Tuesday, 25 December 2018

A Demented Husband

A Demented Husband 

Port River - Photo ©Allen Tiller 2016

On the 27th of December 1910 the body of 38-year-old Glanville Greengrocer, William Finch Battye, was found floating face down in the Port River. Thought to be a suicide, an inquest into how and why he was dead launched. An inquest that would uncover a far deeper tragedy.

A couple of years prior to his death, William had married Annie Campbell Othen on the 30th of September 1908 in Port Adelaide. Seven months later, a baby boy was born, William George, on the 13th of May 1908
 From all reports at the time, the couple seemed like they were in love and very happy, so why would William Senior kill himself?

The police arrived on Carlisle Street, Port Adelaide at 1am on the 27th of December 1910 after reports of a fire at the address. First on the scene was Corporeal J.J. Maloney, who later stated in court, that when he arrived, he saw the body of a woman and small child on the balcony of the premises. He was later informed by the fire chief, that they had removed the burnt corpse from the bed, and placed it on the balcony.
 The Corporeal searched the house and found on the bed a broken aerated-water bottle, the other half of which was laying on the floor. He found a tin of kerosene near the bed, but could not smell kerosene in the burnt bedding, nor in the clothing of the victims. There were a candle and a box of matches on the nightstand, but no spent matches in the room.

Further investigation revealed an expired fire insurance policy, and a life insurance policy for £250, which had been taken out on the December 8th, 1910. Also found was £9 in banknotes, two half-sovereigns, and 12/- in silver and a watch and chain, from which the constable concluded it was most probable that the deaths were not part of a robbery.

No evidence was found to determine the cause of the fire…

Annie and baby William had wounds on their heads, but that had not been the cause of death, they had both suffocated to death in the fire. Their bodies had been severely burnt in the house fire, but, William Snr’s body, pulled from the Port River, had also been badly burnt, but he was not found in the remains of the burnt building. 

After hearing evidence from the brother of Annie, and a brother of William, and also from Corporeal Mahoney, Dr W J Gething, the Battye family doctor gave his evidence.
 In his conclusions, he stated that William Snr’s burn wounds were sufficient to have caused his death before he died of drowning in the river.

Dr Ramsey Smith, City Coroner delivered his verdict on whether the case was a murder-suicide, a robbery that went horrifically wrong, or something else. He stated:

“It would be evident that the three deaths were connected in some way, but the connection was purely a matter of conjecture. There were many possibilities, and, although in some cases a conjecture might amount to an almost moral certainty, it could not be said that that was so in the present case. To conclude on the evidence given that the husband murdered his wife and child, set fire to the house, and drowned himself would be legally unjustified. Verdicts must be founded on the facts of the evidence, and on the inferences, that could logically and legally be drawn from them. In the present case, there were many possibilities, and perhaps not a few probabilities. The fact that the husband's body was found in the water with marks of burning on it would alone make one hesitate even to suggest a theory of suicide. The verdict in the case.”

“Of Annie Campbell Battye was that she came to her death at Glanville on or about December 27, 1910, by suffocation, and the evidence did not show the cause of the fire. In the case of William.”
“George Battye, the verdict was that he came to his death at Glanville on or about December 27, 1910, by suffocation by fire, and the evidence did not show the cause of the fire. “
“In the case of William Finch Battye, the verdict was that he came to his death at Port Adelaide on or about December 28, 1910, by drowning and the evidence did not show how he came to be in the water.”

It is most likely we will never know what really happened to the seemingly loving Battye family leading up to their deaths, even the Coroner was unwilling to speculate. Whatever the case may have been, robbery, murder or murder-suicide, the Battye family met a horrible and tragic death.
May they Rest In Peace…

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2015


1910 'GLANVILLE TRAGEDY.', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1889 - 1931), 30 December, p. 6. , viewed 27 Jan 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article5227602

1910 'SIMPLE TRAGEDY.', The South Eastern Times (Millicent, SA: 1906 - 1954), 30 December, p. 3. , viewed 27 Jan 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article200002571

1910 'THE GLANVILLE TRAGEDY', The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide, SA: 1867 - 1922), 29 December, p. 1. (4 o'clock.), viewed 27 Jan 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210005434

South Australia Police Gazette Indexes, 1862-1947. Ridgehaven, South Australia: Gould Genealogy and History, 2009.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Kangaroo Island UFO Sightings: 1964 & 1998

Kangaroo Island UFO Sightings: 1964 & 1998

August 1969, apprentice radio technician, Alan Potter was working at the Adelaide Airport, servicing a radar unit. He tracked a Fokker Friendship aeroplane flying from Adelaide to Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, when suddenly, another object appeared on the radar, coming from the direction of Port Lincoln.
 From the second object, a smaller object appeared to leave, and fly towards the Fokker Friendship aeroplane in a straight line.[1]

 The two signals met abruptly over Rapid Bay before the smaller one returned to the larger one. Was it a UFO? Mr Potter believed it could have been.[2]

Potter worked in the Department of Civil Aviation for 25 years and was quoted on ABC Radio as saying of the incident; "I still don't think I believe in UFO’s but I can't explain this."[3]
Mr Potter stated further; "As the Fokker tracked towards Kangaroo Island, a smaller echo, much smaller than the Fokker, appeared to leave the large echo and fly in a line directly towards the [plane]."
"With one rotation of the radar antennae, that large echo had moved 70 nautical miles to the north-east, in the next pass it had disappeared off the screen completely."

More recently, in 1998, two people witnessed a UFO at Snelling Beach, Kangaroo Island.[4]
 According to the AUFORN website, on March 28th, 1998, at around 10pm, two people witnessed a yellowish white light on the hillside. The witness described the night as being cloudy with stars and the moon not visible. The light moved slowly south along the valley just above the tree line, moving with “smooth fluid acceleration”.

 The witness watched the light move through the valley. As he watched, the light changed direction and came towards him. The colour then changed from yellow to intense white as it changed from a tennis ball size to a dinner plate size. It then changed direction once again, moving away from the witness, dropping its light intensity and size back to the tennis ball equivalent. 

 A little later the witness watched the light, and another light which came from the south, sit near each other for a small amount of time, before both went over the hillside and out of sight.
The object was reportedly silent the entire time it was viewed.

Have you seen a UFO – let us know over on our facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/TheHauntsOfAdelaide/

Researched and written by Allen Tiller ©2018

[1] National Geographic, (2018), The UFO Sighting on Kangaroo Island: Was Australia visited by aliens in the 1960s?, National Geographic, retrieved from; https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/australia/the-ufo-sighting-on-kangaroo-island.aspx
[2] Gorton, Stan, (2018), A UFO sighting near Kangaroo Island: National Geographic, The Islander, retrieved from; https://www.theislanderonline.com.au/story/5304616/a-ufo-sighting-near-kangaroo-island-national-geographic/
[3] Williamson, B., (2017), Untold Stories: The day I saw an unidentified flying object, ABC Radio Adelaide, retrieved from; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-09/the-day-i-saw-an-unidentified-flying-object/8600366
[4] UFOInfo, (2018), Snelling Beach, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, March 28th, 1998, UFO Sighting Report – Australia, AUFORN, retrieved from; http://www.ufoinfo.com/sightings/australia/980328.shtml

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Kate Cocks: Pt V(b): The Stolen Generation

Kate Cocks: Pt V(b): The Stolen Generation

 “It was proposed that a small cottage home be established for young women whose moral weaknesses have led them into difficulties from which they are unable to extricate themselves without some competent spiritual and material assistance, and which may necessitate their remaining hidden from the public for a time, or a severance from undesirable environment and influences”.
(Kate Cocks quoted in Mission Story, Ivor Bailey May 1987 p.50.)

  Goings on at The Kate Cocks Memorial Home for Babies were shrouded in secrecy, out of sight, out of mind. The reasons were two-fold in the eyes of the board. Firstly they considered an unwed mother a shameful act, secondly, keeping an air of secrecy about what the service does, would hopefully prevent children adopted out, coming back to the home later in life, asking questions about their mothers.
The pregnant mothers themselves were forced to earn their keep scrubbing floors, and doing dishes and other chores around the complex until their babies were born.

 The outrage that followed the scandal of the Stolen Generation, The Forgotten Children and the Forced Adoption scandal was palpable, and repercussions from it, are still being felt today.
  Victims often felt coerced, and it was common practice to ignore the three-week adopting out policy, and get the paperwork signed before the young mother could change her mind.

The Uniting Church issued the following apology in 2011 for the part they played in the scandal after being exposed to a Government inquiry


 If mothers involved in the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home were coerced or forced to give their children up for adoption we unreservedly apologise to those affected. If children involved in the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home were forcibly removed from their parents, we unreservedly apologise to those affected.

Kate Cocks is much revered in some circles as South Australia’s first policewoman, as a social reformer, and as a strong and influential woman who changed lives. In other circles, she is seen as a single-minded, brash opportunist who at every turn tried to force her religious views on society, to some she is baby stealer and a wrecker of family stability.

 Whether you are for, against, or sit on the fence with your opinion of Kate Cocks and the life she led, one must remember that in the times that she lived, she forged ahead with what she believed and left her mark on the world, a single woman in a man’s world.

 Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2018


1917 '"AUBERT" OF SYDNEY', Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 - 1924), 17 August, p. 3. , viewed 15 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article124862828

1917 'FORTUNE TELLERS', Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA: 1910 - 1924), 25 June, p. 3. , viewed 15 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article105413206

1936 'Life Story Of Miss Kate Cocks', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), 6 October, p. 8. , viewed 07 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article47749666

1936 'MINLATON', The Pioneer (Yorketown, SA: 1898 - 1954), 10 July, p. 1. , viewed 15 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article199187964

1936 'The Record of a Pioneer Woman', The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931 - 1954), 13 October, p. 10. , viewed 07 Aug 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74327050

Bailey, Ivor (1987). Mission story: the story of the Adelaide Central Mission. The Mission, [Adelaide}

Cole, Christine A & Kashin, Janice & New South Wales. Department of Community Services (2008). Releasing the past: mothers' stories of their stolen babies. Sasko Veljanov, Yagoona, N.S.W

Find & Connect, 2018, Methodist Home for Babies and Unmarried Mothers (1937 - 1954), Commonwealth of Australia, viewed 6 August 2018, https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/sa/SE01222


Kelton, S., (2015, April 27). What was life like for SA’s first female cops?, The Advertiser, retrieved from https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/what-was-life-like-for-sas-first-female-cops/news-story/b1e6f00debd310fa8f9561ae0c17f871

Kemp, M, (2011). Uniting Church admits to forced adoption, The Advertiser. Retrieved from https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/uniting-church-admits-to-forced-adoption/news-story/365457a0b160eed0e4d0a5d43186f6df

Marie Mune, 'Cocks, Fanny Kate (1875–1954)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cocks-fanny-kate-5705/text9645, published first in hardcopy 1981, accessed online 15 August 2018.

S.A.’s Greats: The men and women of the North Terrace plaques, edited by John Healey (Adelaide: Historical Society of South Australia Inc., 2001

Uniting Church of South Australia & UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide Inc (2011), Joint Submission to the Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices 2011 Inquiry - Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs. Retrieved from https://www.unitingcommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Joint-Submission-to-the-Senate-Inquiry-on-Former-Forced-Adoption-Policies.pdf

Williamson, B., (2015, Dec 3), A controversial start: Celebrating 100 years of women in South Australian Police force, ABC Radio

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Kate Cocks: Pt V(a): The Stolen Generation

Kate Cocks: Pt V(a): The Stolen Generation

 (As this is a long and contentious issue, this post will be spread out over a couple of weeks.)

In 1935, after serving 20 years in the South Australian Police Force, Kate Cocks retired from her position. Her main reason for leaving the police force was to care for her elderly dying mother.
 Cocks, during her career in the police force, had often given so much of herself helping others, that she became known as “the friend of the down and outs”.
 Often, she had allowed homeless girls to stay at her house at Parkside and later suggested the Methodist Women’s Association open a home for women and children to find shelter. That home was eventually opened, located at 46 Wattle Avenue, Brighton in Old Oxford House, a former training college for young Methodist men, then a nursing home for a short time.

The Methodist Women’s Home Mission Association invited Cocks to become a voluntary superintendent of the home. Cocks, even in retirement, worked tirelessly in the home, taking in unmarried girls and their newly born babies. Cocks relied on her strong religious faith, with her welfare efforts an extension of her unwavering religious zeal and enforcing her own personal motto; “prevention is better than reformation”.
 For Cocks, taking children away from a situation that could cause them harm, whether it be an abusive father, a poor family, or a mentally unstable parent, was better for a child in the long term over reformation.

  Additions to The Methodist Home for Babies and Unmarried Mothers included the Wyld Maternity Home, an enclosed playground, and an extension of the wards and rooms. Later, in 1967, The Kate Cocks Memorial Adoption Agency was added to the complex.
 After her death in 1954, the complex was renamed in Cocks honour as The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home until 1976 when the institution was closed. 

 The organisation continued as a daycare facility as part of the Central Methodists Mission, with the Adoption section of the organisation closing in 1978.
 The Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home and many other church organisations have been accused of taking part in forced adoptions and being directly involved with the Aboriginal stolen generation.

 The following Women’s Welfare Department Annual Report from 1954 emphasis’s the organisation's view of unwed mothers, adopting out of their children, and the shame it brought to the mother and her family.
 According to the organisation;

 ‘Of the sins in this world a babe out of wedlock is not the worst, but the young mother carries the whole burden, often in the face of resentful intolerance. It is to help her through the difficult time and to make it possible for a new start and a second chance that the Methodist Home for Girls exists. Worked in conjunction with the Babies’ Home and with the facilities of the Wyld Maternity Home, the girls live normal lives under careful supervision; and the babes make their appearance with the help of qualified staff and doctors. It is not for these tiny people to bear the burden of their parents’ wrong-doing and whether they go home with the mother, stay on in the Babies’ Home, or are adopted into new families, their first few weeks are spend under their mothers’ care, and Matron’s supervision. Fifty girls have passed through the Home during the year.’

 Women’s Welfare Department Annual Report – Methodist Conference – 1954 PR 9/38

 According to an Advertiser article published in 2011, The Uniting Church of South Australia had previously denied the practise of forced adoptions but now accepted that it was “highly likely” (as quoted by Uniting Care Wesley chief executive, Simon Schrapel, 2011).

Schrapel was also stated in the article; “He said the decision to accept responsibility came after church leaders had read moving accounts to a current Senate inquiry into forced adoptions, which many victims said occurred at the Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home at Brighton.”

 Next Week: Kate Cocks: Pt V(b): The Stolen Generation

Bibliography on final post.