Somerton Man Mystery" West Terrace Cemetery

Six months after his body as discovered at Somerton Beach, the funeral of the Somerton Man took place on 14 June 1949 at West Terrace Cemetery. The service was arranged with some secrecy to ensure that the curious public would be kept away. Captain E.J. Webb of the Salvation Army led the service, and a small wooden cross was placed as a headstone. A few days after the service, A. Collins, a mason, provided a proper headstone for the grave which was inscribed with the words:

HERE LIES
THE UNKNOWN MAN
WHO WAS FOUND AT
SOMERTON BEACH
1st DEC.1948

Three days after the Somerton Man was buried, the Coronial Inquest into his death commenced at the Independent Order of Oddfellows Building (IOOF) on Flinders Street. The inquest was presided over by Coroner Thomas Cleland and a number of people involved in the investigation testified, including John Lyons, Detectives Leane and Brown, Dr Bennett, Dr Cleland, and Paul Lawson. In his concluding remarks, the Coroner stated that:

“The evidence is too inconclusive to warrant a finding. There is no evidence as to who the deceased was. Although he died during the night of the 30 November – 1st December, I cannot say whether it was administered by the deceased himself or by some other person.

I therefore adjourn this inquest sine die.” (without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing).

Images

The grave of the Somerton Man

The grave of the Somerton Man

The wooden cross initially placed on the grave had the words "Unknown Man" inscribed on it. It was soon replaced with the proper headstone. | Source: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

Somerton Man's grave, West Terrace Cemetery

Somerton Man's grave, West Terrace Cemetery

Source: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

A plaque at the Somerton Man's grave, West Terrace Cemetery

A plaque at the Somerton Man's grave, West Terrace Cemetery

Source: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

The Coronial Inquest

The Coronial Inquest

The Independent Order of Oddfellows Building, where the Coronial Inquest was held, was located on the corner of Flinders Street and Victoria Square. It was demolished in the 1960s, and a new building was erected in Gawler Place. | Source: Image courtesy State Library of South Australia, B-6600 View File Details Page

Video

Somerton Man Mystery

Professor Derek Abbott from the University of Adelaide provides details on the Coronial Inquest held in 1949. | Source: National Trust of South Australia View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Adelaide City Explorer Team, “Somerton Man Mystery" West Terrace Cemetery,” Adelaide City Explorer, accessed July 23, 2017, http://adelaidecityexplorer.com.au/items/show/169.
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