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DEFRAUDING THE A.M.P. SOCIETY.

HOW IT WAS DONE.

The Australian ‘Star,’ of the Ist Inst., contains a telegram from Brisbane giving the following particulars of a case now known as the Geddes mystery : The mystery in connection with the Geddes ease has been solved, and the confinee in Adelaide Lunatic Asylum, known as Louis N. Brennan, has been identified as William G. Geddes by his parents, who travelled from Brisbane to Adelaide for the purpose. The case is indeed a strange one. A few particulars concerning Geddes cannot, therefore, but prove interesting. Those who have known Geddes say that he possessed a decidedly honest countenance, and he was a good companion, talented, and of a kindly disposition. Geddes is of English parentage, and previous to the date of the alleged fraud (by which it was reported he was drowned, his parents receiving insurance money on his life) had followed various pursuits in the different colonies. Being a first-class surveyor and draughtsman, he, for a considerable period, had charge of a large survey party on the banks of the MTntyre River, in Queensland. His caravan and camping appointments were of a very extensive order, and when removing to new ground he would control bis four-in-hand with commendable dash and ability. With a suddenness that fairly astonished his friends he quietly disappeared one day from the locality, to be again heard of as having been drowned in the Caboolture River, whither he had gone to bathe with his brother. A number of his intimate acquaintances all along discredited the statement that he had passed from this mundane sphere, and apparently were right in their conclusion, as recent developments amply prove. We next find the “ drowned ” Geddes turning up in New Zealand, under the name of Louis V. Brennan, where he accepted employment in the office of a firm of prominent surveyors of Dunedin. After working as a draughtsman there for a few months, he entered the Survey Department of the Government of New Zealand, and was ordered to attach himself to the staff in Invercargill. Having thoroughly established himself with the society of the town, he entered with spirit into every form of enjoyment obtainable in this southern borough. Always well provided with money, he set up extensive bachelor quarters, indulged in the luxury of a small stud, and gave balls and parties with a freedom that would have astonished the denizens of Potts Point, Here again his penchant for fours-in-hand asserted itself, and very many of the citizens who accepted his invitations on different occasions to take a seat on the drag will remember the command he exercised over the prancing steeds as be urged them alang the highways. The more reflective of the guests at times inquired how the thing was done, but consoled themselves with the figure of speech that it was “no business of theirs.” It was asserted by Brennan, and believed by, friends, that be was a remittance man, and certainly on two occasions he received sums of LSOO and L4OO from bis relatives, besides being in receipt of a monthly allowance. Proceeding rapidly along his career, we find that a fire overtook his bachelor establishment (which was well insured), and he retired into a quieter form

'of living. The remittances fell off; he pawned his horses after having sold them { financial embarrassments followed, apd finally in ISSI he left the colony. In 1882 he reached Sydney, and there received a welcome L2OO. Upon receipt of this sum he bade New South Wales farewell, and drifted through Victoria and South Australia to Western Australia. In this colony he evidently felt the pinch of adversity, for he was next heard of attempting the dangerous expedient of enriching himself by robbing a bank. Armed with a pistol in each hand; he confronted the officer in charge of the institution and ordered him to throw up bid hands and hand over the sovereigns. Without any damage being done the siege was raised, and Brennan arrested. It was at the time generally conceded that he was of weak intellect, and that the proceeding was the freak of a madman. However, a jury 1 thought differently, and he received a sentence of four or five years. Having served this, he appears to have returned to South Australia, and there taken unto himself A wife; By the union are two children, and they and the wife are now left in poor circumstances through Brennan becoming insane. His marriage, strange to say, would appear to be accountable for the exposure of the fraud, as it was the wife causing the police authorities to make inquiries concerning the relations of Brennan that suggested the belief that he was none other than the long-lost Geddes. His restlessness and peculiar actions at times made his friends think that his mind was not evenly balanced. Those who knew him well remember his large-heartedness and strength of friendship, and, while deploring the fraud he would appear to have committed, sympathise with him in the deprivation of his reason.

The following paragraph on the subject is taken from a Melbourne paper:—Last week Mr and Mrs Geddes, sen,, left Brisbane for Adelaide, in order to see for themselves the confinee in the asylum there who was supposed to be their son. The result of their visit is that the identity of the so-called Louis Brennan with William Goodwin Geddes has been definitely set at rest. Messrs Macdonald-Paterson, Fitzgerald, and Hawthorn, Mr Geddes’s solicitors, have received the following telegram from their client in Adelaide :—“ With feelings which 1 fail to describe we found the confinee here called Louis Brennan is onr long-lost son, but cannot comprehend how any person could identify the photograph of this poor emaciated and aged-looking lunatic with Goodwin Geddes of twenty-one.”

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891017.2.16

Bibliographic details

DEFRAUDING THE A.M.P. SOCIETY., Issue 8040, 17 October 1889

Word Count
963

DEFRAUDING THE A.M.P. SOCIETY. Issue 8040, 17 October 1889

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