Cover of The Edward Street Baby Farm by Stella Budrikis

The Edward Street Baby Farm was released on 1 October 2020.

In 1907, Perth woman Alice Mitchell was arrested for the murder of five-month-old Ethel Booth. During the inquest and subsequent trial, the citizens of Western Australia were horrified to learn that at least 37 infants had died in Mitchell’s care in the previous six years. It became clear that she had been running a ‘baby farm’, making a profit out of caring for the children of single mothers and other ‘unfortunate women’.

The Alice Mitchell murder trial gripped the city of Perth and the nation. On everyone’s mind was the question, “How did it come to this?” Why did the doctor who signed most of the death certificates fail to raise any alarm? Why did the health inspectors who regularly visited Alice Mitchell’s home allow her to go on taking in babies?

The Edward Street Baby Farm retraces this infamous case, which ultimately led to legislative changes to protect children’s welfare.

The Edward Street Baby Farm is published by Fremantle Press.

Read a sample chapter.

See the trailer

What the reviewers say

Stella Budrikis has meticulously researched Baby Farm relying on primary sources to tell a compelling story – a rare achievement.

Read the full review from Fremantle Shipping news.

This is a well-researched and intelligent work that will be of particular interest to anyone interested in the social history of Perth in the early 20th century. This book increases our understanding of this important criminal case which led to essential changes in Western Australian child protection laws.

Read the full review from the history council of Wa

Stella’s intense research and her dogged interest with what happened to Perth’s first female health inspector who checked premises, and the doctor who signed all the death certificates, makes for fascinating reading.