Edward Street, Perth, is where Alice Mitchell was living at the time of her arrest in 1907. It lies just north of the railway line and the Farmer freeway, to the east of Perth’s central city area. As in 1907, the street today has a mixture of residential buildings, workshops, offices and vacant land. But unlike in 1907, it’s now fully paved and sewered. The area is no longer swampy in winter, and you can’t smell the Claisebrook ‘drain’ on summer evenings.
This wasn’t the only address where Alice Mitchell ran her ‘baby farm’. Between 1901 and 1907 she and her family rented houses at six different addresses, all around the inner city. They moved to Edward Street in early 1905.
Alice kept very poor records, so it’s difficult to know how many babies were in her care at this address. But besides Alice and her husband, the house was also occupied by one of her married daughters and her family, a married couple who were lodgers, and a live-in servant.
The Edward Street Baby Farm, published by Fremantle Press, will be on bookshelves and available as an ebook from 1 October 2020.
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