Freaks Died & So Did Romance

florence andersonIF ever a man has had his up and downs in life — mostly downs — it’s Albert George Anderson of the Beach Hotel, Newcastle. He has been an S.P. book-maker, so his wife, Mrs. Florence Marguerita Anderson, told Mr. Justice Edwards in the Divorce Court on Thursday. He failed at that. He has been a course fielder at Newcastle. He failed at that, too. And he has gone on the roads with sideshows and not picked up too many riches that way either. Indeed, side shows, according to a letter he wrote to Mrs. Anderson, can cause headaches because he complained one time that two of their ‘freaks’ were dead — the ‘skeleton man’ died, and their pigmy was drowned. But, if he has had his bad luck, so has Mrs. Ander-son, who never had much of a married life, and now that its failure cannot be remedied she has asked for and been given a decree on the ground of his desertion.

Mrs. Anderson is now in her 44th year but does not look it. She is a year younger -than Anderson, whose wife she became in New Zealand on August 3, 1927. By 1929 they were in Australia. Mrs. Anderson, whose present home is 51 Upper Pitt St., Kirribilli, said that they came to Australia on a holiday and have been here ever since. But when he arrived Anderson did not takie a job — he took ill and ended up in Waterfall Sanatorium for a couple of years, so Mrs. Anderson said. Then he started S.P. bookmaking at Bulli, but she remained working at the job which she had taken when he went into Waterfall. “The S.P. business was not successful,” she added. Anderson’s next job was selling forestry bonds around New South Wales, and then he went travelling with sideshows, though at one stage he was shouting the odds at Broad-meadow, Mrs. Anderson said. He ceased his bookmaking when she returned from New Zealand this year after a stay of two years, in her native land. Mrs. Anderson said that she saw him in Newcastle, where she had gone for a varia-tion of a main-tenance order which she had against him and before she commenced her divorce proceedings.

Going back through the years, Mrs. Anderson said that while he was at Bulli she suggested he give the S.P up and come to live with her. When he went on to the road with the travelling shows he told her that he was of no use to her, because he was moving about and he could not settle down. Mrs. Anderson said she did not hear from him for two years. She then consulted a solicitor and had a war-rant issued for his arrest in Queensland and Victoria, but he turned up in Sydney. He had been to America as well.

“We have corresponded always with each other,” she said, producing a letter he wrote to her. In that epistle, he told of his jour-neyings through the country at vari-ous places such as Maitland, Singleton and Newcastle. Next he told her that the bookmaking business had not been a great success (in 1943) and unless he got on to a bit of money at Christmas he wouldn’t take out a licence the following year. “I took out a bookmaker’s licence,” he told her in one letter written on November 16, 1943, “and worked on the course at the Newcastle meetings but with disastrous results. I lost the few quid I had saved and am back to scratch again.”

In another letter, he told her “Well, the show business is also at a very low ebb just now, although we are still showing. It has been no good, and on top of that we have lost two of the only three freaks we had left. “Bill Barlow, the Skeleton Man, died after a short illness, then the following week Tommy the Pigmy that I brought back from America got drowned in a canal right at the carnival in one of the suburbs of Newcastle.” Mrs. Anderson, who said that An-derson was now the manager of an hotel in Newcastle, was given a de-cree. Mr. Allan Uther (Messrs. Uther and Mansfield, for Mr. J. H. Yeldham of N. Sydney) for Mrs. Anderson.

Truth (Sydney) Sunday 7 September 1947.

 

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