Obsession

All For Love: Part Two

Black and white dual mugshot; man, seated on left, standing with hat on on right.

Gerard Beaumont (alias Gerard Bardelli, Gerald Beaumont, Gerard de Beaumont) (detail), 31 October 1921 New South Wales Police Forensic Photography Archive, Sydney Living Museums

Love can make people do crazy things, risking their reputations, careers and even their freedom. New research into the NSW Police Forensic Photography Archive has revealed some unexpected stories behind the images.

Frenchman Gerard Beaumont seemed unable to take no for an answer. He was charged with stealing items of clothing, including an opera cloak, from a woman living in Neutral Bay on Sydney’s lower north shore. He admitted that he had taken the woman’s clothes but asked the all-male jury to stop thinking like ‘Britishers’ and instead imagine they were passionate Frenchmen. The woman had rejected his advances, and Beaumont explained that in a fit of jealousy he had taken the items to prevent her from going on a date with his rival. He further declared, ‘In my country it is nothing for a young man to be chased by gendarmes because he has climbed, perhaps, to the window of his lady to say good-night to her’.2 The magistrate described his defence as very strange but entirely worthy of consideration. Beaumont was acquitted. The young woman’s thoughts on his actions weren’t recorded. 

You can read more about Petty Crims in Underworld.

About the author

Nerida Campbell

Curator

Nerida’s passion for history was influenced by childhood holidays spent at her grandmother’s farm, happily rifling through chests brimming with family photographs, generations of clothing and things she still can’t identify.