Shoes, pair, mens, leather, made by Marshall, worn by Dr C A Monticone, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1930-1959
This pair of shoes has significance as an example of men's footwear worn with business suits in Australia between the 1930s and the 1950s. The shoes are thought to have been worn with the business suit acquired by the Museum at the same time.
The shoes have additional significance due to their provenance. They were owned and worn by Dr Charles Albert Monticone, born 2 November 1882, at Asti in Italy. He won a scholarship to study abroad, first in Spain then in Melbourne. He chose to remain in Australia and completed a doctorate on the subject of the impact of women entering the workforce. Dr Monticone became the Chief Government Interpreter for New South Wales, and his office was located in the Liverpool Street courthouse. He was also a handwriting and fingerprint expert. Dr Monticone lived in Mosman until 1957, when he moved to Penrith.
In 1954 Dr Monticone provided testimony for Dr H V Evatt, Leader of the Opposition, at the Petrov Royal Commission. Evatt claimed that page 35 of the notorious 'Document J', one of the documents Petrov brought across when he defected, was a forgery that had been inserted in a conspiracy to damage the ALP. He examined the document for inconsistencies in the handwriting and staple marks. Called by Evatt to provide expert handwriting testimony, Dr Monticone testified against the evidence of a police handwriting expert who claimed that the handwriting on all of Document J was Rupert Lockwood's. The Commission disagreed, concluding that Document J was not a forgery and entirely Lockwood's work.
In his role as a senior skilled interpreter Dr Monticone was sometimes called upon to read in Italian the infamous dictation test, because no customs officer in Sydney could speak Italian. The dictation test was used from 1901 to 1959 to discriminate against immigrants deemed unsuitable because of their race. The applicant, upon arrival, would be given the test in a European language unrelated to his or her background. Anybody who failed the test would be termed a 'prohibited immigrant' and prevented from disembarking. The dictation test was a façade. Its real purpose was to enforce the White Australia policy by applying a racial barrier, without actually mentioning race.
Purchased by Dr C A Monticone and worn by him for many years. The shoes were among a group of clothing brought to the attention of Lorraine Foster at the Vintage Clothing Shop by the donor, the daughter of Dr Monticone. Ms Foster alerted the Museum to its significance.