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  • doug.butler 10 Mar 2014 at 12:19
    For Emilie Polini read Emelie Polini; otherwise this appears the most complete account of this case.

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4 corrections, most recently by doug.butler - Show corrections



Sydney. — How marriage proved a failure in the case of Emilie Polini was revealed in the Equity Court last week, when she made an application for the custody of her baby   girl. In private life Miss Polini is Mrs. Ellis. She was married to Harold Wilfred Ellis at Melbourne on July 16, 1918. Pat- ricia Marie Ellis was born on October 8, 1921.

This infant was the subject o an applcation to Mr. Justice Harvey in the Equity Court by Mrs. Ellis. Mr Toose, ap- peared for Mrs. Ellis, who asked the court to make an order directing her husband to   give her the custody of the child. Several affidavits were sworn in support of the ap-   plication . .     ''At the time of my marriage I was em-   ployed in my profession as an actress by Messrs. J. & N. Tait, and my husband was   a returned soldier awaiting demobilisa- tion,' Mrs. Eliis stated 'It was agreed that I should continue my work on the stage until such time as my husband was able to make a home for me. At a later date my husband promised to get a home and I promised to get the necessary fur- niture. Pursuant to my promise during the first three years I spent over £2,000 on furniture, linen, cutlery, and other things. I continued on the stage until August, 1921, when my husband told me his father was prepared to help him to go on the land. We ultimately decided on a property at Meadow Flats, 22 miles from   Bathurst, comprising over 3,000 acres. This we agreed to purchase. My husband made preliminary payment with the money ad- nanced by his father. My father-in-law, who was the custodian of my money, under my instructions realised upon cer tain of my securities, valued at £1,100, and   I paid this sum to my husband by cheque to assist him to stock, the property. In March 1922, the property was abandoned and the whole of the money in it was lost owing to my husband's lack of experience. The weeks before the birth of my child   I took a bungalow at Rose Bay and con-   tinued to live there from September, 1921,   till I returned to the stage in March, 1922. During the two years and four months   which elapsed between our marriage and   the date of the birth of our clhild the only money spent by my husband for our up- keep was six weeks' rent for the flat in Darlinghnrst and three months' advance   rent for the bungalow at Rose Bay. In addition my husband took me to live at the Hotel Grosvenor in Sydney for a few weeks. After leaving the hotel I dis- covered that the cheque which he had given in payment of our account had been dishonored. At a later date he paid this,   but about this time he pawned certain jewellery I had given him. I have reason to believe that the payment was from the result of such pawning transaction. Dur- ing the two years and four months I paid every other expense of every kind. 'It became evident that my husband could not support me and my child, so I was compelled again to seek employment.

I received another engagement, but owing   to ill-health brought about through worry and to my having been absent from the     stage for a year and four months, I was forced to work night and day, and this rendered it necessary for me to place my   child under the care of a trained nurse.   My husband said he would go to Queens-   land and seek employment on the land.   I then asked him if his mother would take our baby for a year. I employed a nurse and sent my mother-in-law £4 per week regularly until November 17, 1923. Be- tween March 1922, and November, 1823, my professional engagements took me   through the capitals of Australia, I re- turned to Melbourne in November last, expecting to remain there for some months. Before arriving there I took rooms for myself, the baby, and a nurse in a 'friend's house, and wrote to my hus- band expressing the desire for the baby and nurse to join me in Mellbourne. I also wrote similarly to my mother-in-law. Both my husband and my mother-in-law     failed to reply to thaae letters in any way. My nurse wrote and told me she had been dismissed. As a protest against their con- duct in keeping my child from me I de- clined to make any further payments to them. I then wrote to my husband pro- testing against his extraordinary conduct in keeping the baby from me. I received no answer to this letter. 'During the past 12 months I have saved over £400 out of my salary towards pro- viding for my own and my child's future,' declared Mrs. Ellis. 'This, together with other money saved by me since my return to the stage in 1922 has been invested in gilt-edged securities in New South Wales and South Australia. But for the loss dur ing my married life and the break in my professional career referred to, I should already have been in a position to carry out a long-formed plan to leave the stage. My husband, however, has never been able to support himself. I have declined a specific request to extend my existing visit to Australia on terms at least as advan- tageous as those now enjoyed by me, but I have declined to come to any decision regarding my future movements until after a very extended holiday. With my pre- sent capacity it seems in every way pro- bable that I will be in a position to retire within five years and devote myself to the education and upbringing of my child. 'At the time of my return to the stage my husband agreed that he would sur- render bis claim to our baby. At the con- clusion of my present engagement,' added Mrs. Ellis, on April 4 next, it is my in- tention to return to England to my family and rest there, probably for a year. I am very desirous of taking my child home to show my own people. ' I have recently made my will, leaving my child, excepting as to a few personal gifts, the sole heiress of my estate.' Edward Joseph Tait, of Sydney, theatri- cal manager, stated:— I have known Mrs. Ellis for the last six years, having engaged her on behalf of my firm to play in Aus- tralian opera. From being a most suc cessful artist, Mrs. Ellis has become a close personal friend of my wife and myself. Mrs Ellis has in many conversations ex- pressed to me her desire to secure a com-   petence and retire from the stage and to devote herself to her child, to whom she is passionately attached. Mrs. Ellis is one of the highest paid artists in the Com monwealth.   Ellis denied his wife's allegations. Mr. McDonald, who appeared for the husband, asked for an adjournment to al-

low tho preparation of further affidavits in reply, to his wife. Wilfred Ellis denied that at the time of his marriage he was a returned soldier awaiting demobilisation. He was then a lieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery on six months' leave, and was about to return to the front. Ellis also denied that at the time of the marriage it was agreed that his wife should continue on the stage.   He was then financially able to provide a home for his wife. His wife and himself only decided upon taking the property at Meadow Flats upon her suggestion that she should take the financial responsibility until such time as she obtained another theatrical contract. The £1,100 was not used for stock buying, but £800 of it was used by agreement with his wife in alter- ing the homestead. His wife took the balance of £300. She had never asked him to account for the expenditure. He had advanced his wife money while at Meadow Flat. He had drawn the cheque referred to under the impression that there was enough money in the bank to meet it. He had never intercepted his wife's letters, and none of her allegations against him were supported by fact. He had paid not only the rent, but part of the expenses at the various places. She had never paid for his clothes, and it was not true that she paid travelling and rental expenses. The child had lived under the same roof as himself since its birth, and had his personal care and at tention. His wife had not attended the child's christening. He had always been willing to support his wife and the child according to his means. His wife always had been attached to the stage, and was still so. She was a very imperious woman and hysterical over trivial matters. While at Rose Bay his wife showed more affec- tion for the fox-terrier than for the baby or himself . She told him that she wanted to he free, and asked him to divorce her. He refused. He did not think the child would receive proper parental affection were its custody given to its mother. He had, however, nothing against his wife's moral character The hearing of the application was ad journed.