“There was an unpleasant smell, so I put the case down and touched the towel with my toe,” he later told police, “I went away – and left it there.”
With the fetid, mysterious package now sitting inside an open suitcase on the beach, it didn’t take long for curious young minds to investigate further.
It was 12-year-old Eunice Clair, who would soon make one of Sydney’s most gruesome discoveries.
Less rattled than William, she picked up the towel and loosened the string, before reeling back in horror.
Inside was the body of a dead baby girl. She was just three weeks old.
Around her fragile neck was a firmly wrapped cord. And stuffed down her tiny throat was a white muslin handkerchief.
Her name was Josephine.
Police launched an investigation that revealed the newborn was thrown overboard, from a ferry that was bound for Mosman.