By early February 1917 Dr Paul Loubet had moved from Blackall in outback Queensland  to Melbourne. He was to act as locum tenens for Dr Roland Lane, a Footscray  G.P. who was on military duty. Dr Lane and his wife Hazel had a large home  called Althaea, in Paisley Street, which was also where the medical  practice was located.  Meanwhile, Loubet’s   defacto wife Connie Whitehouse moved to a flat in Carlton, although she visited him in Footscray.

If anyone wondered why the young Frenchman was not defending his country, he explained that  he  had served in 1914,  taking part in the famous retreat from Mons. He said he had been awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d’Honneur for his bravery. His story was that the fighting  had taken a serious toll on his health and that he had been invalided  to Australia for recuperation. If you have read the earlier parts of this story you will know this was all lies.

In early May he took on an additional role when he was appointed to a junior position at the Melbourne Hospital as acting medical clinical assistant. This was the first time he had been employed by a major institution, so no doubt he was delighted.

Connie Whitehouse increasing  found herself in the background. The charismatic Loubet was not only very busy professionally, but much in demand socially.

Dr. Paul Loubet was a sought after party guest,


However, it wasn’t the society women Connie had to worry about. Around this time  Dr Loubet met a beautiful young medical student at the hospital. She was 23 year old  Ellen ‘Nell’ Hughes , who was in the final year of her degree.  Her father, Dr Wilfred Kent Hughes, was a prominent Melbourne surgeon. The family lived in exclusive Toorak, and had a holiday cottage at fashionable Portsea.

Dr. Wilfred Kent Hughes

Miss Hughes was very bright academically, but she had cause to be  emotionally vulnerable. Her mother Clementina had died the previous December from tuberculosis, aged 53. Her younger brother Wilfred was fighting  in France and her father was also serving overseas.

Nell Hughes and Dr Loubet began a passionate  relationship that developed far more quickly than her family were comfortable with.

Meanwhile, Dr Loubet was becoming well known in the community. In June he was reported as giving a  speech  at the annual mid-winter display by a physical culture and dancing school in Footscray. (Independent. Footscray Jun 23 1917)    He applied to join the local Territorial regiment, presenting his supposed military record from cadet to captain.

Nell’s uncles, Brigadier-General  Frederic Hughes and Canon Ernest Hughes, tried to persuade their niece not to rush into marriage. She had  known Loubet for such a short period and they  urged her to wait under her father returned home the following year.  But as is often the case, opposition only strengthened the couple’s determination. Their plan was to open a practice together as soon as Nell graduated. I suspect it was  Paul Loubet who pressed for the hasty wedding. His chequered background (including a recent divorce due to misconduct on his part), would certainly  not have stood up to parental scrutiny.

On July 31, Ellen Mary Hughes quietly married Paul Rene Loubet, M.D. at St Monica’s presbytery in Footscray.

What would in other circumstances  have been  one of the social events of the year was barely noticed. It was weeks later when the following  piece appeared;

A marriage of social importance which was practically unheralded took place at St Monica’s Presbytery, Footscray on July 31……The bride, who is doing a medical course at the University, is particularly brainy, like her young brother, Captain Wilfred of the Light Horse, Rhodes scholar and winner of the Military Cross. She has been living in Clendon Road Toorak. with the younger members of the family, Dr Hughes having returned to the British Army Medical Corps soon after the death of his wife. (Table Talk, Aug 23 1917)

If the Hughes family were upset by the union, so too was Connie Whitehouse. Only months earlier she had been  ‘Madame Loubet’…. in  Papua New Guinea and in the Queensland town of Blackall. She must have been crushed by the fact that Loubet, once he was legally free to marry, had chosen someone else. She could so easily have spilled the beans, but as far as we know she remained silent.   Paul Loubet’s downfall would come from another source, and in the very near future.











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