Ion (Jack) Llewellyn Idriess 1889-1979

Dedicated to the Life and Works of

Little snippets about Jack


So many little stories! For example, Jim Bradley, compiling his Gouger of the Bulletin came across a remarkable Bulletin article under the name of "Gouger". On 24 December 1930, Jack wrote that his mate at Lightning Ridge - the disgraced lawyer, Tom Peel - was actually a woman.

Now, in Lightning Ridge Jack wrote extensively about Tom. He even named a chapter, "Tom Peel" after him. Jack would have just turned 20 when he arrived on his first visit to Lightning Ridge around October 1909 (Beverley Eley said he arrived there in 1908 but that cannot be so). Jack said "Old" Tom Peel was about 45 and once had been a solicitor in Sydney. Jack had heard rumours about his dependence on alcohol.

On his two visits to Lightning Ridge Jack and Tom were the best of mates. So why would Jack publicly reveal Tom's secret (if it was true)? And if the story was not true the publication of the article in the Bulletin would have been a really sad way to treat a mate.

How about this angle? Tom was about 45 in 1909 and by 1930 he would have been about 66. Was he still alive? Of course, if he was still alive, Jack would have known he would read the Bulletin. What if Tom was still alive and read the story?

But then, did Jack know Tom was dead? Perhaps drank himself to death? Does this make any difference? Tom was still Jack's best mate for seven or eight months in 1909/1910 and at least a year in 1911/1912. Let's assume the story was true (that Tom was in fact a woman) why would Jack treat a mate's memory like this? and if it is not true then Jack made up a scurrilous story just to get his name in the Bulletin.

What do you think?

Do you have other stories or snippets to include in these pages?