It seemed quite the fashion in 1920s Australia for some men to run from their responsibilities.
The Sydney Morning Herald stepped in, beginning a regular report from Deserting Wives and Families Service Incorporated, which called on the public to help round up these ne’er do wells. In this instance one Godfrey Carr Tully, a wool classer from Mosman.
In the 1920’s, wife desertion was commonplace in Australia, perhaps as a result of WW1 and the Great Depression. Image: NSWSL.
Tully was a repeat offender. The North Sydney Bench had issued a warrant for his arrest after it was discovered he’d run afoul of a magisterial order, and subsequently run out on his family. The warrant demanded he pay support owing to his long-suffering wife, Alice, and their child – the princely sum of £284 – just shy of $20,000 in today’s coin.
“He is 30 years of age, about 5 feet 7 inches high; medium build; fair complexion and hair; clean shaved; blue eyes; and a large scar under the right ear.” And in need of a tailor and a dentist, it seemed: “[His] front teeth in upper jaw [are] very prominent… He was dressed in a dark-grey, soft felt hat and a sac suit.” Sac suits offered very little tailoring, being a box-shaped jacket atop baggy breeches, and were cheaper.
It remains unclear if Tully was indeed found lurking nearby, or whether Alice and her child had ever banked a cent.
Godfrey Carr Tully and his wife eventually divorced, according to newspaper articles at the time.
This week in history also saw Mosman Council bravely approach ratepayers with details of a £100,000 loan it wished to pursue in April 1923. Sandwiched between a World War and a global depression, it would have been hard to see this as a fabulous investment. So, when ratepayers fronted Council this week in 1923 demanding it cease pursuing yet another loan, lobbing a petition at management, as it was no secret who would ultimately foot the bill. Again.