Rees Orton McLEAN
Rees Orton McLEAN
On the day of Rees' birth, a gold coin was placed in his hand. The folklore story surrounding this old tradition is that if the baby grasped the coin, they would never want for anything, and would be careful and clever with money.
Rees lived with his parents, Murdoch and Emily McLean, and his older sisters Gladys and Gertrude, at 57 Aherne Street, Townsville.
Ruby, a cousin of the children, is seen here with the young McLean children.
Rees is seen here with his sister, Gertrude, in a delightful pose.
A close up of Rees, charming from his collar, tie and tie clip to his lace-up boots.
Rees attended school at Townsville, a cute postcard photograph of him showing his school uniform can be seen here.
There is a family story that exists which involves a young Rees, a Townsville lass, and some poisoned chocolates.
Rees is seen here with an unknown lady, having perhaps enjoyed a ride in his motor car?
Rees at one time in his youth had a lady-friend called Molly Bryant. Everyone adored Molly. It was anticipated for a time that the wedding bells would toll, but this was not to be.
It is family knowledge that Uncle Rees ALWAYS owned a car. And was always in possession of the latest in technology. He is seen here, with the caravan that is believed to be his.
Molly seems to have been a nurse.
A letter written in late 1979 from Rees to Arthur Smallwood includes the following beguiling sentences:
This enclosed newspaper cutting contains the details.
This, supplemented by more detailed affidavits, was the story told to Mr. Justice Weigall in the Practice Court yesterday, when Mr. Dean (instructed by the Commonwealth Crown Solicitor) applied for an order for substituted service; that is to say, for an order permitting judgment to be entered, on a summons, without the usual, and in this case extremely difficult, formality of serving the writ on Orton in person. Orton is believed at present to be somewhere in Batavia.
Of course there were inquiries after Mr. Westorton's departure. Mr Lennon, the proprietor of the Grand Hotel, at first denied, it was stated, any knowledge of the whereabouts of Mr. Westorton, who had paid his board to date and left two bags of effects behind him. Subsequently, pressed by the water police as to why he did not notify them of Mr. Westorton's disappearance, Mr. Lennon admitted that he knew that Mr Westorton was identical with Thomas West Orton, of the "Badak case," and that he handed to the said "T. Westorton," just prior to his departure, £2500 in £100 notes, which he (the hotel proprietor) held for safe custody. He also stated that Mr. Besant had wirelessed to him the day after the departure of the Victoria to forward the two packages of effects left by Mr. Westorton to care of Customs, Batavia, and that he (the hotel proprietor) intended shipping the said packages by the steamer Montoro, which would leave Thursday Island on 10th March. The sub-collector of customs said that "Mr. Westorton" made no application for a passport, and that no passage on the Victoria was booked by him, either in the name of T. Westorton or Thomas West Orton.
Mr. Legg, of the Crown Solicitor's office, explained that Orton's solicitors, Messrs. Woolcott, Drysdale and Madden, of Bank-place, Melbourne, and the Crown Solicitor had been in actual correspondence as to the "special case to be stated for the High Court of Australia" on Orton's objection, and that, following the issuing of the writ on 27th February, he (Legg) waited on Mr. Woolcott, a member of the firm of solicitors, and asked him to accept service on behalf of Orton. Mr Woolcott, however, said that Mr. Madded was ac...ing in Orton's affairs, and on the following day Mr. Madden rang him up on the telephone and stated that Orton was in Northern QUeensland, and he (Mr Madden) would have to communicate with him before he accepted service. Legg then to Mr. Madden, he said, that he had reason to believe that ORton had left the Commonwealth, and Mr. Madden replied as far as he knew he was still on the Commonwealth. "Will you get instructions from your client by telegram?" suggested Mr. Legg, to which Mr. Madden replied in the negative, saying that he would "immediately communicate with his client by post."
It was obvious, said Mr. Dean, addressing Mr. Justice Weigall, that Orton had left Australia to avoid service of the writ, in which event it was right and proper that an order for substituted service should be made.
This photograph of Rees was taken on his twenty-first birthday, the 26th January 1925.
Rees married Ethel Gofton in New Guinea. They lived in Wau, or a village similar. Wau is the centre of the goldfields in New Guinea.
Shown here is Rees helping a piece of cattle from the aircraft, probably at Wau airport. Rees is the gentleman in a white shirt.
Rees is seen here with a cigarette in his hand, standing on a mountain side in New Guinea.
Rees is seen here helping to unload cargo from the plane.
Rees is seen here with a native, and his dog, on the side of the mountain near Lau, New Guinea.
Rees is seen here frolicking with his dog, Pixie.
Rees is seen here, slim and smoking a cigarette, in the yard of 57 Ahearne Street, Hermit Park.
Rees Orton McLean's Service Number was SNQX54504, his birth date is recorded by the Services as 26 January 1904, born in Townsville, Queensland. His Place of Enlistment was Townsville, Queensland. He had listed Ethel McLean as his Next of Kin.
The back of this photo of Rees and his wife Ethel, was inscribed by the photographer, young Charles Smallwood. It reads "Uncle Reese and Aunty Ethel".
We think this is Rees, studying a map, as it is his car parked in the shed in the background.
Rees always had a car. This photograph shows his car, different from the one he owned in 1948, and a caravan, in which he and Ethel travelled around.
Rees is seen here in his later years, always well dressed, with his coat hanging in the foreground, possibly writing this letter to his nephew, Arthur Smallwood.
4 Juanita Av
As far as my mother is concerned, I may be a little more informed.
He lived somewhere near you, when you lived at Highgate Hill in Brisbane. Gordon was a bootmaker, and he also had a business somewhere in Brisbane. I think Jessie turned into a religious crank (pencilled margin note in female handwriting - "Mona, Ken's wife did") and one of them had a son that was a cook on a leper station. Still on the MacLean side there was a Ruby MacLean. She married a Patrick Luby and they lived at West End in Townsville, where they had a plumbing business. (note from Claire: Roby and Patrick lived upstairs of the plumbing business - opposite a big Catholic Church). I think she was connected to the Proserpine crowd. I think she was a cousin of ours in some way. Leaving this space in case I think of something else.
Getting back to the Orton Side. It isn't too easy to explain. Maybe you can follow my way of thinking. My mother had only one sister, her name was Edie and she married Rees Thomas. They lived at South Townsville and he had a big Grocery business in Flinders Street, Townsville. They had 5 children, Hector, Charlie, Thelma, Grace, Vera. I only know anything of one of them - That was Thelma. She married Len Emmerson, who was Assistant Manager of the Railways at Cairns. Now retired and living at Cairns, Suburb Redlynch or Redcliffe. I think they only had two children. One turned out to be a scientif... big shot in the medical world. I think my mother's mother was killed in a big (inserted in pen - "RAILWAY") accident when they lived in England. I only know of two other Ortons. One was the notorious Arthur that figured so prominently in the Tichborne Case and the other was the one that owed the government a lot of money for taxes. That is quite a story. He made a lot of money through crooked dealings in the mining world and then the government wanted to tax him on it and he wouldn't pay it, because he claims that the money was not made in Australia.
When he refused to pay the tax the Government got on to him about all his other business and that was when he tried to leave Australia. But every attempt he made was foilded, because the Gov. had him followed in every move he made. However, he did get away and my mother played a big part in that. I will not go into details of that, because I have a newspaper cutting here that I will enclose with this letter. Funny thing about that cutting is that it must be over 50 years old and I have had it all that time. Several times I have been going to destroy it, but gave it a second though, and at last it is of some use (I hope). Then there was that other rogue, the butcher from Wagga. I am not well informed of him. I had a book here "The Great Victorian Mystery", but I don't know what happened to that. The last I knew of that was I lent it to Gert and I think it finished up with Merle, maybe she still has it. If you dropped her a line she would let you know. I think you would know just as much about him as I do. Will leave this for a few days, apart from that the arthritis is catching up with me.
I have one thing that I think is of some value. It is a case that originally belonged to Aunt Jue. It is a writing case with secret drawers a very highly polished a very compact thing. I would say it is 150 years old. It is about 12" wide, 6" high and I would say the depth would be 10" inches. The whole thing is beautifully inlaid. Too good to be laying in the bottom of a wardrobe.
I think that the chap that married Maurd /Maud Mc/MacLean name was Cec Mundy. He used to read the gas meters for the local gas coy. Have raked this brain of mine and there isn't much more I can think of. But if there is something you can think of, don't hesitate to drop me a line. You have given yourself quite a task and I hope that you can complete it. If you can't, nobody can.