THE case of the Nobles, dealt with in the Frankston Police Court on Monday last, will probably excite a good deal of interest throughout the State, leaving an impression on the public mind that the accused were, perhaps, “more sinned against than sinning.”
The attitude of the police in conducting the prosecution was wholly sympathetic.
The Melbourne daily papers followed the lead thus given, and pictured to the astounded public the spectacle of a stricken family driven to crime to avert starvation.
The story, as related in the Police Court, and reproduced in the Press, was sufficiently startling to give the average citizen pause.
“The Standard” heard the story told in the court, and has formed the opinion that the sympathy extended to the Nobles is, to a great extent, undeserved.
On the contrary, the plea that poverty, to the point of starvation, drove them to crime, has not been substantiated.
As a matter of fact, full details go to prove that while the family and their ne’er-do-well associates were existing in a state of moral depravity, which easily led to the commission of acts not within the law, the matter of starvation or bounty with them was largely a matter of choice.
Out of 14 persons living in the two-roomed house, five were men, two were women, and seven were children, six of whom were wards of the State.
The Neglected Children’s Department paid Mrs Noble £9 per month for the maintenance of these unfortunate mites, who were found by the police to be scantily clad.
It was not stated whether they were ill-fed.
Three of the five men referred to were not related in any way to the Nobles – one was missing when the police arrived.
The point is that all these men were content to shelter with the Nobles, despite an alleged empty cupboard.
In the Police Court sympathy was enlisted by the recital of where, one evening, Mrs Noble, in despairing accents, appealed to her sons, Taylor and Wardlow (according to young Noble’s story) as follows:
“There is nothing for the children to eat; I cannot see them starve – go out and see what you can do.”
And the police evidence has it that these “chivalrous” young men arose, went forth into the night, and – ROBBED A BOOT SHOP!
It is recorded that old man Noble, the women folk, and some of the children were provided with new boots as the result of this raid. The depleted larder and empty stomachs were apparently forgotten.
Thereafter three other robberies were committed by the gallant three, and the success which attended their efforts suggests the practiced rather than the amateur hand.
Postage stamps, fountain pens, cigarettes and tobacco were included in the hauls made on behalf of the starving folk at home.
Bakers and butchers shops appear to have enjoyed an inexplicable immunity.
Altogether these youths exercised considerable ingenuity and enterprise in their criminal undertakings, and Mr and Mrs Noble proved no less resourceful in placing the ill-gotten goods in safe keeping.
Had the same industry been confined to legitimate channels, the fruit of honest labor would have been abundant – sufficient even for fifteen.
That the opportunity exists for legitimate and lucrative employment throughout the district is common knowledge.
Labor is at a premium, and workmen for farm, orchard and general works almost unprocurable.
It is known that one of the shop breaking trio actually worked for a single day. At the end of eight hours he asked for an advance, and was paid 12s on the strength of the story that the people at home were starving.
He was never seen by his employer again, and inquiry elicited the fact that the day’s wage had been squandered in a night’s dissipation with drink procured from a wine shop.
Everything points to the fact that the house of the Nobles was the resort of an idle, dissolute and criminal hand, who probably left their city haunts for very good reasons.
Thanks to the Salvation Army the elder daughter of the Nobles is assured of the care and comfort her unfortunate condition demands, and a younger sister has also been taken to the same Institution.
It now remains for a searching inquiry to be held into the working of the Neglected Children’s Department.
There must be something radically wrong with a system which hands over the care of young children to people of the Noble class.
LAST week. Mr J. Sargood, son of Mr A. H. Sargood, of “Deniston”, Mornington Road, met with a very painful accident whilst riding a motor cycle.
He was treated at St Pancras Hospital, Frankston, and is now progressing satisfactorily.
A MORE serious accident befell Mr Guy Ramsden, who is visiting Frankston, as the guest of Mr Bright, of Mornington Road.
Mr Ramsden was riding a motor cycle down Oliver’s Hill, when he collided with a vehicle driven by Mr Leland Davey, of Mt Eliza.
The cyclist was thrown heavily to the roadway, and on being removed to St Pancras Hospital, was found to be suffering from a slight concussion and abrasions to the face and head.
THE Frankston Seconds Football Club held a highly successful social evening in the Mechanics’ Hall last Friday evening.
The popularity of the junior players with the public was evinced by the large attendance, between 70 and 80 couples being present.
Dancing provided the principal attraction, and refreshments were served during the evening.
NEXT Thursday evening the Brass Band will hold its final euchre party and dance for the season in the Mechanics Hall.
MRS G. Connal announces by advertisement that she has opened business as a dressmaker in Frankston.
MR Milner Macmaster, of the Bay Estate Agency, has made arrangements for the opening of a temporary office opposite the Frankston Railway Station towards the end of next week, so that he may be ready to see country clients returning from the Royal Show on Friday and Saturday.
As permanent offices will be built on an adjoining site as speedily as the scarcity of labor and material allow, the address will remain “opposite the railway station, Frankston.”
ON Saturday last, the majority of the Frankston people who journeyed by special train to Somerville, to see the football season out, had to walk back to Frankston, as the train returned empty without them.
Many of the players had to pad it, too, whilst the Mornington people were forced to walk to Baxter.
The station master at Somerville held the train as long as he possibly could,
but the whole trouble was caused by Umpire Osborne holding up the game until the spectators got outside the enclosure.
THE Frankston branch of the Anti-Liquor League held a meeting in the Mechanics’ Hall on Monday night.
Cr F. H. Wells presided.
Miss Box was appointed treasurer, and working committees were also appointed.
Arrangements were also made to hold a public meeting at Frankston on Monday, October 4th, when the Rev. Frank Lynch, M.A., B.D. will speak.
FROM the pages of the Mornington Standard, 17 September 1920.