Friday, 18 September 2015

Waratah - divorce petition.

The Argus (Melbourne) Saturday 8 October, 1921

LOSS OF WARATAH RECALLED,
Woman's Divorce Application.
Believing that her husband had perished with the sinking of the steamer Waratah, Mrs. Alice Pretty Emmerson remarried. Some years afterward she found out that her first husband was still alive. The circumstances led to a suit for divorce from him on the grounds of desertion. which was heard by the Justice of the Court yesterday. The respondent was Ernest Hollier Emmerson, 46 years of age, Forrest Lodge, near Sydney, New South Wales, described as a labourer. Mrs. Emmerson, who is 41 years of age, and resides at Brunswick, stated that she was married to the respondent, (her first husband) 31 August, 1900. Before that date he was a coal miner. There were no children of that marriage. Soon after November, 1900, they went to Collie, Western Australia, where he followed his occupation as a miner. After a few months he told her that he had married her merely to annoy another woman. Saying that he would never return, he left the house. When the Waratah was wrecked a list of the names of those who perished contained that of 'Ernest Emmerson'. On September 21 1910, believing that her husband was dead, the respondent remarried at Kalgoorlie, and lived happily with her new husband at various places in Western Australia, until May 1919, she returned to Victoria. There were two children of this marriage, and the father was at present a tuberculosis patient in a ward in a West Australian sanatorium. Finding in January that her first husband was alive, she went to Sydney and saw him. When she said that she would have to take divorce proceedings, he rejoined that that did not concern him. A decree was granted, with costs against the respondent. Mr. L.S. Woolf (instructed by Mr. Sonenberg) appeared for the petitioner.
An intriguing story of unrequited love, desertion and to some extent, revenge in the form of wishing the first husband away with the lost souls of the Waratah. Of course there was no such name on the passenger list, suggesting that Mrs. Emmerson saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Also, very unlikely that a coal miner took a trip on the Waratah. I wonder how many people claimed a connection with those lost??



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