[i] My debt to the website ScotlandsPeople is immense. Births, deaths and marriages in Scotland reported in this work are all drawn from the online records at www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk

[ii] Date of death and location of grave found at Commonwealth War Graves Commission website:www.cwgc.org

[iii] Elizabeth (b. 1894), Andrew (b. 1897), Janet (Jen) (b. 1899), Agnes (Billie) (b. 1901), Alexander (b. 1905) and Johanna (b. 1907). (Nicknames from Robin Briggs, email correspondence, 2 April 2002.)

[iv] Details of both ships are drawn from the Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists for British, Foreign and New Zealand Ports 1852-1923, searchable athttp://prov.vic.gov.au/index_search?searchid=23. The precise dates of arrival come from The Argus 28 June 1920: 9 and 19 May 1922: 9. There is probably no way of tracing whether or not this John Sangster is the same man Isabella later married; if not, it is at the very least quite a coincidence. His age as well as his name match. If indeed he is the same, perhaps the pair met aboard the ship, perhaps they had known each other previously. It’s probably impossible now to know.

[v] Presbyterian Church records at the Uniting Church Archives, Elsternwick, show that the Pringles were admitted with certificates from the United Free Church in Perth, Scotland, as communicant members of the Brunswick Presbyterian Church on 31 August 1922. The same records show them living at 212 Nicholson St, with Isabella’s family. They were admitted as communicants to the Sandringham Presbyterian Church, with certificates from Brunswick, on 3 July 1924, and their address given then as 3 Victory St, Sandringham. Information from communicant roll books from the respective parishes: Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Synod Archives and Historical Society, Elsternwick.

[vi] Death certificate accessed via Births Deaths Marriages Victoria website,https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/bdm/home. There is no death notice in the newspapers but funeral notices appear in The Herald (19 August 1927): 23, The Age (20 August 1927): 8 and The Argus (20 August 1927): 17. All subsequent Melbourne marriages and deaths sourced at BDM Victoria.

[vii] Listed at 59 Virginia St., Aberdeen, are Mary Roll (head), married, 29, dressmaker; Henry Roll (son of head), unmarried, 1, dressmaker’s son; and two male lodgers, James Milne (18) and Alexander Gore (26). I have not been able to trace a death record for William Roll either.

[viii] I have not been able to find any contemporaneous record of their marriage.

[ix] From the first Harry (b. 1880), Mary (b. 1881), Alexander (b. 1883) and Catherine (b. 1885); from the second Gertrude (b. 1893), William (b. 1894), John, Alice (b. 1899), Ethel (b. 1902) and Herbert (b. 1904). Catherine Sangster was 39 when Herbert was born, so conceivably she may have been able to produce a couple more. Searching for them is difficult as the 1921 census is not yet available.

[x] Birth notice in both The Age and The Argus, both 24 November 1928: 13.

[xi] Correspondence from Bettie Campbell, Secretary, Church Council, Sandringham Uniting Church, 20 February 2008.

[xii] Probably in 1931 they moved to 42 Bamfield St., and probably in 1933 to 14 Susan St. From Sands & McDougall’s Directory of Victoria (microform) at State Library of Victoria.

[xiii] Email correspondence from Linda Kennedy, Sandringham Primary School, 4 December 2007.

[xiv] The house is named as Craigie Neuk in electoral rolls from the 1940s. In her history of Glenburnie Road, Jenny Brash tells a tale of the property’s acquisition: ‘Another early house in the street was number 69. Mr John Sangster was walking past in 1936 when the cottage was being constructed. The builders were arguing heatedly and John offered them 100 Pounds there and then and bought the property.’ Glenburnie among the trees (Vermont, 1997: Jenny Brash): 14.

[xv] There appears to be no record of this at the school, although the fact emerges later (Transcript of criminal trial: 15).

[xvi] Ringwood: Penguin, 1988.

[xvii] Seeing the rafters: 1-3.

[xviii] The group also included Gordon Walker (washboard), Tom O’Brien (drums) and Brian Sheridan (piano). Sid Bridle, personal interview 22 June 2001. See also Seeing the rafters: 12-13.

[xix] Information from Student Administration at RMIT University states that Sangster ‘attended 2nd and 3rd terms for [1946] only’ (personal correspondence, 2 January 2008).

[xx] Graeme Bell, Graeme Bell, Australian jazzman: His autobiography (Frenchs Forest: Child & Associates, 1988): 56.

[xxi] It is credited by Sid Bridle, personal interview 22 June 2001.

[xxii] John Clare writes, at the personal level, ‘I found him pretentions and manipulative…[after his death] I learned that he…had a terrible, almost homicidal temper! He was famous for it, and I was the only person who did not know!’ Clare, Why Wangaratta? The phenomenon of the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz (Wangaratta: Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, Inc., 1999): 149. Bruce Johnson puts it more poetically: ‘The demonic spirit ran deeply, and often dangerously in him.’ ‘Obituary: John Sangster 1928-1995,’Jazzchord 27 (Oct/Nov 1995): 3. See also Johnson’s review of the reissue of the Lord of the Rings albums, in Music forum 12/3 (May-July 2006): 72-4.

[xxiii] The Argus, 24 September 1946: 14.

[xxiv] Although the death notice gives the spelling as Isobel, and there are other such examples besides, Isabella is given in this paper’s title and throughout since that is the name on her birth certificate and the certificate of her marriage to John Sangster. Her certificate of marriage to James Pringle gives ‘Isa. D. Davidson’.

[xxv] Furthermore, given the way he is described by those I have met who knew him, what Sangster writes about his father seems far from plausible. He was thirteen years dead by the time Seeing the rafters was published; nor is it known for certain whether there was any contact between father and son after 1946. See also n. xxxiv.

[xxvi] Bryony Cosgrove, personal interview 24 August 2009.

[xxvii] Rev. ed. Sydney: ABC Enterprises, 1987. Originally published 1979.

[xxviii] Interview between Andrew Bisset and John Sangster, Sydney, 27 August 1977. National Film and Sound Archive.

[xxix] Doug Livermore, telephone conversation 3 October 2007.

[xxx] Telephone conversation, 7 March 2008.

[xxxi] This probably relates to the years following his wife’s death. Telephone conversation, 25 January 2010.

[xxxii] Personal interview, 22 June 2001.

[xxxiii] Email correspondence from Linda Kennedy at Sandringham Primary School, 4 December 2007.

[xxxiv] Census records located via http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk. Sangster’s claim that his father was an ‘ex-sailor forty years before the mast man and buoy’ (Seeing the rafters: 3) seems spurious initially, but on closer examination is obviously nonsense . In 1946 Grant Sangster’s father turned 50, and he had been in Australia for 24 years, so it’s clear he could not have spent forty years doing anything.

[xxxv] Military record of John Sangster, VX127820, accessible at the National Archives of Australia. His date of discharge is given as 28 May 1946. He had embarked at Townsville for service in New Guinea on 8 June 1944, and disembarked from New Guinea on 13 December 1945, having completed his army service on 1 October.

[xxxvi] Military record, p. 4.

[xxxvii] The Attestation Form in his military record gives both Clerk and Stock-keeper.

[xxxviii] By Fraser Clarke. Personal interview with Margaret and Fraser Clarke, 4 December 2007. This is corroborated by Dr Keith Bowden in the criminal trial: asked by the prosecutor, Mr Sproule, KC, ‘What build of woman was she?’ he replies, ‘A well-built woman.’ ‘A big woman, would you say?’ ‘Yes.’ Trial: 20.

[xxxix] By Margaret Clarke. Personal interview with Margaret and Fraser Clarke, 4 December 2007.

[xl] Telephone conversation, 25 January 2010.

[xli] Personal interview, 22 June 2001.

[xlii] Email correspondence, 2 April 2002.

[xliii] ‘Belle was spoken of as being ‘musical’ and, as a young child, had formal music lessons.  This doesn’t sound to be a big deal these days, but when you consider that the family was operating with little income (stonemasons were always poorly paid and worked very hard for what they got…Belle must have displayed some talent to have been thought worth teaching the piano… Perhaps Grant inherited this musical ability?’ Email correspondence from Robin Briggs, 2 April 2002.

[xliv] Email correspondence, 2 April 2002.

[xlv] Telephone conversation with Fay Shearer, 7 March 2008.

[xlvi] Telephone conversation with Fay Shearer, 7 March 2008.

[xlvii] Telephone conversation with Fay Shearer, 25 January 2010.

[xlviii] Telephone conversation with Fay Shearer, 7 March 2008.

[xlix] Old Cheltenham Cemetery, Victoria [microform] : headstone inscriptions 1865-1998, compiled by Travis Sellers and volunteers. Housed at the State Library of Victoria.

[l] Later, her second husband – John Sangster – and his second wife donated their bodies to the anatomy department at the University of Melbourne.

[li] Transcript of criminal trial (hereafter Trial): 20.

[lii] Transcript of coronial inquest (hereafter Inquest): 1. Trial: 5.

[liii] ‘Woman killed with axe at Vermont: Murder charge against son’, The Argus 23 September 1946: 1.

[liv] ‘Son charged with murder: Mother beaten to death,’ The Age (23 September 1946): 3; ‘Woman battered to death: Son held,’ The Sun (23 September 1946): 3.

[lv] The eventual 1946 premiers, Essendon 10.16 (76) d. Collingwood 8.9 (57) at the MCG.

[lvi] ‘Murder charge remand for youth, 17’, The Herald (23 September 1946): 1.

[lvii] ‘Youth charged with matricide’, The Age (24 September 1946): 3.

[lviii] On her death certificate the informant’s name is signed J. J. Ogden, followed by the typed words ‘Present at Inquest, Melbourne.’

[lix] Trial: 21-2.

[lx] Inquest: 16, 24; Trial: 29/30. In both instances Mooney makes clear that a carbon was taken and that he and Sangster both held a copy while it was read.

[lxi] At both the inquest and the trial a lengthy statement appears from Mooney, telling the story of having met Sangster at Glenburnie road and travelled with him to Russell Street, before questioning him and taking his statement. Mooney’s words are duplicated very closely between the inquest and the trial, as though he were reading them to the court from detailed notes.

[lxii] Trial: 32-4.

[lxiii] Inquest: 14.

[lxiv] Inquest: 18.

[lxv] Shiels: Inquest: 28-9. Mooney: Inquest: 18-19.

[lxvi] W. W. W. Mooney, Inquest: 25.

[lxvii] Inquest: 8-9. Banks makes fairly clear his doubts about Sangster’s story, without going into great detail.

[lxviii] Constable William Ephraim Banks and Sergeant Benjamin Harald Walker were on duty with the wireless patrol and met Sangster. Banks says that Sangster ‘accompanied [them] in the patrol car’ although it’s most likely he had his bike with him too. Inquest: 8.

[lxix] Inquest: 14.

[lxx] Trial: 32. The photographer arrived at about 9 p.m. (Trial: 5).

[lxxi] This and the following from ‘Boy convicted on fire charges,’ The Herald (10 January 1946): 6.

[lxxii] A loose sheet in the brief, detailing Sangster’s previous conviction, states that following his having been found guilty on three charges of incendiarism he ‘was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months[,] such sentence being suspended on entering into a bond of £25 to be of good behaviour for 12 months.’ This is signed by W. S. Sproule, Prosecutor for the King.

[lxxiii] Inquest: 26. In fuller detail Shiels says that when Sangster said ‘everybody thinks I did it’ he replied, ‘Well, you do not know the other police. They have a job to do and we want to find the truth.’ (Inquest: 28). Later at the trial Shiels omits this remark and has to be prompted by the defence lawyer, Mr Monahan.

[lxxiv] Inquest: 28.

[lxxv] Inquest: 28.

[lxxvi] This was in the company of Mooney, Shiels and Donelly. It is not clear what became of Detective Petty, who had arrived with the other three at Glenburnie Rd.

[lxxvii] Inquest: 17.

[lxxviii] Trial: 37.

[lxxix] Blundell, Graeme. King: The life and comedy of Graham Kennedy (Sydney: Macmillan, 2003): 207. There was also a Sydney Truth, that was not the same paper.

[lxxx] ‘Tragedy ends mother-son quarrels,’ Truth (2 November 1946): 1.

[lxxxi] ‘Mother dies after blows with axe,’ The Herald (31 October 1946): 3, and ‘Tragedy ends mother-son quarrels,’ Truth (2 November 1946): 1.

[lxxxii] Personal interview, 22 June 2001.

[lxxxiii] Letter from the Government Medical Officer to the Crown Solicitor, dated 2 December 1946.

[lxxxiv] Newspaper reports indicate that they were instructed by Mr Cahir, who had represented Sangster at the coronial inquest. ‘Son acquitted of murder,’ The Age (11 December 1946): 5, and ‘Jury acquits youth on murder charge,’ The Argus (11 December 1946): 6.

[lxxxv] Trial: 1. What he said is not recorded.

[lxxxvi] ‘“Accident” plea for youth on matricide charge,’ The Sun (10 December 1946): 22. I say ‘at some point’ because there seems to be no indication in the transcript of his making such an address. Similarly, the luncheon adjournment on the first day is noted, with the resumption of proceedings at 2.15 p.m. But where the first day finished and the second began, is not clear.

[lxxxvii] ‘Youth who killed his mother acquitted,’ The Sun (11 December 1946): 3; ‘Son acquitted of murder,’ The Age (11 December 1946): 5; ‘Jury acquits youth on murder charge,’ The Argus (11 December 1946): 6; ‘Boy goes free: Mother treated murder-accued son very harshly, father tells jury,’Truth (14 December 1946): 3.

[lxxxviii] ‘Boy goes free: Mother treated murder-accused son very harshly, father tells jury,’ Truth (14 December 1946): 3.

[lxxxix] The lengthy article in Truth (above, n. lxxxvii) makes no bones about its reservations concerning these changes.

[xc] ‘Boy goes free: Mother treated murder-accused son very harshly, father tells jury,’ Truth (14 December 1946): 3.

[xci] Trial: 15. This is a subtle switch in emphasis on the matter of Grant’s complaining; previously the defence is keen to feature the lack of complaint as a mark of his strength in adversity.

[xcii] Trial: 13. The words are used in a question from the defence counsel, but Sangster’s reply is that she was ‘Very very rigid indeed.’ The words are repeated subsequently by the prosecuting counsel, but it is in the context of whether or not Isabella was ever seen to beat Grant. It is said here that she was not (15).

[xciii] Trial: 12.

[xciv] Trial: 10.

[xcv] Trial: 11. These words are the lawyer’s, but John Sangster agrees with them: ‘She seemed to me continually finding fault.’

[xcvi] Both Trial: 13.

[xcvii] Trial: 11.

[xcviii] Trial: 6. He even goes so far as to describe the period following his return as ‘very, very happy indeed’ (Trial: 12).

[xcix] Trial: 9. John Sangster says he had not entered this room of his wife’s since returning home. Trial: 7.

[c] Inquest: 3.

[ci] The statement to police reads, ‘When I wanted to go out as a rule Mum stopped me’, and the statement from the dock says ‘many times before my Mother had stopped me from going out’. The matter of just how many is not specifically addressed.

[cii] Seeing the rafters: 5. I mention it here only as further evidence that John Sangster did not obstruct his son’s efforts to hear live music; the story is also corroborated by Sid Bridle (at least as far as the changing of clothes at the railway station). Personal interview, 22 June 2001. Obviously Isabella is not mentioned, although it is not absolutely inconceivable that she went too. Bridle recalls the Uptown Club operating on Saturdays, not Sundays, and I have found no traces of the Sangsters at the Box Hill Presbyterian Church. (Presbyterian communion services were offered four times a year, and members were sent communion cards to submit when they attended. Records were kept of attendance. Isabella and James Pringle appeared fairly regularly at the Sandringham parish services, but after his death and her remarriage she was present at only one more, in November 1933. This does not mean she didn’t go to church at all, but the communion services were held to be significant as a measure of the member’s commitment. John Sangster does not appear at all in the Sandringham parish records, either.)

[ciii] Trial: 12-13.

[civ] Trial: 7-8.

[cv] Trial: 9.

[cvi] All from A. E. Tovey’s testimony, Inquest: 11.

[cvii] Inquest: 12. The point is a feature of his testimony at the trial also: ‘She was not shouting; she was in a normal sort of voice’ (Trial: 18).

[cviii] Trial: 14.

[cix] Trial: 13.

[cx] Statement of accused, from dock.

[cxi] Inquest: 2.

[cxii] Specifics of the ‘previous trouble’ are not given, and obviously I am inferring that the suspended jail term imposed as a consequence of the incendiarism is the business to which Sangster is referring. It does seem a pretty safe bet though.

[cxiii] ‘Youth’s story of mother’s death,’ The Herald (10 December 1946): 3.

[cxiv] ‘Boy goes free: Mother treated murder-accused son very harshly, father tells jury,’ Truth (14 December 1946): 3.