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Albert Augustus Smith was a baker who owned ‘The Old Bakery’ in Comboyne, and a bakery and the ‘Majestic Theatre’ in Church Street, Gloucester. After his wife’s disappearance in 1930 police searched his ovens but found no clues, only a length of fuse which they could not link to the case. Did Albert have anything to do with his wife’s disappearance?
Edith Margaret Smith was Albert’s second wife. In 1917 his first wife’s material shop burnt down. Albert was found guilty of maliciously setting fire to the shop with intent to defraud the insurance company and was sentenced to four years gaol. In 1924 he divorced his first wife and married Edith.
In 1926, Albert sold his Comboyne bakery when it suspiciously caught fire. Although Albert was suspected of arson there was not enough evidence to support the accusation.
In 1935, Albert was implicated in a number of serious crimes but again there was not enough evidence to convict him. These crimes included setting fire to the rival ‘Star Theatre’ in Gloucester, blowing up a business man’s home in Maroubra, and attempting to blow up a home in Wallsend with gelignite. 1 Finally, in December 1935 Albert was sentenced to twelve years gaol for the latter crime. The judge describing it as diabolical. 2
In 1946, an elderly man was killed in a series of house fires at Crescent Head. The neighbour, Albert Augustus Smith, raised the alarm but little could be done. The coroner gave an open verdict due to lack of evidence. 3 Did Albert harm his wife? I’ll let you answer that.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Labor Daily, 28 August 1935.
2 Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1935.
3 Macleay Argus, 10 September 1946.