Whilst scrolling through microfilms on a job for a customer, I came across an interesting photo in a 1948 copy of the Auckland Star. The caption reads: “Juliet Hulme and William Brown make a colourful picture in their bright tartan slacks when they arrived at Whenuapai this morning.” The issue was dated Tuesday 23 March 1948.
Could it be .... I wondered. Was this the murderess Juliet Hulme, aka Anne Perry, aka Kate Winslet in ‘Heavenly Creatures’? And why was Juliet and the boy, who appeared not to be related, wearing matching tartan slacks? Juliet did have a younger brother called Jonathan but it seems he arrived in New Zealand much later in the year with their parents. Naturally, I went ahead and sleuthed.
|Ref: Auckland Star, cutting from 23 March 1948|
I sleuthed further. Juliet had indeed come to New Zealand in 1948 although not with her parents and brother. According to Graham, she had been sent to the Bahamas in 1947 to live with friends of the family, apparently due to ill health. At some point she had arrived in New Zealand, spent time in the Bay of Islands, and met up with her folks later in the year. Graham estimated her arrival to be between February and April 1948. The Auckland Star photo was dated 23 March.
Graham also writes that the names of Juliet’s Bahama ‘foster parents’ were not known, and her mother never mentioned them in her correspondence. One might be led to conclude, however, taking into consideration Juliet, her travelling companion, and the matching tartan slacks, that the family was called Brown and that they had a little boy called William. And, incidentally, ‘So Brilliantly Clever’ is a finalist in the NZ Post Book of the Year awards.
For all those budding sleuths out there, older copies of the Auckland Star from 1870 to 1926 can viewed and searched on the Papers Past website.
Author: Joanne Graves, Central Auckland Research Centre