Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Eidolon Investigation - Squatters Arms - SA - (2012)

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Foresters & Squatters Arms
Location: Thebarton, South Australia
Location type: Pub
Location status: Public during business hours

The Foresters and Squatters arms was established in 1850 by Patrick McCarron. The land was originally owned by Thomas Toole who had purchased it in 1839. Mr McCarron leased the newly established Hotel to the publican of the Black Forest Inn, Mr. Charles Olarenshaw, which also included a Blacksmiths shop on the half acre block.
The name "Foresters And Squatters Arms"  was apparently adopted because the patronage of the Hotel was mainly men from the nearby slaughter yards, farmers, farm workers and tree-loppers.

The hotel has been owned by many people in its long history, and leased to many others, here are just a few of the names we have found in our research so far:
Patrick McCarron,(original builder) Foresters and Squatters' Arms, - 1853

C.Hepworth, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms, - 1869 1870

E Johns, Foresters and Squatters' Arms, - 1873

Roper. Margaret, Foresters'' and Squatters' Arms - 1875
W. Rusbridge, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms, - 1876

William Charles Pepper, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms, - 1879

C. Vincent, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms 1890

C.J. Condon, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms, 1892 1893

Mary A. Jahn, Foresters and Squatters' Arms, 1895

Thomas Bott, Foresters' and Squatters' 1896

Mary Coveney, Foresters and Squatters' Arms 1899

W. Supple, Foresters and Squatters Arms  1906

  Charles K. Hare, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms 1910

J.Ough, Foresters and Squatters' Arms bought: unknown - sold 1927

Walter Smith and William Browne Foresters and Squatters' Arms 1927

Ivan Llewellyn Roche Davey, Foresters and Squatters' Arms 1935

Gertrude Viola Thompson, Foresters and Squatters' Arms 1938

Gertrude Viola Thompson
Whilst conducting our research on the Squatters we came across a former publican named Gertrude "Gertie" Thompson whom, it would seem, lived an extraordinary life for a lady of her day.
The first newspaper article below, from The Advertiser, is a brief story about "Gertie" being accused of selling alcohol on a Sunday, which was strictly prohibited at the time - further research has indicated that the case was later dropped due to circumstantial evidence
Thursday 10 February 1938
Hotel keeper On Supply Charge
The case in which Gertrude Viola Thompson, licensee of the Foresters and Squatters Arms Hotel. Thebarton. was charged with having unlawfully sold liquor on Sunday, January 9. was continued before Mr. Morgan, 'S.M., in the Adelaide Police Court yesterday. Evidence for the defence was being given when the hearing was adjourned until February 16. Constable S. R. Stewart prosecuted, and Mr. C. T. Gun appeared for the defendant

"Gertie" was also, at one point a publican in Port Adelaide at  The Royal Arms Hotel, where she was accused, and convicted of under paying a staff member named Anne Gunning.
In January 1928, Gertrude and 14 other people were arrested in a hotel in Darlinghurst (N.S.W.), and were arrested for "being found in a house frequented by reputed thieves". The ensuing court case was a very colourful one, attracting the friends and families of the accused, who jeered the prosecution at every avenue.The prosecution argued that the Chief of C.I.B. had entered the facility and was desperately outnumbered, a melee had erupted, but the Officer had fought valiantly and over come his foes, the Defence, on the other hand had a different perspective, arguing:
" a quiet party, a few drinks, some singing...(was) violently interrupted by a squad of hostile, brawling police" (Truth, 29 Jan 1928)

 Gertrude Thompson (centre) Mug shot after being arrested in NSW

 A story in the Sydney Morning Herald about Gertrude's arrest

The Sydney Morning Herald - Wednesday 25 January 1928

Following a police raid on a house in Riley Street early on the morning of January 15, ten men and five women appeared at the Central Police Court yesterday.
Joseph Bezzina, aged 26 years, a fireman, was charged with being the keeper of a house at 74 Riley Street, frequented by reputed thieves.
William Stone, aged 28 years, William Williamson, aged 36 years, Francis Wilson, aged 28 years, Thomas Craig, aged 26 years, Christopher Smith, aged 40 years, William Thompson, aged 27 years, Albert Fentrill, aged 27 years, George Hodder, aged 18 years, Raymond Neil, aged 27 years, Vera Simmons, aged   21 years, Gertrude Thompson, aged 40 years. Florence Norman, aged 19 years, and two   other women were each charged with having been found in a house frequented by reputed thieves, and in company with reputed thieves.
Sergeant Bourke said the police went to the house, and a fight ensued. All the defendants were partly under the influence of liquor. When Bezzina was told he was to be arrested he replied, according to witness:   "Oh, well, my bad luck. I pay 16/ per week  rent, and I must get my money back somehow."
Constable Delaney said he had visited the house in November last, and told Bezzina it was alleged that stolen property was brought there. Bezzina denied the charge.
Inspector Mackay, Chief of the CIB, who was in charge of Darlinghurst division at the time of the raid, which he conducted, also gave evidence of the fight which had taken place. He himself had been assaulted.  
The hearing was adjourned.
Charges of assaulting the police in the execution of their duty were laid against Stone, Williamson, Wilson, Craig, Smith, and Thompson. Stone was further charged with having in his possession an unlicensed revolver. 


Not only was the squatters frequented by Farmers and their ilk, but also druids, as this newspapers article attests...

South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900)

Thursday 28 April 1864
page 3

The Quarterly Committee of the Adelaide District of the United Ancient Order of Druids was held in the Good Intent Lodge-room, Foresters' and Squatters' Arms. Thebarton. on Thursday evening, April 21. Present— Provincial President C. McDonald; Provincial Treasurer H. L. Durieu: Provincial Secretary L. B. Mathews; Tyler Bard Northmore; and the following Delegates from Lodges:— Good Intent— P.P.P. Pearson and P. A. Lowe. Allied -P.P.P. Hurst and P.A. Woods. Peacef— P.A. Hyam. Duke of Brunswick— P. V.P. Aveling and P.B. Draysey.. Duke of Leinster— P.A. Kicliardson. Adelaide— V.A. Magaughan and Brother
Martin; Prince of Wales— A.D. Kudall. Alexandra— V.A. Pagenstecher
P.P. Secretary Grocott was fined for non attendance as Delegate of the Peace Lodge.
The balance-sheet, which was read, showed the General Fund to be £349 15s. 6d and the Incidental Fund £50; making a total of £399 15s. 9d. Two hundred and seventy members were reported good on the books, and the total number of members of the Order in South Australia is 304. The Auditors recommended the levies for the ensuing quarter to be 2s. per member to the General Fund and 6d. to the Incidental Fund; they also spoke in high terms of the manner in which the accounts were kept by Provincial Secretary L. B. Mathews
The balance-sheet was received and passed, and the Auditors' report adopted. It was resolved that 150 copies of the balance sheet, Auditors' report, with all minutes of proceedings, be printed and circulated as usual. P. P.P. Hurst was elected Auditor in the place of P.P. P. Durieu, elected Treasurer.
The resignation of P.V.P. Aveling as a District Trustee was accepted.
The whole of the Trustees of the District were removed, and the following were elected :-P.P.P. H. L. Hurst, P.P.P. C. M. Pearson. P.V.P. ft. Aveling, P.A. E. Benda, and P.A. G. Wood. The Provincial President, on behalf of the Committee; presented to P.P.P. C. M. Pearson the testimonial voted at the last annual meeting, consisting of an address beautifully engrossed on vellum, with his photograph, for his long services to the Order.

Many people have passed through the Squatters doors over the years,
but some have not made it out alive!

The South Australian Advertiser

Monday 5 November 1860

FATAL ACCIDENT. - On Saturday evening,
between the hours of 5 and 6, an accident occurred to a man named Richard Leonard, which terminated fatally. It appears that the unfortunate man was in the employ of Mr. Primrose, brewer, and was proceeding from Bowden to Thebarton, when, about 200 yards from the Squatters' Arms, Thebarton, the horse became restless, and jolted the dray ; he was in the act of giving the reins to, his nephew, a little boy who was with him, when the wheel lurched-in consequence of a hole in the road-and threw the boy from the cart, who, in falling dropped the reins, which fell under the horse's feet ; the deceased then attempted to snap the reins, but failed to do so, and fell under the wheel, which passed over his loins and smashed his ribs. A person driving a dray behind him, picked him up, put him into it, and conveyed him to the Squatters* Arms, when Mr. Jacques, the landlord, immediately sent for two medical gentle- men ; but before Dr. Lane arrived the unfortunate man expired, which was about 15 minutes after the wheel passed over him. An inquest was held on Sunday morning, when the Jury returned a verdict of accidental death. The deceased was an old colonist, and has been a long time in the employ of Mr. Primrose. He has left a wife and four children to deplore his untimely end.

This next newspaper story is a little bit vague about where exactly this child got the acid from, in the era this was written, a Hotel was often refereed to as a "House"

South Australian Register

Thursday 27 March 1884

On Wednesday the City Coroner (Mr. T. Ward) held an inquest at the Squatters' Arms, Thebarton, on the body of a child named Thomas Alfred Beesley, who had died the previous day from the effects of muriatic acid. The evidence showed that a bottle containing the muriatic acid had been left in a firepot within reach of the child, who drank some on coming into the house, and seemed to be choking and in great pain. His mother went into the yard and found that the bottle had been taken out of the firepot. She poured some water into his mouth and sent for Dr. Rees, who attended and found the child showing all the symptoms of asphyxia, and administered the usual remedies, but the child died on Tuesday evening. The Jury brought in a verdict that the cause of death was asphyxia from accidentally swallowing a quantity of muriatic acid or spirits of salts.

 The Advertiser
Monday 12 July 1909 
 SUPPLE. —On the 10th July, at the Squatters Arms Hotel, Thebarton, Charles Joseph, the dearly beloved youngest son of Mrs. M. Coveney and the late Patrick Supple, aged 32 years. Requiescat in pace. 

The South Australian Advertiser
- Saturday 12 June 1880

(excerpt from The South Australian Advertiser - Saturday 12 June 1880
full story in our forums)

Detective Hammill said he arrested prisoner, who made no statement.   Police-constable Morris said he was on the racecourse on May 23. and saw the men quarrelling' about a coat. Deceased accused prisoner of stealing the coat, and prisoner said to deceased, 'If you don't let go I will punch you in the mouth.' Prisoner had one arm in the coat Deceased struck Allgood, and they closed. Several blows passed before he could separate them. Prisoner then said, 'If I stole the coat, give me in charge.' Threatened to lock them up. and they left. By Mr. Ronald— Prisoner bled after being struck. Deceased was a bigger man' than Allgood. The Jury found— 'That 'deceased met with his death through accidentally falling upon an iron spike while engaged in a fight with John Allgood, and the Jury request the Coroner to censure prisoner.' The Coroner, censured All good for engaging in the fight, and he was discharged.

 We will be posting any history article we find about the Squatters Arms in our "special interest" section of the Eidolon Paranormal Forums - if you have a ghost story, an old photo, or an historical article about the Squatters you wish to share please go to our forums <Here> and post your story

More photos are available ion our Facebook page or in our photo-album section
Any "Evidence" from this investigation will be posted here soon - please "like" us on facebook to keep up to date with "Evidence" postings


After a quick meet and greet with Dick Dale and some of the locals, we set up our DVR system to monitor the area - Dick then set about giving us a tour of the Squatters. we visited every room and even the basement!
We then set about taking some EMF readings in various areas, and recording some EVP sessions - which proved to be difficult with the vast volumes of traffic passing by this close to the city.
We noted that the Office area upstairs was significantly cooler than every other room in the building, plus had lower baseline EMF readings.
we also had large fluctuations of EMF in the front bar - please  note, as the hotel was closed for the day, there was no electricity running under the bar to the post-mix machine or other powered devices.

We intend on returning to the Squatters Arms in the very near future for a full over-night investigation to ascertain if the building truly is haunted, or if there is some other factors at play. In the meantime, we will continue our research into
The Forresters and Squatters Arms, to find the truth behind rumours of deaths that plague the building.

We are particularly interested to know more about the story of a fire that occurred in the building that is claimed to have taken upwards of 30 lives, if you know more about this tragedy please do  not hesitate to contact us at one of the email address's below

Thank You
Our thanks to Paul Calnan for allowing us to investigate his fantastic pub.
Big thanks to Dick Dale for showing us around, sharing his stories and for his enthusiasm.
Also thanks to Gary, Anita and Amaras for sharing their stories of phenomena from the pub

© 2007 - 2014 Allen Tiller

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1 comment:

  1. Hi a curious subject. Gertie, Gertrude Viola Thompson, nee Taylor was my grandmother. She married Albert John Thompson ex Sydney in a private house Osmond Tce. Norwood. Alf was previously married and his ju8cy divorce was reported in law case Sydney Morning Herald. He ran race horses there and in Adelaide. Other hotels sun by Gertie were the Torrens Arms Mitcham where her two sons my father also Albert John and his brother Colin Taylor were born on the 1st floor verandah. Alf had a pub in Pirie and also tjhe Jin deane Irish pub corner Osmond Tce and Parade Norwood. I visited the Squatters as we called it as a young lad age 3 or 4 and have photos taken in the rear yard with Gertie and her sons and family. After the Squatters they moved to a house on Beulah Rd Norwood where I lived to age 5.
    Regards J. Rory Thompson FIEAust. CPEng. (2180308)