From Ballarat and District Industrial Heritage Project
- ITALIAN INVENTOR MISSING.
- LAKE WENDOURE DRAGGED. BALLARAT, Tuesday.
- A well-known Italian named Antonio Soro, aged 25, living with his mother and other relatives in Humffray-street, Ballarat East, is reported to be missing, and fears regarding bis safety are entertained by his compatriots. Recently the young man, who is a native of Sardinia, and a resident of this State for three years, invented a ma chine which, as reported in "The Age," was to provide a new motive power on the compressed air principle. He has been much exercised in his mind regarding the success of the invention, which he patented in several European countries. Soro, who is a sober, religious young man, was last seen by his friends yesterday at 5.30 p.m. At that time he had a con versation with Mr. Chas. Eastwood, hair dresser, of Grenville-street, and subse quently be purchased a hat and coat at a shop in Bridge-street, At 6 p.m., with the recently purchased articles under his arm, he engaged Mr. Thompson, cab proprietor, to drive him to the Botanical Gardens side of Lake Wendouree. Here he alighted near the pavilion, telling the driver to return for him in an hour. The cab driver, how ever, did not afterwards see Soro. At 7.30 a.m. to-day an employee at the Botanical Gardens found a hat and coat together with a pair of gloves on a seat near the edge of the lake. The hat and coat were not the new articles purchased by Soro, but were those worn by him some months prior to his disappearance. As it was thought that Soro had probably got into the lake, the city police dragged the water at all points, but without find ing any trace of him. It is known that Soro has been engaged for some time day and night in connection with his invention, and it is thought that he has been worried by the inquiries of hundreds, of persons who were desirous of seeing the- machine in full action. The police, however, have been informed that a man answering his description left Ballaat by the Adelaide express, on Monday night. - A steamer will leave Adelaide to-morrow for Italy.
- BALLARAT TO FREMANTLE. ITALIAN'S EXCITING STORY. FREMANTLE, Wednesday.
- At 5 o'clock this morning, James M'Lachlan, a resident of North Fremantle, was awakened from his slumbers by a peculiar scratching noise at his front door, and there, to his astonishment, he found on the doorstep the cowering figure of a human being wet through, and covered with sand. M'Lachlan took him, and placed him beside the fire, and made him a cup of tea. This served to bring him to consciousness, whereupon the visitor unfolded a most remarkable story, which, on the face of it, must be regarded as highly improbable. He stated that his name was Antonio Soro, and that he was a native of Italy, being an inventor by profession. Three years ago he had come out to Australia, making his home in Ballarat, where he pursued his vocation. He claimed that he had invented an air compressor, and, indeed, papers that were found on him indicated that this device had been patented in different countries. This compressor was supposed to work a turbine. On June 28 he left Ballarat with a Frenchman, Mario Marivillo, a friend of his, who owned an aeroplane, for the purpose of testing the new device in connection with the machine. Having provisioned and stocked the machine, they made a flight at Bangaree (sic). There something went wrong with it, and they descended to earth, where they rectified the errox. Having done this, they flew. On the morning of the second day they arrived at St. Kilda. They then set out to try and make Ballarat again. They flew for two days and three nights, aimlessly wandering through the atmosphere, seeking for refuge. On Saturday last the two adventurers reached a large island somewhere near West Australia. It was just about dusk yesterday when they left it again, and they flew for three hours. At the end of that time it began to grow misty and foggy, and the rain Came down in torrents. In these dire straits they found, to theixrdis may, that the suction of the compressor had ceased, and, having added to their trouble by running out of petrol, the Frenchman began to rave like a madman. Immediately afterwards the machine began to drop, and Soro pitched his hat and boots off, and jumped for the water of the Indian Ocean. After swimming for about an hour and a half he at last came to a buoy, on which was placed a red ligbt. Having rested thexe for a while, he made another attempt to get to land, and eventually succeeded in landing on the north side of Fre mantle. Thence onward his recollections are only negligible. He fancies that, in his exhausted state, he must have crawled to the door of M'Lach lan's house. Th police were immediately inform ed of the statements made by the man, and Corporal Doherty and Mounteed-constable Challioner were soon, on the scene. It seems on the face of it that the man's story is high ly improbable, and the police do not place much credence in it. Strangely enough, he is quite rational in his demeanor and conversation, and consistently recalls every incidents of the above story. Indeed, the police have found the footprints of Soro leading right from the fringe of the North Freantle beach across the sandhills on to the residence of M'Lachlan. It seems, too, that he has done a great deal of cxawling over the sandhills, as if he had been too exhausted to rise to his feet. About a mile out from the South Mole there is a buoy, on which is placed a red light to guide shipping at night. All the morning the mounted con stable searched the river and beach for signs of thr wrecked aeroplane, but without success. Soro is to be examined by Drs. Wil liams and Dermer, and the result may throw some light on the supposed incident of the hazardous aeroplane flight from Ballarat to Fremantle.
--Clare K.Gervasoni 18:22, 24 August 2019 (AEST)