‘Whistling Willie,’ the LION MAN

Whistling Willie was a Perth eccentric who was renowned for his obsession with the Glovers’ Michaelmas dinner. Whenever he was asked, he could immediately answer how many days there were until the next dinner. Willie was an eleemosynary of the wealthy Glover Incorporation of Perth, ie one who received its charity, and as that meant he was invited to the annual feast it might explain his obsession.

But he was also concerned about getting a wife. Willie saw himself as a ‘lion’ who needed a ‘lioness’ to wed, preferably a Glover’s daughter. Wandering the streets of Perth, he would give out a great ‘lion’s roar’, in the hope of attracting a spouse. He never did. Willie was apparently treated fairly well by the citizens of Perth and was rarely teased. He died of apoplexy in 1883.

This photograph of Willie was taken by Magnus Jackson, who specialised in capturing local scenes and forms part of the collection of Robert Scott Fittis, a local historian, journalist and author.