Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Adelaide Part 1 – Humbug Scrub Wildlife Sanctuary

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Adelaide Part 1 – Humbug Scrub Wildlife Sanctuary

"I have seen few such cities, so pretty, so orderly and so self-sufficing," 

 so wrote Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his book, The Wanderings of a Spiritualist, after a visit to Adelaide in 1920.[1]
The author of Sherlock Holmes was in Adelaide in 1920 as part of a nationwide tour of talks about spiritualism. Conan Doyle was a great believer in the movement, having first discovered the spiritualist movement in 1886.

Conan Doyle had read a book by influential American spiritualist, Judge John Worth Edmunds, who had made claims that he had been able to communicate with his dead wife. This led to Doyle seeking out spiritualists in Southsea (UK), and participate in table turning sittings.
In 1893, Conan Doyle became a member of the British Society for Psychical Research, a group formed in Cambridge that aimed to investigate claims of paranormal phenomena and spiritualism with scientific analysis.

 Conan Doyle became engrossed in spiritualism, and believed that “thought transference”, or telepathy was real. In 1917, he began to give public lectures about spiritualism and his own findings on the subject.
 He became so obsessed with spiritualism he virtually gave up writing fictional novels, and instead concentrated almost entirely on paranormal study and his spiritualism pursuits.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at Humbug Scrub 
 While in Adelaide, Conan Doyle made time to visit the South Australian Museum, the Art Gallery and the Botanical Gardens on North Terrace. He stayed in the Grand Central Hotel, which was located on the corner of Rundle Street & Pulteney Street. The Grand Central Hotel was pulled down during 1975-1976 to make way for a carpark, and today is better known as the Hungry Jacks with the Rundle Street Lantern, above it.

Conan Doyle spoke highly of Adelaide, but his favourite part of his entire journey was a visit to the Humbug Scrub Wildlife Sanctuary with then owner, Thomas Paine Bellchambers.
 He had read about Bellchambers wildlife sanctuary in a magazine article in the UK, and had decided then and there he wanted to meet him.

 Conan Doyle wrote about his trip to the wildlife sanctuary in The Observer, in 1920, under the title “These Things Endure”.[2]
 Within the article he praises Bellchambers and his connection to the land. He also makes a statement to the Government of the time (which fell on deaf ears, and still falls on deaf ears today), that

“Let the State acquire several blocks round Bellchambers area, and let the whole be enclosed. Let him be ranger with adequate remuneration. Let the roads connecting up be improved. All this would cost very little; but see what you would have in return! You would have a show place which folk would come from far to see. You would have a wonderful pleasure resort for the people of Adelaide. Finally, you would leave in the very best and most loving hands those numerous birds and other creatures which are seriously threatened with extinction. Do this, and your grandchildren will extol your wisdom. Don't do it, and in 10 years it will be too late.”

One of Conan Doyle’s questions to Mr Bellchambers was
 “You are a man living close to nature. Do you ever see any fairies?”, with which Mr Bellchambers replied with a simple “no”.[3]

Continued next week with:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Adelaide Part II - How to Talk to the Dead:

Visit Humbug Scrub Wildlife Sanctuary via Facebook:

 © Allen Tiller


1920 'HOW TO TALK WITH THE DEAD SIR A. CONAN DOYLE'S FIRST LECTURE', Daily Herald (Adelaide, SA : 1910 - 1924), 27 September, p. 6. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article106558691

Adelaide City Explorer Team & East End Coordination Group, “Grand Central Hotel/Rundle Street Lantern,” Adelaide City Explorer, accessed July 15, 2017, http://adelaidecityexplorer.com.au/items/show/205.

Keane D, 2013, A Spiritualist abroad: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's adventures in the Antipodes, ABC Religion and Ethics, viewed 15 July 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2013/11/05/3884288.htm

[1] Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir n.d., The wanderings of a spiritualist, Hodder and Stoughton, London

[2] 1920 '"THESE THINGS ENDURE."', Observer (Adelaide, SA : 1905 - 1931), 9 October, p. 11. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165911384

[3] 1927 'HUMBUG SCRUB', The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), 24 September, p. 1. , viewed 15 Jul 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article58530391

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Death by Curried Egg Sandwich!

Death by Curried Egg Sandwich!

December 2003, Julie Michele Dunn and Graham Wilks, lived together in Davoren Park in Adelaide’s northern suburbs as a de facto couple.
 Dunn, 40, one day decided she no longer wanted to be with Wilks. She made him his favourite snack, a curried egg sandwich, and laced it with the sedative temazepam.

Temazepam is a very strong sedative used to treat insomnia patients, and is in the same group of drugs as Xanax and Valium, known as sedative-hypnotics.

Wilks soon fell asleep after ingesting an unknown amount of the strong sedative, cleverly hidden in the strong-tasting curry egg sandwich. Helpless to know what was coming, and unable to defend himself.

 Dunn, bashed her partner over the head at least three times with a heavy blunt object. The trauma of which would slowly kill Wilks as he slept.
 Later, Dunn would call an ambulance and a police investigation would begin. Dunn, the only suspect was arrested, and taken into custody.

During questioning, Dunn tried to blame the murder of Wilks firstly on her son, then on another man who had been recently released from prison. It would later be alleged by the prosecution that Dunn had killed Wilks so she could be with the newly released (unidentified in court proceedings) man who was a former lover of Dunn.

 Dunn also tried to tell police she had acted in self-defense, an argument quickly rejected by Justice Anderson.
Dunn’s first outcome from trial, a 20-year sentence, was overturned on appeal as the Judge had not properly instructed the jury. Her second trial, under Justice Margaret Nyland reduced the original sentence from 20 years, to 18 years.

Dunn is set to be released from prison in April 2022.

Researched and written by Allen Tiller. © 2017

The Haunts of Adelaide – Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheHauntsOfAdelaide/

ABC News, 2004, woman pleads not guilty to murder charges, ABC News, viewed 1 September 2017, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2004-08-18/woman-pleads-not-guilty-to-murder-charges/2027930.

ABC News, 2007, Woman jailed for curried eggs killing, ABC News, viewed 1 September 2017,http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-06-20/woman-jailed-over-curried-eggs-killing/75240

Drugs.com, 2017, Temazepam, Drugs.com, viewed 1 Sept 2017, https://www.drugs.com/temazepam.html

Fewster, Sean 2013, City of evil : the truth about Adelaide's strange and violent underbelly, Abridged edition, Sydney Hachette Australia.

Radio Australia, 2011, Australian woman given 18 year jail sentence for murdering partner, ABC Radio, viewed 1 Sept 2017, http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2007-06-20/australian-woman-given-18-year-jail-sentence-for-murdering-partner/44706.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2005, Killer curried eggs sandwich, Sydney Morning Herald, viewed 23 April 2017, http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/killer-curried-egg-sandwich-woman-jailed/2005/10/27/1130382516541.html.

The Age, 2007, Woman jailed over deadly curried egg sandwich, The Age (online) viewed 1 Sept 2017, http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/woman-jailed-over-deadly-curried-egg-sandwich/2007/06/20/1182019172119.html.