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Marie Sibly

In their own words

Marie Sibly
Audio: 2 minutes

Henry Gardner has been living with me for about three years; I have supported him; he has never earned but three twelve shillings since I knew him. On a Tuesday morning, when I was really unwell from his ill-usage of the previous night, he came to me and insulted me. He asked me if I was going to perform that night. I said I had performed my last to support a man like him, who had used me most cruelly. He then struck me saying, ‘Are you going to Dunolly?’ I said I did not intend going an inch further with him. He took every pound he could lay his hands on, to pay the bills, he said, but he only half paid them. He took 23 pounds, he struck me with his fist when I was in bed; he struck me a dozen blows, I screamed. I have marks on my body from the blows, the result of the beating. He gave me a black eye and rose lumps on my head so that I could not sleep.

On the Tuesday morning he went out and returned about 10 o’clock. I was washing myself and I told him I would go no further with him. He said the policeman and the man at the Phoenix told him that I went into brothels. I said it was false. I said he would not support himself and wanted me to do it. He struck me and he knocked me down and jumped upon me in the bedroom. I rushed to the door to get out, fearing that he would kill me. He pushed me outside, just as I was, with my skirt and my stays, into the yard of the hotel. He spat on my face. I said, ‘You dare to spit in my face’, and I took up my whip to strike him. He took it from me and beat me most unmercifully with it; he broke the whip beating me.

Acknowledgements

Sibly, Marie (1870) Court case transcript, 21 May 1870, The Avoca Mail, Avoca, Victoria

Attribution

Voiced by Anais Maro

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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