THE GOOD LIFE!
In 1930, 47 year old Aimée 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.
The couple were part of Sydney’s social set. Aimée 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.
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 Aimée and Ernest. It was a Gothic revival mansion called Atherfield, which still stands.
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?
Aimée 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, Aimée 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’s flight from the law.Neither her daughter Mrs La Touche nor her husband Ernest would admit to knowing where Aimée 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.
Six months went by. Detectives ventured way out west to Orange 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!
HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT
On February 22 1932 Aimée 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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