Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

As the dust settled in Perth's Langley Park earlier this week and the billionaire's protesting over  a new mining tax were safely ensconced in their limos, our thoughts wandered to the whereabouts of the wondrous Rose Hancock Porteous , Perth socialite who thrilled and delighted a nation when as a humble maid for the late mining magnate Lang Hancock, she married  the ailing tycoon when he was 74 and she 38.

Rose, in a city that was not easy to shock with the antics of an Alan Bond who first snared a nation by winning the prestige America's Cup in 1983 outraging the conservative New York Yacht Club that had held the trophy since 1851, and then snared tens of thousands of investors in dud schemes, or a Laurie Connell who launched a merchant bank with a few hundred million dollars borrowed from the state government which all disappeared in a puff of smoke, Rose Hancock was breath of fresh air edging out Bond's wife "Big Red" Eileen as the western city's major society queen.

Rose & Lang
Rose and Lang built a love nest for themselves-Prix L'Amour, a 50 room gala palace overlooking the Swan River and in the upper class Perth suburb of Peppermint Grove where champagne and caviar parties  abounded and swells from all over the country, bussed in on Rose's private jet, danced the  night away-whilst Lang languished upstairs in an oxygen tent.

Lang's daughter Gina Rinehart from a previous marriage never saw eye to eye with Rose and bitter legal fights followed Hancock's death and stories of dodgy wills abounded and there were tales of Lang being poisoned and so on.

Prix L'Amour
But Rose got Prix L'Amour and a tidy sum  and married a real estate agent William Porteous 3 months after Lang's death and together they razed Prix L'Amour to the ground, sold off blocks of the land for tens of millions and built themselves their own smaller love nest in it's place. Drug charges followed and court battles over legal fees but our Rose survived it all.

Now news comes that Rose has had a stroke and is recovering at home. Her facebook page has remained strangely silent with the last post being on the Dec 9th 2009 saying "So many lovely fans!". The previous one on May 17th she says "oh I still love my Willie!", presumably referring to husband William who is caring for Rose at home.

The Shuttle encountered Rose a few times when she travelled to Sydney. The first was at the premier of the FoxTel cable TV show "Beauty and The Beast" where she was a panelist along with others like Ita Buttrose and  the One Nation politician Pauline Hanson. Hanson made a derogatory comment about Asians at which point Rose stood up and swore at Hanson in Filipino and stormed out, clambered into a Roller and tore off in a cloud of dust!

Now we've uncovered a wonderful video of Rose on youtube as she castigates her staff while getting ready for one her legendary lunch parties. Enjoy-