Sydney socialite Aimee Edols

Sydney Beauty Aimee Edols


In 1932, bankrupt Sydney socialite  Aimée Edols evaded police for nearly  six months.  She had turned for help  to an old  friend, Amy Styles, from nearby Vaucluse. Mrs Styles was a widow, whose husband  had drowned in the Greycliffe ferry disaster.  Aimée pleaded with Mrs Styles to hide her, saying  she was going to be arrested.  The kind hearted widow  took her in  for several days and lent her £100. After a brief trip to Melbourne, Aimée took a flat in Darlinghurst  under the name of Mrs Bray.  Mrs Styles visited her regularly  and  continued to lend  her money, about  £900 in all. It was compensation she had received  after  her husband’s death. She told the court that Mrs Edols  was  in great distress and frequently crying.  Aimée swore  that her mysterious capital of £45,000 was now in Sydney and that she would soon repay the loans.  ‘I trusted her implicitly’, Mrs Styles  said,


As Aimée’s  finances were examined it was discovered that in the five years from 1926 until 1931 she had ‘blown’ the incredible sum of £56, 000. Betting losses accounted for a hefty  £14,000. She spent £4,000 on all her smart outfits for  the Randwick races and other social occasions. Another  £4,000  went on entertaining her friends at the Queen’s Club and the Royal Sydney Golf Club.   £8,000 vanished on taxis, theatre parties, jewellers, florists and general living expenses. It was disclosed that Earnest had received £35,000 as his share of the family’s vast Burrawang station  in the Central West of NSW, but  unknown to him, Aimee had frittered it all away.  When giving evidence he was asked why he kept giving his wife such large sums of  cash  and parcels  of shares.  His response was that she  told him she was going to invest the funds. He confessed that he  had no idea of business, and that his life had been spent  just, ‘loafing about on stations.

Revelations of  the couple’s  lifestyle incensed the public. Australia was in the grip of the Great Depression.  While Aimee  Edols had been swanning about the city with other people’s cash, the unemployed  ate at soup  kitchens and stood in dole queues.

Dole queue at Circular Quay.

Dole queue at Circular Quay. Among the unemployed, Aimee Edoles was a symbol of all that was wrong in society.

In a blistering article the Workers Weekly referred to Mrs Edols in a headline as SCUM OF THE EARTH. The piece continued;

‘Leading a parasitical existence, surrounded by luxury, wanting for nothing, Mrs Aimee Edols obtained £56, 598 in the years 1926 to 1931. This sum is sufficient to give employment to forty-seven men for five years, at a  little more than £5 per week.’

Meanwhile, Aimée found herself  in an invidious  position. If she didn’t provide the information about the mysterious  £45,000 she could be kept in the debtor’s prison for an indeterminate  period.  Mind you, it was relatively comfortable, She could order in food and wear her own clothes etc.  No work was required of her.  The press pointed out that she was still far better off  than the unemployed and their families.


By  December, Aimee had had enough. She filed an affidavit, then stated in court that the  £45,000 Melbourne investment  did not exist, it had all been a  fabrication. Asked by her own lawyer why she hadn’t said  this before she said,  ‘I knew I would get into trouble, and I thought that by serving a sentence I might not have to say anything further.’   She said that all the money she had obtained from friends and relatives had been spent.

Her  problem was  that now it was thought she could  be lying, and that the money was being held  on her behalf somewhere until she was free.


Since it was  now obvious she had received money with no intention of repaying it,  Aimée was  charged with fraud relating to one of her victims. While the Edols were on holiday in Fiji in the 1920’s they had been entertained by  a  tea planter and his wife, Mr and Mrs  Percy  McConnell.  The McConnells  visited Sydney in 1930, and Aimee said she wanted to return their hospitality. They met at the Queens Club, where  Percy McConnell  unwisely revealed  he had £3,000 invested at 6 percent. Aimée  told him she could double his money in a few months, but  couldn’t reveal the details of the scheme. The gullible man handed over the money in  several instalments.  He returned to Fiji and each  time he tried to withdraw his capital,  Aimee  sent him a letter saying  it was tied up, but had doubled in value.  The prosecutor said it was a mean deception,  there was no investment in Melbourne or anywhere else; it was a deliberate, cold, calculated falsehood.  The prisoner had traded on friendships and her previous high standing in the community. A verdict of guilty was returned after the jury had been out only twenty  minutes.

Long Bay Gaol

Long Bay Gaol

On May 29 1934  Aimée was sentenced to imprisonment for two years. She would now be part of   the normal prison population at Long Bay, with none of the ‘soft options’ enjoyed as a  mere debtor. When her sentence had expired, she still faced the  ongoing contempt of court  issue  over the fabricated  £45,000. Back she went  to court in an effort to have it waived.


Judge Lukin adjourned until Monday the application by Mrs Aimée Belle Edols, for the variation of a contempt of court order made against her for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of an asset of £45,000, under which she has been in gaol.

On Tuesday she will have finished the sentence of two years imprisonment on charges of fraud and irregularities under the Bankruptcy Act, but the contempt order is still in operation against her, and she asked that this be varied so she could be free.

Mrs Edols sobbed bitterly during the proceedings, and in an impassioned outburst said she would sooner be sentenced to death now, in view of the terrible strain. It was killing her and her husband.

When the court reassembled the judge commented that although  the prisoner’s  contempt of court remained, he considered her  continued detention would be futile. He added, ‘I have not been impressed by her hysterical appeal for forgiveness. That should be addressed to her unfortunate victims. She cries for herself and seeks sympathetic treatment. She has no tears and no sympathy for her victims. I must however, take into consideration that she has been about four years in gaol, and that no doubt is a very long time.’   She was allowed to go free, with a warning that her finances would remain under strict scrutiny.

It was said that Aimée Edols   was now  grey haired and haggard; a pale  shadow of her old self.  She left the court in a daze and  went home to Ernest, who had been  surviving on £2 a week from  his sisters. He died a year later, aged 67.  The stress  of the whole, sorry mess  apparently proved too much. There would be nothing for his beloved  Aimée  to inherit, as she had cashed in his life insurance policy during her  wild years of spending.

Ernest Edols, wife of the convicted fraudster Aimee Edols

Ernest Edols died penniless at 67

Never again did  the name Mrs Edols appear in the social pages.  However, she was remembered through a joke that circulated in Sydney;’ ‘Did you hear that Mrs Edols told her friend  his investment was going nicely?  So nicely  it was soon gone completely!’

Aimée lived on for another thirty years, no doubt supported by her daughter and son-in-law.  Not surprisingly, she left the Eastern Suburbs after Ernest’s death. She died in 1967.  There is a memorial plaque for her at Northern Suburbs Crematorium.

Memorial plaque for Aimee Edols

Aimee’s old haunt, The Queen’s Club is still going strong.


  1. A magnificent saga xxx

    • Pauline

      She was one of those completely amoral characters, Heather. xx

  2. Born without a conscience, as many still are, sadly..

  3. I can’t think of the most appropriate response to this story. A sociopath? Definitely. I can’t believe she lived so long to leave such a trail of destruction behind her; or that her husband seemed to have stood by her. Saddens me that there is still no justice in this world where it is most needed.

    • Pauline

      I agree, Marcia. To behave like that during the worst of the Great Depression makes it even more disgusting.

  4. Thanks for the fascinating story. I came across your blog as I have a distant connection by marriage to the Edols family.

    • Pauline

      Glad you enjoyed the story, Craig. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

  5. Now I’m curious to know about her childhood – what rough, deprived, unaffectionate upbringing would grow a person to be like this? Only severe deprivation or a mental sickness would result in these greedy behaviours.

    • Pauline

      Very good question. She was from a local Forbes family called Battye.

  6. Aimee is my 2nd cousin x4 removed – via the Battye family. Really interesting articles – another highly interesting character from my ancestry!

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