Ghost Signs: C. J. Angus building – 102 Ferguson St in Williamstown


    This was once the headquarters of electrician and radio set salesman, Clifford James Angus. A 1933 announcement in the Williamstown Chronicle screamed, ‘RADIO SETS – C US B4 GOING ELSEWHERE – C. J. ANGUS. MELBOURNE PRICES AT EASY TERMS.’ He was a man ahead of his time, using texting shorthand before texting was even a devilish gleam in some techie’s eye. 

    Born in 1897 in Pyramid Hill, C.J. found his way to Williamstown, taking up the electrician trade. He served as acting sergeant in the 57th Australian Infantry Battalion during World War I. After dragging himself back from the front lines, he married Louisa Maud Titheridge, and together they had two kids. 

    Late on 31 October 1946, disaster struck. C.J. was chauffeuring a woman named Mrs. McAlister to her residence in Finley, NSW. At around 1 am, The Herald reported, he collided with a monstrous six-wheeled timber truck on the Hume Highway. He narrowly averted a head-on collision, but the car slipped under the trailer and was practically cleaved in two. C.J. was ‘crushed in the wreckage,’ dying a grisly death on the spot. His passenger emerged with only minor injuries, though undoubtedly haunted by the nightmarish ordeal. C.J.’s wife, Louisa, outlived him by 52 years, finally bowing out at the age of 103 in 1998. 

    Nearly eight decades have drifted by since that ill-fated night, but C.J. Angus’ name still looms over the seaside suburb of Williamstown, a ghostly reminder of a man whose legacy outlived him by 80 years. 

    A column by Sean Reynolds. If you’d like to read more stories about Melbourne’s past, follow me on Instagram @melbourne_ghostsigns.

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