$32.57 – $43.07

DEADHOUSE Tales of Sydney Morgue

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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 SHOCKING TRUTH

Immerse yourself in these infamous True Crime stories as you are led through this quirky mid-nineteenth century three story sandstone building in The Rocks to view vivid scenes depicting what actually happened.

Two shows a night, each runs around 70 minutes.

Background: The Sydney Coroner’s Court and the Sydney Morgue was located at 102 George Street in The Rocks, just a few hundred metres from The Rocks Discovery Museum in Kendall Lane, from the 1850s until 1972, when it moved to Glebe. The morgue was originally known as the Dead House and downstairs was the Bone Room (containing boxes of human bones from unsolved cases).

We'll tell you some tales of some of the shocking cases that passed through this dark place.

The Leonard Lawson Case (1954-72) Famous comic book artist, infamous rapist and murderer.

At 6pm and 7.30pm Thurs 26 to Sat 28 April (week 1) and Wed 9 to Sat 12 May (week 3) 2018 =14 shows

Leonard Keith Lawson, convicted rapist and murderer, died on 29 November 2003 in his cell at the Grafton Correctional Centre in New South Wales. Authorities state he probably suffered a heart attack. Lennie was 76.

Born in Manly in 1927, Lawson, husband and father of three, worked as a successful commercial and comic book artist and photographer before he lost control and descended into a frenzy of violent crime. In 1954, he lured five young June Dally Watkins' models into the bush in Terrey Hills in northern Sydney, raped two at gunpoint, sexually assaulted another two, but didn't touch the fifth young woman because she lied that she was married and pregnant. He was immediately caught and an inquest was held in Sydney Coroner's Court in Sydney Morgue. Lawson was found guilty and sentenced to hang. But due to change of policy by NSW Government on capital punishment, Lawson's sentence was commuted to fourteen years. This was later reduced to seven years due to his good behaviour''. When released, Lawson used his artistic background to quickly lure new victims.

On 7 November 1962, while painting a portrait of 16-year-old Jane Bower, Lawson knocked her unconscious with a sock full of sand, bound her, sexually assaulted her and then stabbed her to death with a hunting knife. The next day, he carried his Remington automatic rifle into the Sydney Church of England Girls’ Grammar School (SCEGGS) chapel in Moss Vale and took a group of teachers and students hostage. A struggle ensued and shots were fired. Fifteen-year-old Wendy Sue Luscombe was shot through the heart and died during the siege. The police closed in and arrested Lawson, who was found guilty of the murder of Jane Bowers and received a life sentence.

Imprisonment didn’t diminish Lawson’s violent tendencies. Ten years into his second incarceration, a group of dancers were lured to give a performance for the inmates at Parramatta Gaol. During the show Lawson jumped on stage and threatened to kill one of the dancers, Sharon Hamilton, with a shiv. Although Hamilton was released unharmed, she was so traumatised she committed suicide six years after Lennie's attack.

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 where he died in 2003.

The Louisa Collins Case (1886-89) Tried 4 times for poisoning 2 husbands, last woman hanged in NSW.

At 6pm and 7.30pm Wed 2 to Sat 5 May (week 2) and Wed 16 to Sat 19 May (week 4) 2018 = 16 shows

Collins was born at Belltrees near Scone NSW. She married Charles Andrews, a butcher. Collins and Andrews had nine children, seven of whom survived infancy. By December 1886, Andrews had moved his family to the inner city suburb of Botany. Andrews had work as a wool washer that used chemicals, including arsenic, to wash the wool before export. To make ends meet, the family took in lodgers. One of Andrew's co-workers was Michael Collins, who took up residence in the Andrews' family home.

Charles Andrews discovered the liaison between his wife and Michael Collins in December 1886. Charles Andrews confronted Michael Collins and threw him out of the boarding house.

On 31 January 1887 Charles Andrews signed a will that was drawn up by a clerk at the insurance office. Soon after, he started to feel violently ill, suffering from stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. Andrews died on 2 February 1887. The widowed Mrs Andrews quickly applied for the life insurance of her dead husband.

Acquaintances were not surprised that the widowed Andrews took up with Michael Collins soon after the death of her first husband. Louisa Collins stated they were married on 9 April 1887, within two months of Charles Andrews' funeral. Collins was four months pregnant on her wedding day. Her child, John Collins, born in 1887, died and was buried in a pauper's grave.

Michael Collins fell ill after he and Louisa had been married for one year. Immediately before his death on 8 July 1888, he displayed the same symptoms as Charles Andrews had in 1887.

A coroner’s inquest was held at the Sydney Morgue (south) by Mr. H. Shiell, the City Coroner. Michael Collins' life was not insured.

Neighbours were suspicious that both husbands of Louisa Collins had died with the same symptoms. Andrews' body was exhumed and a chemical analysis found the presence of arsenic. The autopsy of Michael Collins at Sydney Morgue (south) declared the cause of death to be arsenical poisoning. Louisa Collins was arrested for the murder of both men as she was the only person who nursed the men during their illnesses.

One of Louisa Collins' sons from her first marriage, Arthur Andrews, gave evidence that his father was a healthy man who could work a 15-hour day if necessary. Some of the most important testimony was given by Collins' only daughter, May Andrews. May, just 10 years old at the time of the first trial, gave evidence that the family kept Rough On Rats – a deadly arsenic-based poison. Sydney was suffering a rat plague in the 1880s, which led to boom sales for the product, which was the basis of the case against Collins.

Collins endured four trials, the first three failed to find a verdict. She did not call any witnesses to her defence.

On 9 January 1889, Louisa Collins was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol. She was the last woman to hang in NSW.

DEADHOUSE: Tales from Sydney Morgue, plays from mid-April to mid-May 2018 in and around this eerie 150 year old sandstone warehouse at 4 Kendall Lane in The Rocks.

CAUTION: There are depictions of sexual violence and death together with semi-nudity and strange aromas. A nurse will be present to assist any distressed patrons.

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,
  • Costume – TBA
  • Make Up – Dale Smoothy
  • Props plus – Lew McDonnell
  • Historian & Researcher - Penny Edwell.
  • Composer -Sound Designer – Carmen Lysiak
  • Sound Operator - TBA
  • Stage Manager/s – Farlie Goodwin et al
  • Cast: Kyla Ward, Chris Miller, Jacqui Robson, Craig Walker, Jess Potts, Emily McGowan, Colette Hammett, Wendi Lanham, Rebecca Lang, Susan Kennedy, Garreth Cruikshank, David Attrill.


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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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