Tuesday 9 October 2018

Ernest James Walsh - truth is often stranger than fiction!

Who would have thought that a simple request for information about why Ernest Walsh Reserve is so named, would take me down a rabbit hole of the fascinating history of a number of people with somewhat colourful pasts.
Ernest James Walsh was a well-known radio identity from the 1930s who broadcast from several radio stations including 2CH and 2UE and did voiceover work for Movietone. He married his first wife Kathleen in 1931, but married life did not suit Ernest. In 1936 he was put in charge of the evening radio session on 2UE and was a keen sailor on weekends, keeping him away from home for long periods.  The marriage was rocky, and eventually Kathleen took Ernest to court in 1938 on the grounds of desertion and a decree was given in 1939. Ernest was said to have claimed “he preferred the single life”.
Meanwhile, Robert Hudson, a timber merchant, and his wife Trixeena, had two daughters, Frances Verdie, and Trixeena Bertine. The family had homes in both Randwick and Leumeah, both named “Kumbogan”.  Frances was tragically killed in a car accident at age 20, leaving Trixeena the only remaining child. She would become the second wife of Ernest Walsh. They became engaged in August 1941, and married in September the same year. Trixeena and Ernest had two daughters, Verdie in 1943 and Ernestine in 1946. Ernest gave up the radio business and went into sales, before starting his own pottery firm – “Rochefort Pottery”, which became highly successful.
Robert Hudson was a keen racing man, and was the owner of the brilliant racehorse Lordly. Lordly had been purchased at the 1947 yearling sales by Robert for 190 pounds. He was trained by George Johnson, who, in 1948, after another of his horses returned a positive drug swab, was banned for life from racing by the A.J.C.  Upon hearing this news, Robert, who had a heart condition, had a heart attack and dropped dead at his property “Kumbogan”  in Leumeah. Lordly had won the Randwick Novice Handicap the previous week and continued to race under the syndicate of Mrs T. Hudson, and Trixeena and Ernest Walsh. He went on to win the Encourage Handicap a month after Robert Hudson’s death, and the Homebush Handicap another month later.
Lordly was retired to the newly formed “Kumbogan Stud” in Leumeah in 1953, managed by Ernest Walsh. However, trouble was brewing on the home front again for Ernest, and he and his wife Trixeena divorced. She remarried in 1957 to Gerrit Stel. It would appear that Ernest stayed on in Campbelltown, whilst Trixeena lived the life of a socialite. She divorced Stel in 1962.
Meanwhile, Ernest married Mary Ridgeway in 1961 in Campbelltown, with whom he would remain until her death in 1987. They lived on a property called “Wal-Park” and the family home stands on the corner of Leumeah Road and Parkhill Avenue.
Perhaps the most bizarre part of the tale is the ongoing story of Trixeena. She was named as a co-respondent in the divorce case of Lord and Lady Montagu in 1964 whilst they were living in Australia.  In 1966 she claimed the 27 year old Lord Angus Montagu was the father of her 5 month old baby. She had changed her name by deed poll to Montagu, and engaged a lawyer to represent her. Trixeena moved to London, and left the baby in a pram, with a note to Lord Angus, in trendy Quaglino's restaurant. She also claimed that Lord Angus owed her some money. A court ordered blood tests to prove paternity, which ultimately showed that Lord Angus was not the father of the child. Despite utterly denying that he was father, rumours were that no-one was more surprised than he when it turned out that he was not. Trixeena reverted to her middle and maiden name, and died as Bertine Hudson in 2002 in Queensland.
Ernest, on the other hand, became a well known and respected resident of Leumeah, and after his death in April 1992 his family requested that Parkhill Reserve, which had formed part of the Walsh property, was renamed  “Ernest James Walsh Reserve”.  This was granted by council in July 1992.

Written by Claire Lynch
Ryerson Index
CCC minutes


  1. Good afternoon, I would like to get in touch with the person who wrote this article as it is not correct.Cheers :)

    1. Hi, would be happy to hear any corrections! Please email me on claire.lynch@campbelltown.nsw.gov.au