HIS WOODEN LEG
There were peculiar circumstance attached to a charge of begging at the Port Adelaide Police Court on Saturday.
Timothy Byrnes a miner, of Adelaide, was charged, on the information of Inspector J. E. Noblet, with halving gone from house to house at Hall Street, Semaphore, on January 21 to beg alms.
The defendant pleaded guilty. The facts stated were that, having but one leg, he gets about on crutches. He went to a house at Hall Street and showed the lady of the house paper and a book containing a list of contributions. He said he was seeking subscriptions to enable him to purchase a wooden leg. She gave him 2/6.
On Friday she paid a visit to the Gresham Hotel, and noticed the man drinking in the bar. Feeling indignant as she gave him the money for a leg and not for drink, she called Constable Rose, who was outside the hotel, and told him the facts. After being questioned, the defendant was arrested.
The defendant told the court that it had been his intention to purchase a wooden leg, as being minus a leg, and on crutches, he had found it impossible to get work. He had been out of Adelaide for about 7 ½ years. Having nothing to live on, he used up the money he had collected.
Inspector Noblet said he had known the defendant for a number of years. He lost his leg some years ago, while under the influence of liquor, through being run over by a tram car. Drink had been his main trouble. The Defendant—Thats right. I’ve had five operations since. I will try to get into the Old Folks’ Home.
The most serious aspect of the case, the court heard, was that Byrne’s collected the money for a certain purpose, and then spent it on drink. A fine of 15 shillings was ordered, with 32 shillings costs, in default two weeks’ imprisonment.
-Port Adelaide News (SA), Friday 3 February 1928.
- The Gresham Hotel was located on the southwest corner of North Terrace and King William Street, Adelaide. It was built in 1873-74, the architect was possibly Daniel Garlick. A plain building, it had a large cast iron verandah and balcony, with columns grouped in pairs to emphasize the cut off corner and the principal entrance. The hotel was demolished in 1965/66 to make way for the AMP (now Origin) Building.