The Newcastle Abortion Case
Secrets, no one is better at keeping them from each other than families. One particular secret was let out of the bag while watching an episode of the Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are.
The particular "celebrity" that night was actress Georgie Parker. Georgie was told of her relatives Thomas and Mary Breckenridge, who in 1899 were imprisoned for their part in procuring an abortion for Jane Ann Benson. Jane or Jeannie as she was known in the family, was my mother in law Shirley's Grand Mother. Ms Parker was quite unflattering in her appraisal of Jeannie's motivations and suggested that Jeannie became pregnant to better her social standing and only had herself to blame for the situation.
No one in the family knew that Jeannie for a short time in 1899 was making front page headlines around Australia. Together with Donna, I headed to the NSW State Archives, our goal was review the police and court documents and find out if Jeannie was guilty of trying to improve her lot by entrapping poor Thomas, or was Thomas just a feckless whimp who hid behind his sisters petticoats. This is what we found.