Aimee Edols
Aimee Edols
Wedding announcement, January  1902, The Elders were Aimee’s aunt and uncle. (Trove)

The reception for the couple was held at the prestigious Australia Hotel .


In 1930, 47 year old Aimee Edols was living  in  Sydney’s  fashionable  Eastern Suburbs.  Her husband  Ernest was a retired grazier, whose family had once owned  Burrawang, an extensive property at Forbes , in the Central West of New South Wales. Burrawang  was famous for having one of the largest shearing sheds in the country.

Wool sorting at Burrawang, Forbes
Wool sorting at Burrawang

The couple were part of Sydney’s  social set.  Mrs Edols was a member of  the  Royal Sydney Golf Club and the exclusive Queen’s Club, opposite Hyde Park. She was also a regular at the Randwick racecourse, where her glamorous outfits were  regularly written up in the press.

Queens Club, Sydney, frequented by Aimee Edols.
The Queens Club, Sydney

As 1931  began, the world wide  Great Depression  was deepening, but for  Aimée Edols life went on as delightfully as ever. In the New Year, she and her husband had a holiday in Melbourne, accompanied by their daughter and son-in-law. When they returned, it was off to the races;

January 1931 – Randwick.  Mrs Edols favoured the navy and white spotted vogue, with navy hat.

In February the Edols moved house. Their friends the Holroydes were off to France, and  leased their home in Eastbourne Avenue, Darling Point to Aimee and Ernest. It was a Gothic revival mansion called Atherfield, which still stands.

Atherfield, Darling Point, home of Aimee Edols,
Atherfield today.

Three months later, on June 17, Aimée Edols  suddenly declared herself bankrupt, and her glamorous life began to unravel. She became the object of much gossip and speculation over the tea parties at the Queen’s Club.   Surely it couldn’t be true?

All the talk was of Aimee Edols
All the talk  at the Queen’s Club was of Aimee Edols.

Aimee Edols ended up in the  bankruptcy court.  It was revealed that her husband had entrusted her with £12,000 of his capital, which had disappeared.  Worse still, he was just one in a long line of creditors, including some of  Aimées closest society  friends.  Confusing the  issue, Aimee claimed to have  £45,000  invested in Melbourne. She insisted that  she would soon be able to pay her creditors. The problem was, she refused to reveal  where the money was.  She would only say that she had been approached by two men who offered her a wonderful return on her money.  Testifying that  they had sworn her to secrecy, she told the court that to reveal the details would jeopardize the investment.

An ultimatum was issued; she must appear in court and explain everything,  or face the music. Aimée took a third option; she simply vanished. The newspapers had a field day,  publishing  artists’ impressions of the search and her flight into the night

Artist's impression of Aimee Edol's flight.

Artist’s impression of Aimee’s flight from the law.

Neither  her daughter Mrs La Touche  nor her husband  Ernest would admit to knowing where Aimee was, although Ernest  loyally said that even if he found out he would probably ‘stick with her’ and not tell. Her son-in-law Dr La Touche said the same thing, despite the fact that  he was  owed  £1,000 by the absconder.

Mrs La Touche, daughter of Aimee
Aimeé’s daughter, Mrs La Touche
Ernest Edols

Six months went by. Detectives ventured way out west to Orange  and Bathurst, where some of Aimées relatives lived, but there was not a sign of her.  Every so often they would state that an arrest was imminent, but it was said with more bravado than conviction.  Then, just  as the authorities  thought their quarry had left the country…success!


On February 22 1932  Mrs Edols was arrested in Double Bay. Apart from an overnight  trip to Melbourne she had never left the Eastern Suburbs. How on earth  had she managed to  evade the police for so long?  And would she finally come clean about the mysterious £45,000?    Sydneysiders could hardly wait for the next episode…….


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