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Anna Philomena Morgan / The Pyjama Girl Murder Case

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This story, like many unsolved and missing person’s cases, involves various authorities, persons of interest, local towns, newspapers and a long list of names spread over a decade. To help you, I’ve provided several maps and photographs as well as a timeline. However, I suggest viewing the timeline last as it’ll spoil the story for you. 

On September 1, 1934, a bull grazier by the name of Thomas Griffiths, was walking his bull back to his father’s farm located just outside the town of Albury, in New South Wales. 

A small farming community at the time, Albury is located on the border of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia, with the Murray River running near it in its effort to reach the sea in the neighbouring central state of South Australia. 

A former frontier town, the Albury township was once proposed to be the nation’s capital however, after fierce opposition from residents was ultimately rejected in favour of Canberra. Satellite towns such as Howlong and Corowa in the west were small farming communities and nothing but dirt roads connected to the towns. 

With the fence to his right and the Howlong-Corowa Road on his left, out of the corner of his eye he noticed something out of place underneath a culvert, a type of pipe drain that’s built under a road. He hitched his bull to the fence and took several steps towards what he realised were the legs of a human body. 

Frightened, he left the bull, ran to his father’s farm and called the police. Griffiths would become the person who found the now infamous, pyjama girl.

When police arrived to the scene, roughly 4.5 miles west of Albury the body of a partly burned woman was found inside the pipe. Dressed in silk pyjamas, with a sack over her head to her shoulders, the woman’s body was badly burned.

Upon examination, it was discovered that her forehead was battered and the legs and lower part of the torso were charred to a black mass. A towel was found wrapped around her head, partly burned and tattered. There were eight wounds above the left temple and a bullet wound below the right-eye. Becoming more commonplace in the 30’s, doctors performing the autopsy used x-rays to also discover a bullet lodged in the side of the woman’s neck.

She was believed to be aged between 25-30 she was described as having bobbed, peroxided hair, blue-greyish eyes, approximately 5ft1 in stature and was of slight build. 

Results of the autopsy suggest that the woman fought hard against her assailant or assailants. Quote: She is badly bruised and bat tered. The theory has been advanced that the girl was killed while asleep, but this seems doubtful, in view of the nature of her injuries.”

In an attempt to get rid of evidence, kerosene was used as the accelerant and then her body set alight. Noticed by Griffiths, oily patches on top of water pools were discovered at the scene. 

Dressed in silk pyjamas, doubt still remains over her identity and for a decade was known only as “pyjama girl”.

People of the episode

Mrs Linda Agostini

Anna Philomena Morgan

Credit: National Library of Australia (Trove)

Antonio Agostini

Credit: National Library of Australia (Trove)

Mrs Jeanette Routledge

Culvert where a woman’s body was found

Credit: National Library of Australia (Trove)
Credit: Google Maps

References

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  2. 1934 ‘BURNED BODY IN CULVERT’, Shepparton Advertiser (Vic. : 1914 – 1953), 4 September, p. 5. , viewed 12 Jun 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article176807265
  3. 1934 ‘IDENTITY STILL A MYSTERY’, Daily Standard (Brisbane, Qld. : 1912 – 1936), 5 September, p. 2. (FIRST EDITION), viewed 12 Jun 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article186940747
  4. 1934 ‘New Teeth Clue Found In “Pyjama Girl” Murder’, The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), 7 September, p. 5. , viewed 12 Jun 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article243105308
  5. 1934 ‘THE PYJAMA CLAD GIRL’, Northern Standard (Darwin, NT : 1921 – 1955), 7 September, p. 11. , viewed 12 Jun 2022, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article48065836
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https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/52646301?searchTerm=antonio%20agostini DEPORTED

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