The Edward Street Baby Farm
Publisher: Fremantle Press
The Edward Street Baby Farm is the fascinating account of a little-known aspect of Western Australian history. In 1907, Perth woman Alice Mitchell was arrested for the murder of a five-month-old baby. During the inquest and subsequent trial, local citizens were shocked to hear that at least thirty-seven infants had died in Mitchell’s care, in what amounted to an extreme case of baby farming – the colloquial term used when someone looked after the children of single mothers for a weekly fee. Not only does Stella Budrikis tell the story of a notorious baby farmer, but she also introduces readers to Perth’s first female health inspector, Harriet Lenihan, and children’s specialist Dr Edward Officer; both regularly visited Alice Mitchell’s home but failed to prevent the tragic deaths. Thoroughly researched and engagingly told, Budrikis’ book brings together the strands of a complex situation to produce a compelling narrative that will keep readers turning the page to find out what really happened – and why.