Second: Act of Restitution

MONDAY 18TH OCTOBER, 1943
EVIDENCE HEARD BEFORE THE MASTER FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE ENQUIRY INTO CUSTODY.

THOMAS v THOMAS

BLANCHE WINIFRED THOMAS (sworn)

I am a housekeeper in Sydney. I am the plaintiff in this action and I am claiming custody of the child Helen Meredith Thomas. She is aged 6 years.

I was not quite 18 years of age when I was married.

To the MASTER: I had my mother’s consent to the marriage.

Up to that time I had not been associating with any other boys. I had been keeping company with my husband since I was 15.

After the child was born, the relations between my husband and me changed. I was the one at fault at that time. I became restless, and wanted to go out while he wanted to stay at home. I was only young, and although we had the baby, I liked some life.

My first idea that I was in love with someone else started in 1938. That was Eddie Rankine.

In 1939, my husband took proceedings against me for divorce on the grounds of adultery. I did not realise until after that I would not get my child.

I want Helen more than anything. I have not always wanted her more than anything. I did ask him once to give me my freedom and I would give up Helen. I did that to see what his reaction would be. If I did not want my child I would not keep trying to get access to her.

I went and took her from the Thomas seniors sometime early in the morning, it might have been 4.00am. Eddie Rankine was with me.

Exhibit 1. Letter postmarked 23/3/39
Witness is shown letter and reads same out loud.
When I wrote this letter I was trying to get Gordon to come to his senses. I was still in love with him and was in love with him right through the divorce proceedings.

Ex. 2. Letter postmarked 19/4/40
At this stage the witness is shown another letter.
I wrote that letter. The man "Ron" referred to came over to Sydney.

Ex. 3. Undated letter put in.
Witness reads letter.
I would not say that all of it is true. The part about the man who wanted to marry me and take me to Tasmania is not true. That was to make my husband jealous. The words about Ron are correct.

That is not a threat to him to go on with his divorce. The letters I wrote when I got to Sydney and when I wrote these – well, I practically went down on my knees for him to take me back.

In one of the letters that I spoke about freedom I mentioned about custody of Helen. In one of then I mentioned we had made a mistake and I had not missed anyone so much in my life.

Q. Would you agree with these words in answer to a question by Mr. Newman. The question was "I suppose you realize that your conduct at any rate is the cause of the present action for divorce". Did you answer "I know that I deserve it. I know how awful I was. I was indiscreet. I led him a terrible dance. I have not been what they are accusing me of"?

A. I suppose so.

I suppose it was true. I would not have said it if it had not been.

I know that my mother–in-law thinks a lot of this baby. I know she is well cared for. She is looked after but she is poisoned against me.

It is three and a half years since I have had a conversation with her. I went to the school on the 30th March. She screamed and ran away.