Leslie Jauncey’s work on the Commonwealth Bank and the connections he made during it remained important to him and his wife Beatrice and provoked strong feelings both positive and somewhat negative. Here is a snippet from a letter Les wrote from London in 1935 to King O’Malley and a birthday card that Bea penned from California to King on the occasion of his 93rd (probably, O’Malley was always a bit cagey about his provenance) birthday.
The reference to Billy Hughes is also indicative of strong Jauncey feelings. Elsewhere in the O’Malley Papers is a marginal note on a letter from the Jaunceys to O’Malley, in which someone, possibly Bea, suggests that Les’s book on conscription could have been titled ‘Billy the B…..’.
The other night I went to see Mrs Andrew Fisher [Andrew Fisher had died in October 1928 but Margaret Fisher remained in London]. Two sons were there too. I enjoyed seeing them, for I could see quite plainly that nobody in that family knew anything about banking. Even today the family knows nothing of the possibilities of the Commonwealth Bank.
One of the sons is working in a private bank in America. He got his Ph.D. at Yale in economics, but apparently wrote his thesis on some other subject than the Commonwealth Bank. Now if his father had put in the bank it is certain that a son writing a thesis on banking would have been only too anxious to write up the works of his father, but it is only too clear that nobody in the Fisher family had the slightest thing to do with the creation of the Commonwealth Bank. I was much amused to notice that when I brought up your name, as “my good friend, King O’Malley”, there was an ominous silence, which I took note of. You see the old book has spilt the beans and they do not like it any more than Billy [Hughes] likes the old or the new book.
I notice that Lyons kicked the Little Digger out of the Government [over an issue of foreign policy]. Well, that is in his favour! I hope that Billy is through for good and all. He is a clever monkey, though. [Hughes was soon back in office and became Minister for External Affairs, but without real power, according to the Australian Dictionary of Biography.]
(Leslie Jauncey to King O’Malley, 30 December 1935, O’Malley Papers, NLA MS460/5453)
Hello, our dear Aimee & Bishop – this is to wish you a very happy birthday, Bish, & to say you must do what this card says, reach the 100 mark. We miss you & miss Melbourne. It is very nice living there & one day I hope we come back. I have found that Australia & New Zealand are more up to date than we realised & living is so pleasant there. The people are happier than the Americans and take life more easily. It is senseless to be rushing around all the time. Will write again soon. Happy July 4th & hope you are both well. Love, Bea.
(Beatrice Jauncey to King O’Malley, postmarked 29 June 1951, O’Malley Papers)
The reason why O’Malley is addressed as ‘Bishop’ is here. He died on 20 December 1953 and the Australian Dictionary of Biography reckons he may have been 95 years old then. Les Jauncey wrote in sympathy to Aimee O’Malley.