The Mercury, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – July 20, 1968
One of Hobart’s most colourful characters was dead yesterday after a two-car, head-on collision near Granton.
He was 78-year-old Francois Fouche, of Sandy Bay Rd. — a former world champion professional wrestler and one-time bodyguard of Shirley Temple when she was a child star.
Mr. Fouche was driving towards Hobart when his car and the Collinsvale mail van driven by Mrs. Nita Burr were in a head-on collision.
Mrs. Burr, of Main Rd., Berriedale, and her passenger, Miss Mary Rubenach, of Avoca, last night were in serious condition in the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Mrs. Burr has a fractured skull and knee, and Miss Rubenach severe facial injuries.
From his arrival in Hobart in the 1930s, Mr. Fouche — a French-Canadian — was a controversial figure.
He was one of Hobart’s biggest men, and his physique at the time of his death belied his years.
In 1942, he was acquitted of the manslaughter of a man at an Elizabeth St. cafe, the Stagedoor Canteen. Mr. Fouche ran this night-time eat-and-dance cafe opposite the Hobart G.P.O. It was patronised by servicemen on leave in Hobart.
The man, Leslie Appleton, died on his way to Hobart police headquarters.
In 1948 Mr. Fouche was advanced $43,800 of an $83,000 loan — on the mortgage of his hotel at Old Beach — by the Public Service Superannuation Fund Board.
When the board resigned in 1949, the new board refused to make further advances.
Mr. Fouche proceeded against the new board for the balance of the loan.
After a 19-day Supreme Court hearing in September, 1950, the then-Chief Justice (Sir John Morris) gave judgment against him.
On Christmas Day, 1951, a fire caused $160,000 damage to the Old Beach Hotel.
An open finding was recorded on the fire at an inquiry held four months later.
In 1952, Mr. Fouche appealed to the Full High Court against Sir John Morris’ ruling.
The Full High Court upheld the ruling and Mr. Fouche was ordered to repay the $43,800 he had borrowed.
The Court also said the previous members of the board had been guilty of gross negligence in advancing the money.
Mr. Fouche’s interest in physical fitness enabled him to give help to many people who sought his advice on bone and muscle ailments.
Mr. Fouche always retained his dream of building a luxury country club style hotel at Old Beach.
Two years ago, he brought Australia’s top golf architect, Sam Berriman, to design a “world championship course” on 350 acres at Old Beach.