$32.74 – $43.29

DEADHOUSE Tales of Sydney Morgue 2018

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The Rocks Discovery Museum

4-8 Kendall Lane

The Rocks, NSW 2000

Australia

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DEADHOUSE Tales of Sydney Morgue

YOUR GUIDE REVEALS THE SHOCKING TRUTH!

Immerse yourself in some classic Australian true crime as you’re guided through an 1850s sandstone building not far from the old Deadhouse’ in Sydney Morgue and Coroner's Court in The Rocks. The first DEADHOUSE season takes you back in time to watch two of these notorious cases play out.

The Leonard Lawson Case will play in Weeks 1 and 3 plus the Louisa Collins Case in Weeks 2 and 4.

You will move around the courtyard and all three floors of this historic building and experience scenes depicting the back stories of these famous crimes.

Background: Before 1972 the Sydney Coroner’s Court and Morgue was in lower George Street. The morgue was known as the Deadhouse. The Bone Room downstairs held boxes full of human bones from unsolved cases. Some of this building still remains.

The Leonard Lawson Case (1954-72) ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Murderer’

Leonard Keith Lawson, convicted rapist and murderer, died in 2003 in his cell at the Grafton Correctional Centre, possibly from a heart attack. He was 76.

Born in Manly in 1927, Lawson, husband and father of three, was a successful comic-book artist and photographer before he descended into a frenzy of violent crime. In 1954, he lured five June Dally Watkins' models into bushland in northern Sydney, raped two at gunpoint, sexually assaulted another two. He didn't touch the fifth girl who told him she was married and pregnant. Lawson was caught, found guilty and sentenced to hang. But the sentence was commuted to fourteen years, then later reduced to seven for ‘good behaviour’.

The newly released Lawson used his artistic persona to lure new victims. In November 1962, while painting a portrait of 16-year-old Jane Bower, Lawson knocked her unconscious, sexually assaulted her and fatally stabbed her with a hunting knife. The next day, he carried his rifle into the Sydney Church of England Girls’ Grammar School chapel in Moss Vale and held a group of teachers and students hostage. A struggle ensued and one girl was fatally shot during the siege. The police arrested Lawson and he was gaoled for life.

But prison didn't tame Lawson. Ten years into his sentence a show was put on for the inmates. Lawson jumped on stage and threatened to kill one of the dancers with a shiv. She was released unharmed but was so traumatised she committed suicide years later.

Lawson became one of the oldest prisoners in Australia, spending 47 of his last 48 years in prison. Several of his paintings still hang in Grafton Gaol.

You'll experience the light and dark sides of Lennie Lawson and depictions of this horrendous crimes.

14 shows - 6pm and 7.30pm Thurs 26 April to Sat 28 April (week 1) and Wed 9 to Sat 12 May (week 3) 2018. The Rocks Discovery Museum, Kendall Lane, The Rocks.

The Trials of Louisa Collins (1886-89) ‘A Poison Crown'.

Louisa Collins was born near Scone in NSW. In 1865 she married the older, dependable Charles Andrews who moved his growing family to the swampy Sydney suburb of Botany in the early 1880s. He became a wool washer, a job that used chemicals such as arsenic. The family also took in lodgers like the handsome young Michael Collins.

In 1886 when Andrews discovered that Collins and Louisa were lovers he evicted all the boarders. A month later he started getting terrible stomach pains. Louisa briskly organised his will and when Andrews died two days later she went straight into town to claim the money. Two months later she married Michael Collins. But they didn't prosper. In fact, Collins gambled away most of Louisa’s inheritance. In June 1888 he suffered the same mysterious, gut-wrenching symptoms as Andrews.

Suspicion fell on Louisa even before Collins died. When arsenic was found in his body Louisa was arrested and Charles Andrews was exhumed. The tiny particle of arsenic the doctors found was enough. The police charged Louisa with two murders.

The Collins case captured the public imagination. People packed the courthouse to watch the ‘Botany Borgia’ murder trials. Not one trial, but four. Louisa’s eventual death sentence sparked public satisfaction and public outrage.

‘A Poison Crown’ transports you to 19th-century Sydney and brings to life the characters who fought for and against Louisa’s appointment with the gallows.

16 shows - 6pm and 7.30pm Wed 2 May to Sat 5 May (week 2) and Wed 16 to Sat 19 May (week 4) 2018. The Rocks Discovery Museum, Kendall Lane, The Rocks.

CAUTION: Depictions of sexual violence and death together with semi-nudity and strange aromas. A nurse will be present to assist any distressed patrons. Recommended for patrons 16+

This venue consists of a back courtyard and three floors, with narrow staircases connecting each. Access may be difficult for some. Email us to check if you're uncertain of your ability to move through this venue.

Production Team

  • Executive Producer - Stephen Carnell
  • Producers – Amanda Asquith, Michael Dengler,
  • Writers – Gina Schien, Robert Armstrong,
  • Director – Michael Block,
  • Assistant Directors – Brinley Meyer, Liviu Monsted, Stephen Carnell
  • Movement Director - Alicia Gonzalez,
  • Production Designer – Bronte Schuftan
  • Composer - Carmen Lysiak
  • Sound Designer - Tegan Nicholls
  • Costume – Susan Carveth
  • Make Up – Dale Smoothy
  • Props plus – Lew McDonnell
  • Historian & Researcher - Penny Edwell.
  • Stage Manager/s – Farlie Goodwin et al
  • Cast: Kyla Ward, Chris Miller, Jacqui Robson, Craig Walker, Colette Hammett, Wendi Lanham, Rebecca Waters, Liviu Monsted, Susan Jordan, David Attrill, Steve Donelan.

Local dinner deals will be announced closer to the event.

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Date and Time

Location

The Rocks Discovery Museum

4-8 Kendall Lane

The Rocks, NSW 2000

Australia

View Map

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

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