On This Day ……. 1st January 2010

On the seventh-fifth anniversary of the murder of Ethel Belshaw, Leongatha newspaper ‘’’The Great Southern Star’’’ published an interview with Maureen Lewis (née Keighery) who was the Soderman’s neighbour in 1935. Maureen was with the Sodeman family on the same day Arnold brutally murdered 12-year-old Ethel Belshaw in Inverloch. She counts herself lucky Sodeman’s wife, Bernice, did not allow him to buy her an ice cream on New Year’s Day 1935. Ethel was last seen buying an ice cream from a Beach Road milk bar in the town. Maureen had travelled with the Sodemans from Leongatha, for a fun day in the sun. She was friends with the Sodemans’ child, Joan, a girl of similar age. “On the day Ethel was murdered he wanted to take me for an ice cream. It could have been me that day,” she said. “I went down there with them to Inverloch on that day with the Sodemans. They lived next door. He wanted to take me for an ice cream and Mrs Sodeman wouldn’t let him take me unless he also took Joan, his daughter.” But Maureen, like many others in Leongatha, always suspected there was something not quite right about the man. “We were always frightened of him. In those days you didn’t call anyone ‘Old Sodeman,’ because your dad would pull you up and insist you call him Mr Sodeman. But to us kids he was always Old Sodeman,” she said. “He wore sandshoes and he was sort of creepy.”