A local spy story

Donna, 23 April 2015 · #

spy story

The World’s News: a record of notable events was a Sydney newspaper issued from the office of Watkin Wynne’s Daily Sydney Telegraph running from 1901 to 1955.
It was full of anecdotes, news stories on current events, editorial comments and instructions on how to make things ranging from a rubber stamp to glass cutting machines.

Like so many magazines and newspapers of the day it featured serialized stories and one is of particular interest.

Initially, I didn’t pay much attention to the header Another Great War Serial The German Spy. However, on re-reading the edition I noticed a chapter headed ‘Athol Bight’. Surely, not Mosman? The first sentence confirmed the location.

“ There is a beautiful walk round part of the northern side of Sydney Harbour, winding along the heads of little leafy, wooded points and promontories, and from any part of its twisting track you may see Sydney in its best light. From Little Sirius Cove it stretches by the side of Athol Bight, below the Zoological Gardens, goes around to Bradleys Head, on by Taylor Bay and round the point to Chowder.”

spy story

Thus commenced a short story that debuted in on 21 August 1915 and finished in the issue dated 13 November 1915. At the beginning of the story we see a German wool buyer, Herr von Emand, and a local girl, Margaret Castles sitting on a green bench in Ashton Park one Saturday afternoon in April 1914. They are enjoying the view of Sirius Cove and chatting.

Over the next 3 months we are regaled with the adventures of these characters along with Lieutenant Mahyew, in charge of the fort at Middle Head and Gunner Scarlett, who absconded one night into the city and on his way back accidently ‘saved’ a ship in the harbour. We follow the characters through India and onto London where the drama finally comes to its inevitable patriotic conclusion.

Written by J H M Abbott a popular contemporary writer who wrote both novels and articles for the newspapers it was one of many clearly designed to promote patriotism.