Kate Leigh was born on 10 March 1881 in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia, the eighth child of Roman Catholic parents Timothy Beahan, a boot-maker, and his wife Charlotte (née Smith). After a shaky start with childhood neglect, being in a girls' home at 12, and giving birth to her daughter Eileen May Beahan in 1900, she married James Ernest 'Jack' Lee (or Leigh) on the 2nd May 1902. He was an illegal bookmaker and petty criminal. They separated in 1905 when Lee was imprisoned for assault and robbery. At his trial, Kate lied under oath to protect her husband resulting in her being convicted of perjury and being an accomplice to assault. She was later acquitted at appeal. The marriage broke up soon after although they were not divorced until 1921.
Kate married for the second time on 26 September 1922, to a Western Australian born musician called Edward Joseph 'Teddy' Barry. He was a grog dealer and small time criminal. The marriage only lasted for a few years, and she reverted to her previous surname of 'Leigh'. Teddy Barry died in Kate's home at 2 Lansdowne Street, Surry Hills on the 26 June 1948. He was buried at Botany Cemetery three days later.
During the late 1920s Kate lived with Wally Tomlinson or Thomlinson (c.1899-1968) who she employed as one of her bodyguards. Walter 'Wally' Tomlinson had a tough reputation as a standover criminal in the late 1920s. He was initially charged with Shooting At, With Intent To Murder, at age 16 in 1916.
Later, she had a decade long de facto relationship with her then business partner, Henry 'Jack' Baker between 1935-1945.
Her third and final marriage was to her old friend and convicted criminal, Ernest Alexander "Shiner" Ryan on 18 January 1950, flying to Fremantle, Western Australia for the wedding. They were married at St. John's Church, Freemantle and separated six months later. Ernest Ryan died in Western Australia in 1954.
Although she made her fortune mainly from the illegal sale of alcohol, it is curious to note that Kate Leigh never drank or smoked.
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Famous quotes containing the words leigh and/or kate:
“Every single night Im nervous.”
—Vivien Leigh (19131967)
“Truly, My Satan, thou art but a Dunce,
And dost not know the Garment from the Man.
Every Harlot was a Virgin once,
Nor canst thou ever change Kate into Nan.”
—William Blake (17571827)