The Baby Farmers
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The Baby Farmers : A chilling tale of missing babies, shameful secrets and murder in 19th century Australia

3.34 (126 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'The book's power stems from its devastating details; Cossins establishes a tone so vivid it's reminiscent of Dickens.' Publishers WeeklyIn October 1892, a one-month-old baby boy was found buried in the backyard of Sarah and John Makin, two wretchedly poor baby farmers in inner Sydney. In the weeks that followed, 12 more babies were found buried in the backyards of other houses in which the Makins had lived. This resulted in the most infamous trial in Australian legal history, and exposed a shocking underworld of desperate mothers, drugged and starving babies, and a black market in the sale and murder of children.Annie Cossins pieces together a dramatic and tragic tale with larger than life characters: theatrical Sarah Makin; her smooth-talking husband, John; her disloyal daughter, Clarice; diligent Constable James Joyce, with curious domestic arrangements of his own; and a network of baby farmers stretching across the city. It's a glimpse into a society that preferred to turn a blind eye to the fate of its most vulnerable members, only a century ago.'A very moving book.[It] brings to life the awful poverty and the immoral 'morality' of the times. conditions which broke that most sacred and powerful bond - between mother and baby - and broke the hearts of impoverished young women.' - Gabrielle Lord'A very readable and accessible history of a terrible time. The writer has a passionate grasp of her subject and her time.' - Kerry Greenwood'Cossins is both relentless in her search, and engrossing in her writing' - Lucy Sussexshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 28mm | 399.99g
  • Allen & Unwin
  • St Leonards, Australia
  • English
  • Main
  • 12pp colour photos
  • 1743314019
  • 9781743314012
  • 216,980

Review quote

'A very moving book... (It) brings to life the awful poverty and the immoral 'morality' of the times, that created conditions which broke that most sacred and powerful bond - that between mother and baby - and broke the hearts of impoverished young women.' - Gabrielle Lord. 'A very readable and accessible history of a terrible time. The writer has a passionate grasp of her subject and her time.' - Kerry Greenwood.show more

About Annie Cossins

Annie Cossins is an author, actor and criminologist. She is an Associate Professor in the Law School at the University of NSW and a leading legal expert on evidence law and sexual assault law reform. In 2009 she played the role of Sarah Makin in an episode of a TV series, Deadly Women.show more

Table of contents

Author's noteProloguePART I: WHO WERE THE MAKINS?1 The hanging2 Sarah Makin: convict daughter3 John Makin: son of the middle class with a past4 The deadly secret in Sarah Makin's bodyPART II: DIGGING UP THE BABY FARMERS' SECRETS5 The baby trade6 The Macdonaldtown discoveries7 To catch a baby farmer8 The first inquest: two babies called A and B9 Constable James Joyce: Joycean fictions and the art of deceit10 More digging and the strange behaviour of the Makins11 The next five inquests: the Makins' lives stripped bare12 The longest, saddest inquest: clothing and other complications13 The mysterious Mr and Mrs Wilson give evidence14 The obsessions of James Joyce: digging, redigging and more digging15 Mothers, mothers everywhere: the George Street inquests begin16 The day Miss Amber Murray visited the MakinsPART III: TRIALS, APPEALS AND VARIOUS PETITIONS17 The trial of the century: a judge out of his depth18 The first appeal: the Makins' struggle against the hand of fate19 The law passes sentence20 Last stop, London21 Makin's last chance: an 'innocent' man under the thumb of a 'fiendish' womanPART IV: SARAH MAKIN, REFORMED WOMAN22 From convict daughter to convict23 Was Sarah Makin really an evil, deadly woman?24 The lives that were leftNotesAcknowledgementsIndexshow more

Rating details

126 ratings
3.34 out of 5 stars
5 12% (15)
4 29% (37)
3 44% (55)
2 11% (14)
1 4% (5)
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