Like many young gay men who are too young to know they are gay, he had a hard time in those backward days. Like myself he was forced to play sport, especially football and also like myself, he would stay as far away from the action as possible and if the ball happened to come his way, he would go the other way.
In his late teens he moved to Launceston where he worked at a supermarket and also at Waverley Woolen Mills. In a moment of madness, he married but we were told the marriage was never consummated. He never divorced his wife and of course guess who turns up now with her hand out? He fled after a year to Melbourne where he found an accepting community and began work in fabric factories in Collingwood, learning various clothing trades by day, and attending RMIT classes by night to obtain professional qualifications.
He worked on costumes for a very long list of locally made films, ballet, opera musicals, plays and other stage productions. He performed in a few productions. He later had an haute couture shop in Albert Park where he designed and made dresses for the rich and famous. His final employment was imparting his knowledge and experience to uninterested students at Prahran TAFE.
Our Hairdresser Friend spoke about The Boarder/Jasmine on our behalf and she was terrific. Our Dyke Friend also spoke and she was good too. His family, from who he was estranged for a number of years, all made themselves known to us. While they knew The Boarder did drag, they did not know barely half of what he did. One of his brothers did not attend the funeral, I assume from disapproval. Our photos and stories have been a huge revelation to the family, who assumed he was just the mild mannered meek brother and uncle who may have occasionally slipped on a frock.
While the The Boarder was a quiet, serious and well mannered chap, his alter ego Jasmine was not. She was funny, slutty and outrageous. The Boarder drank beer. Jasmine drank pink champagne, through a straw of course.
About three decades ago, The Boarder met the love of his life, Dame M, and they formed a wonderful platonic relationship, though she was some thirty years older than he. They partied together, worked together on fashion, Dame M being one of two people in Australia who could operate a Cornelli French embroidering machine. Como House once put on an exhibition featuring Dame M's hands. They were atypical soul mates.
The Boarder looked after Dame M as you would a Mother who you were close to. I mourned the loss of our friend Dame M more than I did my father. The Boarder was never really the same after Dame M died. Jasmine performed for all of our significant birthdays, including at one of the many parties Dame M hosted, one time for R's niece's 21st birthday when she was visiting from England. After Dame M died, Jasmine performed for our Dyke Friend's 50th, her ex g/f 40th, a social occasion and lastly for Brighton Antique Dealer's 80th birthday, sadly who could no attend the funeral as she was on a cruise to New Zealand with her daughter.
Dame M left The Boarder about 2/3 of her estate. After her family contested the will, he received less than a third, still a decent amount. He moved to a huge older rented flat in Ripponlea and crammed it full of Dame M's furniture, innumerable sewing machines including Dame M's machines and fabrics. A lot of fabrics, many bought from Middle Eastern shops in Sydney Road.
For years he drove a very old beaten up Ford Laser. It was continually stolen but always came back, once very nicely cleaned and another time the police found a family living in his car. Just a couple of years ago he finally bought a new car, a Ford Kluger, which of course was immediately named The Cougar.
Like myself, I don't know that The Boarder ever had a good and close long time friend. I could not say he was my friend, but we mutually respected each other and that he knew he could trust us with Dame M without him being there was a compliment of the highest order. Here are a few snaps of Jasmine. All but about two are my photos and most of them taken at Dame M's.
I remember Mother's mumu being nicer than this one.
Dame M and Jasmine at her 80th birthday party.
What you can't see is that underneath that outfit was a large merkin that we all gradually noticed as the evening progressed.
Miami Barbie, I think.
These last two photos are from Brighton Antique Dealer's 80th birthday in August 2015. We have learnt that it took a supreme effort for Jazzie to perform on the night, given how unwell she was, but he had promised.