IT started as a harmless question. Is George Lazenby a Goulburnian?
For years, Goulburnians had declared he was one of ours but there had been surprisingly little information recorded about his time in our fair city. So we got digging.
We included the question as a brief article in the Town Talk section of the Post (Friday, October 22, 2010) and expected maybe a couple of replies. By lunch that day a dozen people had called us, emailed us or dropped in to tell us they knew George Lazenby from his days in Goulburn.
That number doubled before the day was out and the phonecalls kept coming in after that.
Readers of the Post provided substantial amounts of anecdotal information that confirmed Australia‘s only James Bond is one of ours.
For the most part, the information supplied was consistent, although there were a few discrepancies.
There was some debate about where he lived. Several readers said he lived in Faithfull Street (and some of those narrowed it down to 107 Faithfull Street).
One reader said he lived in Nicholson Street, another Newton Street and another said Verner Street.
For the record, George Robert Lazenby was born in Goulburn on September 5, 1939 at the Ovada Private Hospital to George Edward Lazenby and Sheila Joan Lazenby (nee Bodel) who were married earlier that year.
At the time of his birth, his parents lived in Newton Street. His grandparents lived at 107 Faithfull Street, where George would later live himself.
Most who contacted us advised that he went to Goulburn Public School (Bourke Street) in his primary years, and Goulburn High until either 1953 or 1954. Ray Ottaway and John Bayliss were class mates of his in High School and said he rode bikes, liked guns and knives (perhaps signs of things to come?) and was a bit of a larrikin.
Several readers said that Lazenby’s mother was Joan Bodel, who had worked at Fosseys; that his father worked on the railway; that he had a sister called Barbara who was an accomplished dancer, and that he had an aunt or cousin called Jean Mullins.
From the pages of the Goulburn Post dated Tuesday, April 20, 1954 an obituary for George’s grandfather states – Mr Samuel Robert Bodel of 107 Faithfull Street, died at the Goulburn Base Hospital on April 19, after a short illness. He was survived by (among others) his daughter Mrs Joan Lazenby, of Queanbeyan (indicating the family had moved to Queanbeyan by 1954).
That timeframe is supported by a story in the Sydney Morning Herald on September 20, 1951 reporting that his sister, Barbara Lazenby, came second in the Sydney Eisteddfod for dancing while based in Goulburn and that she was still based there in 1952 and 1953 but was in Queanbeyan thereafter.
Confirming his birthplace, an interview with George Lazenby that appeared in the Daily Mail in the UK in 2008 described Lazenby this way:
“The son of a railway worker from the former Australian convict settlement, Goulburn, he came to London in 1963 – by boat because he couldn’t afford the airfare.”
So Lazenby... George Lazenby... was born in Goulburn. He lived here until he was 14 or 15 and then moved with his family to Queanbeyan where he lived until he was 24. During hius tiume in Queanbeyan he worked as a car salesman, and later a national service man (serving alongside Goulburn man Frederick Grady), before moving to England in 1963.
By George, he’s ours!
• WE also received a lot of responses regarding Anthony Warlow and it appears his father ran a photographic studio in Auburn Street between the Commonwealth Bank and the old Bon Ton Cafe.
Details about his time in Goulburn seem more sketchy, but we’ll welcome any more detail people can provide.
If you have any information on either George Lazenby, Anthony Warlow or any other celebrity Goulburn has forgotten, please send it to us or post it below and we will keep you updated with our progress.