PRISONERS SENTENCED.  28 May 1929 Wellington [NZ]

John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, charged with forging a Post Office savings Bank withdrawal slip for £100, and uttering, five charges, eighteen months' hard labour, to be followed by two years' reformative detention. [Uttering is putting forged money into circulation.]

Thursday 3 March 1932 FOUND UNCONSCIOUS
A young man was found unconscious on the footpath at Ryde- (Sydney) on Saturday night; He remained unconscious for 16 hours, but when he rallied today his mind was a blank. A bankbook in his pocket showed a credit balance of £893, which had not been drawn upon for four years. The name in the book was John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan of Wellington (N.Z.)

Wednesday 8 June 1932 ENGINEER SENTENCED 
Victimised Hotelkeeper
SYDNEY, Tuesday. Sentence of six months' imprisonment was imposed on John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, 27, an engineer. When he was convicted at the Balmain Police Court today on a charge of having endeavoured to impose on Robert Scott. It was alleged that defendant told Scott, a hotel keeper, that he was an engineer from New Zealand and that he had some thousands of pounds to invest. He booked rooms at the hotel and later disappeared, leaving unpaid a bill for £7/8/11 for board and lodging.

Thursday 3 November 1932 BANKBOOK ALTERED

A ruse by a man to obtain money on being released from gaol was described in the Central Police Court yesterday. The outcome of his scheme, however, was a further term of one month's imprisonment. John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, 29, engineer, was charged with having attempted to obtain £25 from William Henry Davis on Tuesday by falsely pretending that he had an amount of £825/17/6 to his credit in the Post Office Savings Bank, Wellington, New Zealand. Detective Yates said that when questioned, O'Sullivan said: "I only had a very small credit balance about 8/- when I came out of the Bay. 'I was financially embarrassed, so I altered the amount in the passbook to represent a credit balance of about £800. I took it to Mr. Davis, and tried to get £25 from him."

Friday 1 December 1933

Letter from Old Sweetheart's
Husband Aids the Police
His Name is "John O'Sullivan"

(CORRESPONDENCE exchanged between the Brisbane and the Wellington (New Zealand) police, together with photographs and a letter written to the Medical Superintendent of the General Hospital, have led to the establishment, without a shadow of a doubt, of the identity of "John Fitzgerald," "Patrick Michael Burke," "John O'Sulivan," Brisbane General Hospital mystery patient.

He is John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, a native of Wellington, New Zealand, where he was born in 1906. TWO small scars, one on the upper lip, and another on the right wrist, have led both hospital and the police officials to state now that there Is not a shadow of a doubt as to his Identity as John O'Sulllvan, all that remains Is O'Sulllvan's own acknowledgement that that is his name.

This will not be possible for a week or two, as on Tuesday last he went under a very delicate and serious operation, for what is known as craniotomy—the lifting of a portion of the skull by operation under an anaesthetic.

Letter From N.Z.

On Tuesday last Brisbane police received a communication from the Wellington police, which gave the description of John Edmund Thomas O'Sulllvan, which exactly fits the patient in every particular, even to the cut on the right wrist. The letter stated that O'Sulllvan matriculated after a University attendance in Wellington, which he left at the age of 17 years, he joined the Lands Survey Department, where he remained for about four years. He then worked for a builder in Wellington, learning the building trade. Later, he was employed by a New Zealand shipping company as a carpenter on their ships. O'Sulllvan left New Zealand on Jan. 29, 1932, and on Feb. 20 the same year he was found unconscious lying on the roadway in Sydney, and was taken to hospital.

When he recovered consciousness he told the authorities that his name was John Thomas O'Sullivan, a civil engineer, who had recently arrived from New Zealand, where he had supervised the building of Napier's new Sewerage system. He also alleged that he had received a blow on the back of the head and had been robbed of £40. This however, proved to be incorrect.

The Description.

The description forwarded by the Wellington police is: Height 5ft l0 ½In, Dark brown hair,: hazel eyes, large ears, scar on right wrist.

The other letter, which was written by Mr. F. C. Denham, 4, Pitarua Street, Wellington, New Zealand, and dated November 15, to Dr, Pye, medical superintendent of the Brisbane General Hospital, In which there was the mention of a scar on, O'Sulllvan's lip, was proved to contain true Information. The toothbrush moustache on O'Sulllvan's upper-lip was shaved off, and the scar mentioned was then revealed.

The letter stated: "In perusing a copy of the New Zealand Sunday News, dated November 12, I saw an article with a photo of a man named. John O'Sulllvan, who was lying in your hospital in a serious condition, suffering from loss of memory.

"My wife, on the first glance at the photograph, recognised him as a boy as she had courted before our marriage. She knew him for five years, and also the family well, she is very confident that this Is the same man. "My wife thought that it would be a good idea. If we wrote you to confirm a scar you may be able to discern, although it happened in 1923 or 1925. It is a scar on the upper lip running from the fleshy part to the nose; hence the reason, the wife thinks, that he grows a moustache, to hide the scar”.

"The last time that she saw him he was growing a moustache. The cut was caused from a kick from another boy's boot, in the presence of wife, through jealousy on the boy's part.

"He was very fond of my wife while they were courting; he would suddenly turn faint, and fall, and bang his head on the ground, causing Injury to his head, which necessitated medical attention.

"My wife's and the boy's family were very friendly, and he used to live at my wife's home for long periods.

"My wife says that he definitely left Now Zealand for Australia with in the last two years, as he was made an executor of her mother's will, and we could not get hold of him.

"She says that his name is John Edmund Patrick O'Sulllvan.

"The only thing In the newspaper which confused my wife was that he had said that he was born In Bundaberg, and then went to England to attend a college as she knows that he received all his schooling In St. Patrick's College, New Zealand.

"My wife would be willing to come over and identify him.

"As regards his mother and father settling down in the Malay States, that was contemplated. They were thinking of going to New Caledonia, but it fell through prior to their separation.

Could Not See It.

Confronted with these facts thin morning O'Sulllvan, as he is now known, and who Is making a rapid recovery; after his serious operation, could not call to mind the truth or otherwise of these references. When shown a very fine photograph, which greatly resembled him, he remarked that, he could not see it.

However, those facts will later be brought under his notice, when it is hoped that the beneficial, effects of his recent operation will have restored his memory.

Saturday 6 January 1934
MAN WITHOUT MEMORY DISCHARGED FROM HOSPITAL BRISBANE, Friday. — After five months in the Brisbane General Hospital, John Edmund Thomas O 'Sullivan, who did not know who he was till police publicity established his identity, has been declared fit and discharged from the hospital. However, he says that his mind is still a complete blank as far as his past life is concerned. O’Sullivan was found lying unconscious in the roadway at New Farm during last August, and was taken to a hospital, where an operation was performed. It is understood that another patient is taking O 'Sullivan to his home to await news of the whereabouts of his relatives.

Tuesday 24 August 1937
A statement that he had £30 and two suitcases when he left Port Augusta for Mt. Gambier has been made to members of the Adelaide Hospital staff by the man who was found on the Duke's Highway near Keith. The man was found early on Sunday morning unconscious and at the point of death from exposure. Police intend to visit the hospital late this afternoon, and hope to secure a statement from the man that will clear up the mystery of how he came to be lying on the roadway, and to check with statements he has made since partially regaining consciousness. The man is reported to have said that he met two brothers at Port Augusta, and that they had promised to take him to a mine at Mount Gambier. He remembers getting into a motor car at Port Augusta, but beyond that he can not yet recall anything. The man said that he had come from Kalgoorlie. Still Dazed and Vague If the man who has described himself as Patrick Michael Murphy, 38, miner had £30 and two suitcases with him at Port Augusta, there is no evidence at present that the property was with him when he entered the car. It is not known how long Murphy had been acquainted with the brothers to whom he refers. Two other remarks made by Murphy and noted by the hospital staff are: "Lieutenant Murphy reporting to the Commanding Officer of the 54th Squadron." and. "Go on, Les. Say your prayers." When found on Sunday the man had only 10/6- in a pocket. As he is still rather dazed and vague in his statements the police cannot yet accept the theory, based on the man's remarks today, that he was the victim of assault and robbery. There was no outward sign of injury on the man consistent with his having been assaulted, beyond a scratch on a hand and the presence of blood on the nostrils and an ear. Severe Head injury. It has been suggested that Murphy may be subject to fits because of a severe head injury sustained previously and indicated by an old scar. But if that is correct, the police are still puzzled as to how he came to be lying on the road near Keith. The condition of the dancing pumps worn by the man when found, showed that he had not walked very far. Examination of the roadway nearby failed to reveal any tracks of a vehicle. Rain it is believed would have obliterated any traces. Murphy is thought to have lain in the rain and cold for several hours.

Friday 27 August 1937

New Statement By Man Found on Road

HOW Patrick Michael Kevin Murphy, 38, miner, of Kalgoorlie, came to be lying almost dead from exposure on the Duke's High way, near Keith, on Sunday morning, is still a mystery, in spite of a further statement he made to detectives yesterday. Adelaide Hospital doctors believe that a previous head injury suffered by Murphy, and his present illness, have left him confused, and that he is mixing events which have happened since Wednesday, August 18 when he says he left Kalgoorlie, with others which occurred several years ago. In a second statement to Detectives Grow and McConnell, Murphy described with minute detail buildings at Port Augusta which police inquiries show do not exist. He referred to a small wooden church, a home he visited, giving details of the furniture, and recalled having seen a child playing in a street. Murphy reiterated that he arrived by the East-West express at Port Augusta on Saturday morning, and not on Friday, when the train does arrive. A list of passengers who travelled in the East-West express, leaving Kalgoorlie on Wednesday August 18 does not contain Murphy's name, or the name of a man he says he met in the train. No Trace of Brothers Inquiries at the Mines Department, Motor Vehicles Department, Electoral Office, and other sources have failed to trace the two brothers with whom Murphy said he left Port Augusta for Mount Gambier. Neither can the police trace two cases which Murphy says are missing, as well as £30 he says he had on arrival at Port Augusta. Murphy said yesterday that his parents lived in High street, Torquay, England, and that he rose to the rank of lieutenant in the Royal Air Force during the war, serving with the 54th Squadron. He was wounded in the head by shrapnel in France in 1918, he said, and was in hospital for six months before being discharged from the service in 1919. Further police inquiries are being made at Kalgoorlie, where Murphy said he had lived for 14 years at the Royal Hotel, and at Port Augusta. Port Pirie and Mount Gambier.

Monday 6 September 1937

Duke's Highway Case The identity of the man who was found on the Duke's Highway, near Keith, on August 22, almost dead from exposure, has been established by the police. He is John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, 34, civil engineer, a native of Victoria. For some time he was living in New Zealand, and is believed to have been in this State for only a short period. The man described himself to members of the Adelaide Hospital staff and to Detectives Grow and McConnell as Patrick Michael Kevin Murphy 38, miner, of Kalgoorlie. Police are still investigating the man's story that he left Port Augusta on Saturday, August 21, with two brothers for Mount Gambier, and that he then had two cases and more than £30 in his possession. When found the man had 10'/6- in a pocket. It is believed that a previous head injury and his present illness have left the man confused, and that he is mixing recent events with others that occurred several years ago.

Friday 15 October 1937


Man Found on Road Found at the point of death on the Prince's Highway, near Nairne, on August 22, John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, 34, civil engineer, a native of Victoria, is still an inmate of the Adelaide Hospital. He will be there for two or three weeks yet, as an operation is to be performed on him. The operation will not be connected with an old head injury revealed by a scar. Police have so far been unable to check many details in a story told by O'Sullivan of a motorcar trip from Port Augusta with two men, and the loss of two suitcases and £36. It is believed that the previous head injury, and the man's condition when found, have left his mind confused, and that he is mixing recent events with others that occurred several years ago. How the man came to be lying unconscious on the road near Nairne has not yet been explained.

Thursday 18 November 1937

Injured Man Regains Memory

John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan. 38, engineer, of Victoria, and formerly of Great Britain, who was found unconscious on the Duke's Highway, near Keith several weeks ago, was discharged from the Adelaide Hospital on Tuesday with his memory restored. After he was found he told the police that two suitcases and £30 were missing. He did not know how he came to be on the road. He later said that he remembered two men giving him a ride from Port Augusta on their way to Mount Gambier. When he was found dazed and with a minor wound in the head, he was brought to Adelaide and was interviewed several times by detectives, but he was unable to recall all of the events. After his discharge from the hospital he called on the detectives and told them that he did not wish the enquiry to be taken further. He thought that he knew who could find his property. He said that he had been travelling in the country for some time before the accident.

Thursday 9 December 1937

Larceny And Attempted Suicide Charges
John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan. 38, labourer, of no fixed abode, appeared before Mr. Muirhead, PM, on a charge of having, on November 20, stolen a canvas case, a leather suit case and other goods, together valued at £3, the property of Leslie Claude Hamilton, of North Terrace, city. Several previous convictions read out by Police Prosecutor Crafter were admitted by O'Sullivan. He was ordered imprisonment for two months. Hamilton said that he was in a cell at the City Watchhouse on November 20 and saw the defendant there. He asked O'Sullivan if he would call on Miss Ellis at Verco Buildings, tell her that he was in the cells and ask her to get his clothes together. O'Sullivan said that he would do so. Edith Letitia Maude Ellis, dressmaker, of North Terrace, city, said that, when O'Sullivan called on her, he stated that he was employed at the police station looking: after prisoners. He said that he wanted Hamilton's goods, and he took them away, saying that he would deliver them to 'Doc' a nickname by which Hamilton was known, Detective Sharpe said that he arrested O'Sullivan at Port Augusta. He admitted having taken the goods. O'Sullivan was also charged with having attempted to commit suicide. He was committed for trial. Detective Sharpe said, that he was escorting O'Sullivan to Adelaide by train from Port Augusta on Tuesday. Before reaching Port Pirie the defendant asked to be allowed to go to the lavatory. He went there and after a while the witness saw blood running out from under the door. He broke the glass of the door and on unlocking it saw O'Sullivan huddled up on the floor On carrying the defendant out, the witness found a big cut on the inside of his right elbow. Asked why he had cut his arm the defendant said, 'I have got nothing to look forward to. Wherever I go the police will be looking for me, and I want to finish it. ‘Why don't you let me finish it?' The witness found the razor blade (produced) on the floor of the lavatory. Later the defendant said, 'You haven't saved me. I’ll do it again as soon as I can.'


Investigating one of the most extraordinary cases in their experience, doctors at the Adelaide Hospital are trying to get to the root of a queer affliction that causes a mystery man now in the hospital to lapse into unconsciousness, and, upon reawakening, to have little or no recollection of his own identity or recent happenings. Admitted this week under the name of Karl Mattiske, this man has spent long weeks in several hospitals in recent years. He is believed to be identical with a man who, on the verge of dying from exposure, was picked upon the Duke's Highway, four miles on the Adelaide side of Keith, last September. He had lain on the road in bitter cold and with rain beating down on him for hours before he was seen by a passing cyclist. He had been bleeding from the nose and an ear and was stiff with cold. He showed no sign of life, but revived after Mounted Constable Walsh, of Keith, had packed him in hot-water bottles. In disconnected remarks which he made while regaining consciousness, he spoke in German, Italian, and English. He was admitted to the Adelaide Hospital the next day under the name of Patrick Michael Murphy, 38, miner, of Kalgoorlie, and complained that he had been robbed of about £30 and two suitcases. Detectives made exhaustive inquiries to check up on the man's recent movements, but his haziness about his near and remote past considerably hampered them. Eventually they established his identity as John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, 34. Civil engineer, of Victoria. They found that he had been in New Zealand, and had not long been in South Australia. Discovered at Renmark, O'Sullivan, apparently restored to health, left the Adelaide Hospital in November. But more was to be heard of him. Early this year he was picked up unconscious in a street at Renmark, and for days afterwards lay in a coma in the Renmark Hospital. As consciousness slowly returned, his confused murmurings indicated that he had been employed as a station book keeper in the Northern Territory. Reaching the convalescent stage, he gave the name of Karl Mattiske and said that he could not remember anything since he left the Northern Territory in 1929 to attend a Melbourne Cup meeting. Head scars, indicating that at some time O'Sullivan had undergone a major skull operation led doctors at Renmark to believe that his lapses and loss of memory might be due to the recurrence of an old head injury. Consequently, before O'Sullivan left the Renmark. Hospital about a fortnight ago, they advised, him to go to Adelaide Hospital for examination by X-ray and a specialist. Further misadventure befell O'Sullivan on his way to Adelaide. Somehow or other he got to within three miles of Pinnaroo, where he again lapsed into unconsciousness and lost his memory of recent events. He was found on the roadway late at night and was taken to the Pinnaroo Hospital. Severe Shock Theory After a few days there he was discharged, and to make sure that he would reach Adelaide this time, Mounted Constable Ball made the trip with him. Now O'Sullivan, still confused about his identity and past history, is lying in the Adelaide Hospital while doctors seek the solution of his strange mental malady. Has some severe shock, such as a war-time injury, damaged the delicate mechanism of his brain, and made him assume the personality of some friend or chance acquaintance? Is he to spend his life dazedly roaming from place to place and puzzling medical science with his disconnected memories and activities, or will the doctors find some way of settling the unquiet spirit that has made him. a wanderer over the face of the land?


Sunday 10 April 1938 Man Sent To Gaol ADELAIDE. Saturday

Following medical testimony that he was a malingerer, John Edmund Thomas O'Sullivan, found on the road at Keith last year, apparently suffering from loss of memory, was sentenced in the Adelaide Police Court today to six weeks' imprisonment with hard labour. When brought before Mr. Morgan,

S.M., on a charge of being an idle and disorderly person, O'Sullivan dropped into a chair and said he could not move his right arm or leg because they were paralysed. The police prosecutor (Inspector Crafter) said that during his career of malingering in hospitals O'Sullivan had caused the police much expense and trouble.

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