Saturday, July 17, 2010

Comings and goings..

A reminder this week of a once grander Australian social scene with the passing of 2 stalwarts.

Pat Tudor
In London the former beauty queen Pat Tudor has died after a tragic accident when she fell down a set of steep marbles stairs in her Knighstbridge home. Aged only 68, Pat was regarded as one of the great beauties of her day. 

Tall. elegant and with impeccable manners and poise she was crowned Miss Victoria in the early 1960s and forged a highly successful modeling career in Melbourne and Sydney before moving to London to act as a sort of roving ambassador for Qantas.

She was also appointed as Kerry Packer's personal UK representative and up until her death still liaised with Kerry's widow Ros and son James Packer, organising all travel arrangements whenever they visited the UK.

When the Packers wished to throw a shindig in the Old Dart, Pat was the girl to get the details right especially when high profile guests like Rupert Murdoch or Lord Rothschild and Sir James Goldsmith were expected.

Pat had only recently attended the Ascot races with visiting Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones.

After a lifetime of refined wealth the last scion of the David Jones department store empire, Charles Lloyd Jones has died after a long illness at 77.
Lloyd Jones' funeral was held at All Saints Anglican Church in Woollahra yesterday and a who's who of the retail world turned out to send him off.
Sidney Baillieu Myers from the Myer empire (he married the daughter of Sam Horden from Hordens), John Walton of the Walton Stores chain and former newspaper publisher James Fairfax all attended.  Former premier Neville Wran read the eulogy along with nephew Edward Lloyd Jones. A wake was held at the nearby home of Lady Pagan, widow of the former High Commissioner in London Sir Jock Pagan.

Charles Lloyd Jones, a confirmed bachelor was born into extraordinary privilege and wealth. Brought up in the magnificent Rosemont mansion in Woollahra he attended Tudor House and Cranbrook, being ferried to and from school in a chauffeured Rolls Royce. Shy and easily embarrassed., he would ask to be dropped off around a corner.
With his father an avid art collector, Rosemont was packed with valuable artworks amongst them  a Chagall, Picasso, 2 Van Goghs and a Rembrandt

Weekends were spent at the David Jones corporate summer house at Palm Beach. Lloyd Jones became chairman at the family store  (begun by his Welsh grandfather David Jones in 1838) when his brother David died suddenly and later  he headed the advertising department. It was Charles who introduced the houndstooth pattern that has become so synonymous with the store. Today flags at all of David Jones flew at half mast.

In later years he fell on financial hard times. Charles invested  most of his money in a scheme proposed by 2 friends that fell apart within 3 years. He was broke and suffering cancer and the 2 friends agreed to re-pay him $3000 a month, expecting the payments to last less than a year. But Charles survived the cancer and outlived the 2 friends putting him in a precarious financial state.

A brief scandal ensured in the early 1990s when it was claimed that Lloyd Jones and , improbably the American actor Karl Malden (who had never visited Australia) had allegedly attended a notorious Kings Cross bar frequented by underage male prostitutes.
Friends who had been trying all their lives to get Charles to just once, walk into a pub or bar and never succeeded found the ridiculous claim a huge joke.Those who knew Charles well noted his preference for rather muscular male gentleman but he did score on one occasion with a lady who fell for him and wanted marriage-Zsa Zsa Gabor !
And off briefly to the launch of a new Samsung TV where the guest of honour was actor Simon Baker who was voted by US magazines as the World's Sexiest Man. Simon says he never watches The Mentalist , the series that has brought him stellar fame throughout the world as it's hard enough making the series to also have to watch it. 

With family in tow, he was soon off to north NSW to the once sleepy former whaling village that is pricing out locals, Byron Bay. Earlier this year Baker paid $1.5M for a nice but average sized cottage in the hinterland of the resort.