydrogen-inflated balloon was closed to contain the gas. The sphere ascended from the Place des Victories in Paris to a height of nearly 3,000 feet (914 meters) and came down some 15 miles (24 kilometers) away where terrified peasants attacked and destroyed it.

image found here

A flying craze arose in France and Scotland with James Tytler, Scotland’s first aeronaut and the first Briton to fly, but a year after the invention of the balloon, the English were still skeptical, and so George Biggin and ‘Vincent’ Lunardi, “The Daredevil Aeronaut”, decided to demonstrate a hydrogen balloon flight at the Artillery Ground of the Honourable Artillery Company in London in September 1784.

Lunardi found here

Lunardi first tried to obtain permission to go up from the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital. However, somebody else had already beaten him to it – a Frenchman, de Morel, who had made the first attempt with a whimsical hot air balloon shaped like a Chinese temple. This monster declined to leave the ground, which disappointed and infuriated the spectators; in their rage they destroyed the balloon.

image found here

In Lunardi’s case, because the 200,000 strong crowd had grown very impatient with delays in fully inflating the balloon, the young Italian had to take-off without his friend Biggin, but he was accompanied by a dog, a cat and a caged pigeon. The flight travelled in a northerly direction towards Hertfordshire, with Lunardi making a stop in Welham Green, where the cat was set free as it seemed airsick.

flying cat found here

The 24 mile flight brought Lunardi fame and began the ballooning fad that inspired fashions of the day—Lunardi skirts were decorated with balloon styles, and in Scotland, the Lunardi Bonnet was named after him, and is even mentioned by Robert Burns in his poem ‘To a Louse’, written about a young woman called Jenny, who had a louse scampering in her Lunardi bonnet.

balloon bonnet found here

Lunardi went on to build larger and better balloons decorated with Union Jacks, in which manner he ‘wished to express his respects and devotion to everything which the word “British” stands for’. His faithful friend Biggin and a Mrs Letitia Sage, an actress, were to have accompanied him on a trip from Moorefields, but the lifting capacity of the balloon was poor, so Lunardi started alone. Soon afterwards he had to come down again, near Tottenham Court Road, because the envelope turned out to be leaking. The well-tried patience of Biggin was finally rewarded later that year when, on 29 June, he was able to ascend himself, accompanied by Mrs Sage.

Letitia Sage found here

Mrs Sage was described as Junoesque, and apparently weighed in at over 200 pounds. On the day she wore a very low cut silk dress, apparently to aid ‘wind resistance’. Her fellow passenger was the dashing George Biggin, a young and wealthy Old Etonian.

no wind resistance found here

Unfortunately the balloon was overloaded. (Afterwards Mrs Sage blamed herself because she hadn’t told Lunardi her weight and he’d been too polite to ask). Lunardi seemed to have no qualms about stepping out and letting the apparently inexperienced Mr Biggin take to the air with Mrs Sage. Unfortunately in his haste to depart, Lunardi failed to do up the lacings of the gondola door. As the balloon sailed away over Picadilly the beautiful Mrs Sage was on all fours re-threading the lacings to close the door. Apparently the crowd assumed she had fainted and was perhaps receiving some kind of intimate first aid from Mr Biggin.

daisyfae had to lace me into this corset in Chicago 2011

In fact she was coolly re-threading the lacings to make the gondola safe again. In due course the two of them were lunching off sparkling Italian wine and cold chicken, occasionally calling to people below through a speaking trumpet.

The flight followed the line of the Thames westwards finally landing heavily in Harrow on the Hill where the balloon damaged a hedge and gouged a strip through the middle of an uncut hayfield, leaving the farmer ranting abuse and threats. The honour of the first female aeronaut was saved by the young gentlemen/boys of Harrow school who had a whip-round to pay off the farmer and then carried Mrs Sage bodily, in triumph, to the local pub.

Later there was much speculation at Mr Biggin’s club as to whether he had been the first man to “board” a female aeronaut in flight…….

the fully qualified tantric lama

Recently I was reading about Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969), described as an anarchist, occultist, opera singing late bloomer. What a fabulous woman. Here, Janwillem Van De Wetering reviews a biography of her…..

image found here

“Setting out on this review, I feel a slight tremor of fear. Alexandra David-Neel, a bourgeois Parisian, became a fully qualified tantric lama in Tibet when she was 52 years old. Tantric Buddhism has been known to follow the left-handed, or demonic, way.

image found here

Do I dare to discuss a magic entity that is calmly gazing through the screen of my word processor, wearing a rosary necklace of 108 pieces of human skull, an apron of carved human bones, and holding a phurba, the higher-sphere crystal dagger that kills ghosts but may also seriously disturb or even switch off the regular flesh-and-blooded, by penetrating our astral bodies?

image found here

Mme. David-Neel was a compulsive traveler, an explorer, a feminist, a prolific and internationally popular writer and an acknowledged authority on Buddhist ritual. Her stay at Kum Bum monastery in Amdo Province made her familiar with spells. She did cause a sudden thunderstorm out of the blue to frighten bandits off while traveling across the arid highlands of the ”roof of the world,” she did warm herself by tumo, or ”pit of the stomach,” meditation, making flames embrace her when she ran out of fuel and food in deep snow, and on a lower spiritual plane, she did carry a modern automatic seven-shot pistol that she fired at least once, aiming at a brigand who tried to steal her last tin spoon.

museum near the monastery found here

Fortunately, she didn’t kill him. Practicing Buddhists try to avoid taking life. David-Neel did eat meat products, though, including the soles of her boots, and in a drafty tent at 50 degrees below zero she slurped maggoty stew cooked by a substance-abusing butcher. David-Neel traveled in a time when Britain ruled not only waves but also mountains. The British secret service was wary of the mysterious Frenchwoman who hobnobbed with Oriental princes and high lamas in palaces and fortresses where political plans were hatched.

image found here

She endlessly milked money out of Philip Neel, her hardworking husband. Showing a prudish image to her royalty-paying public, she hid an affair with a stagehand, a live-in relationship with a fellow artist in France and an invitation to be seduced on her future husband’s yacht in Tunisia. Perhaps, if we may follow her biographers’ hint, she participated in tantric sex, the free-for-all physical activity in which masters and disciples partake in order to raise their spirits toward detachment. She disapproved of this ”promiscuity of embarrassments,” but then, you see, she wasn’t really there, she was just hiding in a hayloft. (She peeked.) She had a violent temper that very few – indeed, only Aphur Yongden, her faithful associate, and, in her old age, her secretary, Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet -were able to handle.

homes for sale in Tunisia here

Calling herself a rational Buddhist, she tried to live well, taking a hot bath every day (a coolie carried the bathtub), eating gourmet meals (she never cooked herself), riding good horses and being carried by sturdy bearers. When Lhasa, the political and spiritual capital, couldn’t be reached that way, she walked, crawled, lived on boiled water and dirt, became seriously ill, begged, and pretended to be a servant to her servant (who later became her adopted son and companion, Lama Yongden, a source of much jealousy to her husband). She reached the forbidden holy city, the first foreign woman to ever do so.

Lama Yongden found here

In 1928 Alexandra legally separated from Philippe, but they continued to exchange letters and he kept supporting her till his death in 1941. Alexandra settled in Provence, and continued to study and write till her death at age nearly 101.

Published in: on May 22, 2012 at 8:57 am  Comments (46)  
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goatish gonads

One of our favourite characters here at the Gimcrack is Dr Serge Voronoff who has been mentioned in not one, not two, but three posts before. Serge was responsible for transplanting bits of monkey testes into aging men. John Brinkley went one step further – he became a millionaire during the twenties by transplanting goat glands instead.

Brinkley and wife found here

While working as house doctor at the Swift meatpacking company, he was dazzled by the vigorous mating activities of the goats destined for the slaughterhouse. Later, after Brinkley had gone into private practice, a farmer named Stittsworth came to see him. Stittsworth complained of a sagging libido. Recalling the goats’ frantic antics, the doctor semi-jokingly told his patient that what he needed was some goat glands. Stittsworth quickly responded, “So, Doc, put ‘em in. Transplant ‘em.”

image found here

Most doctors would have ignored the bizarre request, but Brinkley was not like most doctors. In fact, he wasn’t a doctor at all. Although he had spent three years at Bennet Medical College in Chicago, he’d never graduated. He called himself a doctor on the basis of a $500 diploma he had purchased from the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City.

“Eclectic” found here

Buying a degree from a diploma mill was not out of character for Brinkley. He had worked as a snake-oil salesman in a road show, and then, with fellow con man James Crawford, established Greenville Electro Medical Doctors. Under this name the pair injected people with colored distilled water for $25 a shot. Brinkley, therefore, had all he needed to capitalize on the farmer’s idea of goat-gland transplants: he was unethical, he had a wobbly knowledge of medicine, and he had witnessed the rambunctious behavior of goats.

image found here

Brinkley went to work, implanting a small piece of goat gonad in Stittsworth’s testicle. Soon the farmer was thanking the doctor for giving him back his libido. And when his wife gave birth to a boy, whom they appropriately named Billy, Stittsworth spread the word further. Brinkley’s business was booming and even at $750 per transplant, he couldn’t keep up with demand. All men needed the Brinkley operation, he declared, but the procedure was most suited to the intelligent and least suited to the “stupid type.” This, of course, ensured that few of his patients would admit that they had not benefited from the operation.

Baby Billy Bob found here

Revenue from the surgeries made Brinkley an immensely wealthy man. For $5,000, he would even implant genuine human glands, which he obtained from prisoners on death row. He had mansions, a fleet of Cadillacs, airplanes, and yachts.There were occasional problems like when Brinkley decided to use angora goat testicles instead of those from the more common Toggenberg goat. Recipients of the angora testicles were unhappy—Brinkley himself noted that they reeked like a steamy barn in midsummer. 

image found here

But ultimately Brinkley couldn’t cure himself. The Milford Messiah—as he was sometimes called—the man who had performed over 16,000 goat testicle transplants, the man who appropriately wore a goatee all his life, developed a blood clot, forcing doctors to amputate his leg. Till the very end, Brinkley’s scheming mind remained active. Confined to bed, he decided to study for the ministry and had visions of becoming a big-time preacher but he died before he could complete his degree.

the mesmerising dentist

Rachael Weaver uncovers an old Sydney murder case…..

News of the tragedy began with reports of an inquest into the violent death of Henry Kinder on 7 October 1865. Kinder was an official at the City Bank and lived with his young family in a comfortable home on Sydney’s north shore. Originally an Englishman, Kinder had arrived in the colonies from New Zealand with his wife, Maria, two years earlier.

image found here

The evidence presented at the inquest was of a man who was restless and excitable, smoked heavily, was careless about his personal appearance and anxious about unpaid debts. Bertrand, a successful Sydney dentist who saw the Kinders socially every day, deposed that Kinder had been drinking freely, that he had challenged Bertrand to a duel, and that he was jealous of his wife with everyone.

image found here

According to Bertrand and Maria Kinder they had been in the Kinders’ drawing room with Henry Kinder and Bertrand’s wife Jane on Monday evening when Kinder suddenly shot himself in the head. Dr Eichler described having been called in around five hours later to treat a large laceration, which had caused Kinder’s ear to hang away from its proper place. The wound had torn his face open from the jaw to the temple. Eichler described his treatments before offering his opinion that the deceased was an imbecile. Kinder was awake and remained conscious throughout the week, lingering until the Friday when he died.

image found here

The inquest into the death of Henry Kinder caused ‘some sensation’ at the time. But this was nothing compared with the outpouring of public excitement two months later, when Henry Bertrand, his wife Jane Bertrand and Maria Kinder were charged with Kinder’s murder. The sensation surrounding the case arose from the idea of ‘profligacy, and something akin to madness, occurring in a respectable circle’.

the respectability question found here

Those involved were young, good-looking, affluent and fashionable. Their relationships were wildly unorthodox and everyone who had come within their orbit had strange tales to tell. Maria Kinder was invested with a seductive malice and Henry Bertrand with deep eccentricities and charisma. Bertrand’s distinctive traits and peculiar behaviour added greatly to the case’s sense of intrigue, but perhaps most fascinating of all was his professed ability to control others using hypnosis.

image found here

If analysts of the case loved to dwell on Bertrand’s dangerous powers of hypnosis, they were perhaps even more seduced by the idea of Maria Kinder as a femme fatale, whose passions had driven the men around her to insanity and murder. Perceptions of her magnetic sexuality, infidelity, gold-digging and cunning criminality coalesced with stereotypes of the evil woman that were circulating in the sensational popular fiction of the time.

Femme Fatale by Patrick Demarchelier found here

Maria Kinder first met Henry Bertrand as a patient at his Wynyard Square practice, and their relationship quickly evolved into an illicit affair. They did little to conceal it from family and friends, who seem to have looked on with a peculiar level of acceptance. They used Bertrand’s young assistant, Alfred Burne, as messenger and he carried letters between them. 

Wynyard Square c 1938 found here

Shortly after the lovers met, Francis Jackson, another key figure in the case, arrived on the scene. He had been Maria Kinder’s lover in New Zealand and upon meeting again in Sydney, Jackson and Maria Kinder quickly rekindled their affair. During his testimony at the trial he described having orchestrated drinking sessions with Henry Kinder so that he could have his way with Maria when the banker fell unconscious. Meanwhile Bertrand sought to play his rivals, Jackson and Kinder, against each other. He tried to incite Kinder to violence and then threatened to implicate Jackson in Kinder’s death if he remained in Sydney. To get him out of the way, Bertrand offered to pay Jackson’s passage back to New Zealand and Jackson took the money and departed, but travelled only as far as Maitland in regional New South Wales.

Maitland floods 2007 found here

Meanwhile, Bertrand was also plotting against Kinder. He asked his assistant, Alfred Burne, if he knew where a pistol could be bought, and they arranged to purchase one from a city pawnshop. Bertrand turned up disguised as a woman.  The next morning Bertrand asked Alfred Burne to buy a sheep’s head from the butcher. Back at his Wynyard Square surgery he cast his own bullets before testing them out by firing at the sheep’s head.

sheep’s head found here

Just two weeks later Kinder was dead. According to Jane Bertrand’s testimony, she and Maria Kinder had been standing by the window arranging flowers when they heard a shot. They turned to see Kinder drooping in his seat by the piano, a pistol falling from his hand, Bertrand standing over him. Dr Eichler was sent for and arrived a few hours later. Kinder was conscious but sank into a wordless stupor when the doctor told him to put his affairs in order.

flower arrangement found here

The next day, Eichler examined Kinder again and found him much improved. That evening at the dental surgery Bertrand showed to Alfred Burne a phial of white liquid, telling him it was the poison he would use to murder Kinder. On 6 October Kinder died. 

Following the coroner’s inquest into Henry Kinder’s death, Bertrand and Maria Kinder continued their affair. She came to live with Bertrand and his wife, who was sometimes forced to share a bed with the lovers—a salacious detail that generated nearly as much moral outrage as the murder itself. 

Meanwhile, Bertrand received a letter from Francis Jackson attempting to blackmail him by threatening to expose his relationship with Maria Kinder and his involvement in Henry Kinder’s death. Bertrand’s surgery was searched and his diary, a bottle marked poison, a pistol, gunpowder, caps and a tomahawk were seized. Bertrand was charged with murder.

image found here

Despite testimony that she had mixed the poison that had killed Kinder, a charge of murder against Jane Bertrand was dropped. Maria Kinder, likewise, escaped further prosecution due to lack of evidence. Bertrand was tried alone. After deliberating for twenty hours without reaching agreement, the jury was dismissed. A second trial began and was concluded the following day. This time the jury returned a guilty verdict and Bertrand was sentenced to death.

The Kinder Tragedy was described as the greatest criminal case on record in the Australian colonies. Keeping interest in the case alive was the fact that Bertrand had evaded the death penalty. From time to time he was moved to a new prison, and a fresh spate of newspaper articles recalling the case would appear. New Zealand’s Wanganui Chronicle reported in September 1879 that he had been relocated to Darlinghurst, and was ‘considered a valuable acquisition to that institution’. Maria Kinder made the news just once after the trial had ended, in July 1867, when she announced her marriage to a Mr Stanley Williams of Greymouth, New Zealand.

Darlinghurst jail, now the National Art School

By far the greatest rekindling of interest in the case, however, came in 1894 with Bertrand’s release after twenty-eight years in prison. Maria Kinder was dead by then. After a night or two spent at the Hotel Metropole in Sydney, Bertrand left Australia for good. It is believed he went to live under an assumed name in Paris.

Chinese George

George Ernest Morrison (1862 – 1920), also known as Chinese Morrison, was an Australian adventurer and The Times Peking correspondent.

image found here

He was born in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. During a vacation before his tertiary education, he walked from Geelong to Adelaide, a distance of about 600 miles (960 km). Landing at Normanton, Queensland at the end of 1882 Morrison decided to walk to Melbourne. He was not quite 21, he had no horses or camels and was unarmed, but carrying his swag and swimming or wading the rivers in his path, he walked the 2043 miles in 123 days.

image of Geelong found here

Financed by The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison was sent on an exploration journey to New Guinea. The men Morrison chose to accompany him were a mixed and mostly comical lot. They included Ned Snow “remarkably short and of such eccentric configuration that, whereas his body seemed longer than his legs, his head appeared more lengthy than either’. There was a Malay named Cheerful (possibly because he was an opium smoker) and another, Lively, who was “curious”.

Mud Men from New Guinea found here

High mountain country barred the way, and it took 38 days to cover 50 miles. The natives became hostile, and Morrison was struck by two spears, one, driven into his head near his right eye, the other deep in his stomach. Retracing their steps, with Morrison strapped to a horse, Port Moresby was reached after many days. On a ship taking him home he blew his nose and shot out a two centimetre splinter of wood. 

image found here

In Melbourne, 169 agonising days after the ambush, a surgeon removed the spearhead that was wedged in the back of his throat. Without anaesthetic the surgeon took the tip of the spear (six centimetres long) through and up the throat and into then out of Morrison’s right nostril.

He sailed for London on 27 March 1884, where he had the second spearhead cut from his abdomen by surgeon Joseph Bell in front of no less than 16 other surgeons. Morrison graduated as a doctor from Edinburgh University two and a half years later. After graduation he travelled extensively in the United States, the West Indies, and Spain. He then proceeded to Morocco, became physician to the Shereef of Wazan, and studied in Paris under Dr Charcot. In Siam, where the British and French were vying for power, he worked as a British secret agent. 

George found here

In 1894 he journeyed from Shanghai to Rangoon. He went partly by boat up the Yangtze River then rode and walked the remainder of the 3000 miles. The journey was completed in 100 days at a total cost of £18. He was unarmed and at the time knew hardly more than a dozen words of Chinese. 

Yangtze found here

In 1899 he went to England, and early in 1900 paid a short visit to his relations in Australia before returning to Peking. The Boxer Uprising broke out soon after, and during a prolonged siege, Morrison showed great courage, always ready to volunteer for every service of danger. Superficially wounded in July, he was erroneously reported as killed. He was afterwards able to read his highly laudatory obituary notice, which occupied two columns of The Times.

Boxer uprising found here

Morrison was a handsome, heroic man of action, much admired by women. In Spain he was captivated by a young girl named Pepita. In Paris he spent all his savings on Noelle and in Rangoon he had an idyllic affair with a Eurasian named Mary. In London, aged 43, he fell heavily for Toni, a 22 year old Hungarian. In Peking, he lusted briefly for Bessie and while visiting Sydney, spent time with a German actress. May, an insatiable American heiress, had him in the shadow of the Great Wall. He was spellbound by her sexuality and described her as the most thoroughly immoral woman. His diary contained an account of her industrious love life:

shadowy Great Wall found here

“May played with herself every morning even after passing the night in bed with a man. Seduced by a doctor, she went to Washington, slept constantly with Congressman Gaines, had four miscarriages, kissed all the way over Siberia by Captain Tremain Smith. Had for days in succession by Martin Egan. Her desire now is to get a Japanese maid to accompany her back to America and to kiss her every morning. In Tientson she had the Dutch consul and Mr Holcombe had her four times in two hours….”

Japanese maids found here

Morrison was dejected when May dumped him but at the age of 53, he married his thirty years younger assistant, Jennie. They had seven happy years together before he died of pancreatitis in May 1920.  

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