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REV. RONALD GRIGGS.
At Colonel Light Gardens. Echo of Omeo Tragedy.
Memories of what was at the time commonly spoken of as 'the Omeo tragedy,' have re- cently Been revived by the dis-
covery that the Rev. Ronald Grlggs, who was then acquitted of the charge of murder, had since been living In Adelaide - under the assumed name of 'Max- well.' He had been preaching at the Pres -ytcrian Church in Colonel Light Gar lens, and has now gone to Western Aus ;ralia, where, . it is understood, he in tends to enter civil life. While in Ade aide he lived with Mr. A. R. Stevens it Holden Park, near Woodville, and inder his assumed name was employed iy the Presbyterian Home Mission Com nittee at Colonel Light Gardens. En juiries instituted by the committee into the credentials' presented by 'Maxwell,' ed to his identification as the Rev. Ron ild Griggs. ' The credentials, which the itationing committee of the Presbyterian Church in Victoria were asked to verify, included his University certificate, which bad caused gome doubt in the minds of the Adelaide committee, because it ap peared as though the name had been erased and altered. As soon as -tho identification was definitely established Mr. Griggs was dismissed. Mr. Griggs met Mr. Stevens at Le Havre in France, wliere they were both members of the A.I.F. They were to gether later in Weymouth Camp (Eng land), and from bis personal observation of him Mr. Stevens considered him a man of fine character. After their re turn to Australia they continued a cor respondence -with more or less regularity, Mr. Griggs telling of his progress in the training college and at various places where he preached. After his acquittal of the charge he came to Adelaide at the suggestion of Mr. Stevens, who was anxious that he should be given every opportunity to make a fresh start ill life. That was about two months ago. He made a very favourable impression oh people who visited the house of Mr. Stevens. Indeed, such was his reputa tion while in Adelaide that three ministers prominent in the Presbyterian Church have declared that they would do all they possibly could to help him in some new occupation.
Earnest In Church Work. Mr. A. R. Stevens was questioned on Friday evening, relative to the visit of Mr. Uriggs to this State. He said that bis knowledge of Mr. Griggs's good quali ties led him to offer the former clergyman a home, and continued:— 'It is about 10 years since I first met Griggs. After the armistice we were in Weymouth Camp (Eng land) together. I had served in the 8th Machine Gun Company and Mr. Griggs was attached to a. unit from another State. Knowing how he had resisted the many temptations that existed both in France and England, I was able to sum him upi as a man of fine character, and made liim my chum. We were in the headquarters office at Weymouth for six months, working side by side, and had many outings together. We were among the last five to leave tho camp wIjcu it was linally closed, but we came to Aus tralia by different troopships. After our return we corresponded more or less regularly, and Mr. Griggs in uis let ters related hia progress in the training college and at various places where he preached. Although we did not see each other during the intervening' years, we were practically bosom pals. I wrote to Mr. Griggs aiter his arrest, but di- not receive a reply until after he had been acquitted.- We exchanged further letters then, and it was at my (suggestion that he came to Adelaide to start afresh. That-ws3 about two- months ago. ? Recovery from Depression.
'When Mr. Griggs arrived,' continued Mr. Stevens, 'he seemed rathsr down in spirits, but after he had been at my house for a couple or weeks he became much brighter. He possessed a fine library, and some of his books lie brought with him. Soon after his arrival he accompanied me almost daily on the round to my various customers, and this outdoor life probably did much to improve his health and spirits. Some of my customers recognised him as Mr. Grigps by Mb likeness to newspaper photographs, although he was going under the nama of Maxwell. They spoke to me about the recognition, and cougratu ated me for the helping hand I was giving him. ' The customers did not Bay any thing to Mr. Griggs, however, to indi cate that tbey knew who he was. Visi tors to my house who met him were charmed with his manner and took an immediate liking to him. They knew who he was, and appreciated the efforts I was making to try to put him on his feet again. Mr. Griggs had said to me when referring to his trouble that he would like to know the real truth of tho matter. He was fond of my little girl, but he did not mention his own child, -beyond say ing when ho lieard of the disposal ot the property of his wife, that he did not want any of the money. It could all go to the child. While' Mr. Griggs was staying with me his heart-broken mother wrote to me from Tasmania and thanked me for what I had done for her son. 1 did not mention to Mr. Griggs, however, that I had received this letter. I did not agree with Mr. Griggs that he should seek to continue his connection with the church, as I thought that it would be better if he sought gome occupation in civil life. However, he seemed deter mined to make good in the ministry ant he continued to study with tbe aim of eventually being ordained. He was popular at Colonel Light Gardens among the members of the congregation, but I did not hear him preach there. Sympathy of Ministers. 'When it came to the knowledge of the church authorities who he really was,' Mr. Stevens proceeded, 'sympathy was expressed with him in his endeavour to start afresh. Three leading ministers of the Presbyterian Church said that they would do all possible to help him in some new occupation. Mr. Griggs has gone to Western Australia, where he will prob ably enter civil life. I have heard from lim sinee he reached that State, and he expressed eratitnde for what 1 had done to help him. His books are still at my house. I have been criticised in some quarters for having given Mr. Griggs shelter, but I. did not take any notice, as I believed that a man should live up to Hie digger spirit and do what he can to help a mate. He has been acquitted, so why should people continue to talk scan dal regarding him? His work in South Australia in connection with the church shows that his heart was in the right place and that he was out to do all the good he could. While lie was staying at my house on two Sundays a motor called to convey him to the church to preach.' *