Storekeeper’s Claim: 1946





In the Geraldton Local Court yesterday before the resident magistrate (Mr. T. Ansel)- Albert. Rolfe Wilson sought an order under the National Security (Landlord and Tenant) Regulations for the eviction of Mrs. Annie Herbert, a widow, from premises at 75 Eleanor Street. Mr. D. McMGlynn appeared for the applicant and Mrs. Herbert was represented by Mr. C. E. Stow. After Mr. Glynn had informed the magistrate that the applicant was the lessee of the premises and respondent the sub-lessee, Wilson gave evidence that he was a storekeeper, holding a lease of the premises which he had let to Mrs. Herbert. When he acquired the business she was conducting, he informed her that she could occupy the house, at the rear of the store, until such time as he needed it himself. Since then he had married. Mrs. Herbert had two grown-up children. He was a former prisoner of war, who had been discharged from the army in August, 1945. He had told respondent prior to his marriage of his intention to wed and she had remarked, ‘Well, you will want  the house,’ to which he replied, ‘Yes.’

To Mr. Stow applicant said he was at present staying with his people, and admitted that it was thus ‘hardly likely’ he would be turned out into the street without accommodation. ‘What do you think will happen to Mrs. Herbert if she ‘is turned out?’ inquired counsel, and Wilson said he supposed she would secure a place into which to go, but Mr. Stow pointed out that she had declined to enter premises in Eleanor Street, which had been suggested as a home for her, because the accommodation consisted only of a bedroom with a dining room and kitchen, which was unsuitable for the requirements of herself, a boy of fifteen and a girl of seventeen years. When counsel asked applicant why he himself had not taken the accommodation referred to, he explained that he desired to live at the site where was being conducted.

Mr. Stow said the attitude of His respondent was that she did not desire to keep the applicant out of the house a moment longer than was necessary. Unfortunately, she had nowhere to go with her children, although she had made a number of unsuccessful attempts to secure another place, and obviously three people could not live in quarters with only one bedroom. The applicant was not the owner of the premises in dispute, it was not as though he had paid a thousand pounds for them — he was merely a lessee. When he did not need the place he was quite satisfied to accept a fair rent for the premises, but now he sought them for his own benefit. Mrs. Herbert promised to. continue her efforts to obtain a suitable house and there was no attempt on her part to just sit tight where she was, Mr. Stow submitted.

Mrs. Herbert gave evidence that in December last she negotiated the sale of the business to the applicant. Before the sale was finalised she asked Wilson about the house and she understood he was not disturbing the existing arrangements, as whatever he intended to do would not be for some time, although he agreed that it would be wise to write to the owner of the premises acquainting him with the position. Eventually it was agreed that she should live in the house, nothing was discussed on the subject of rent, and she continued to reside there under the same conditions as had prevailed previously. Witness said applicant first mentioned that he desired to occupy the house some time in February of 1940, when he told her he would later need the premises, adding that he intended to marry. Following his marriage, the matter of leaving the house came up, and she told him she would endeavour to secure accommodation elsewhere.

The quarters suggested to her at another address, said respondent, she found to be quite unsuitable, and in quest of accommodation she had made inquiries in every avenue she could think of, without success. Everywhere it seemed the same – someone had to go out, before she could get in a house. ‘I am not standing in Mr. Wilson’s light,’ she said. ‘If I could get a suitable house, I would take it tomorrow.’

To Mr. Ansell witness admitted that it was an advantage to live in the house if one were conducting a business in the store at that address.

The respondent told of her efforts to see if she could get a house built, and the difficulties confronting her.

‘Have you any idea of when you may be able to vacate the house?’ inquired Mr. Ansell.

‘I have none,’ said the respondent, adding ”I have tried and tried to secure |a place.’

The magistrate, after a brief allusion to the question of hardship involved in the issue, remarked ‘I think Wilson himself is under some hardship. However, I am not at all satisfied that Mrs. Herbert has somewhere to go, and I do not see that I can put her out in the street. The only thing I can do is to adjourn the application for two months.’ And to Mrs. Herbert he offered the advice, ‘I think you might bring these court; proceedings to the notice of the Workers’ Homes Board. It may help you in the matter of building.’

Source: – Geraldton Guaradian and Express, Saturday 13 July 1946


About Jenny MacKay

Just a person who is looking forward to retirement and enjoying the golden years!
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3 Responses to Storekeeper’s Claim: 1946

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