Last Woman Hanged

Last Woman Hanged Two husbands four trials and one bloody execution Winner of the Davitt Award for Best Crime Book Non fiction the terrible true story of Louisa Collins In January Louisa Collins a year

  • Title: Last Woman Hanged
  • Author: Caroline Overington
  • ISBN: 9781460750933
  • Page: 140
  • Format: Paperback
  • Two husbands, four trials and one bloody execution Winner of the 2015 Davitt Award for Best Crime Book Non fiction the terrible true story of Louisa Collins In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41 year old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales Both of Louisa s husbands had died suddenlyTwo husbands, four trials and one bloody execution Winner of the 2015 Davitt Award for Best Crime Book Non fiction the terrible true story of Louisa Collins In January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41 year old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales Both of Louisa s husbands had died suddenly and the Crown, convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic, put her on trial an extraordinary four times in order to get a conviction, to the horror of many in the legal community Louisa protested her innocence until the end.Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10 years old when asked to take the stand Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law except when it came to the gallows They could not vote or stand for parliament or sit on juries Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men male judges, all male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier could not with any integrity hang a woman The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House.Caroline Overington is the author of eleven books of fiction and non fiction, including the top selling THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY psychological crime novel She has said My hope is that LAST WOMAN HANGED will be read not only as a true crime story but as a letter of profound thanks to that generation of women who fought so hard for the rights we still enjoy today Praise for LAST WOMAN HANGED The story she tells is a useful challenge to any tendency to simple moral indignation Beverley Kingston, Sydney Morning Herald This is a fascinating book, a terrific read, and an excellent reminder of who tells the stories, and whose stories are forgotten Frances Rand, South Coast Register what s interesting is Caroline Overington s even handed appraisal of Collins s alleged crime s that led her to become the last woman hanged in New South Wales in 1889 Launceston Sunday Examiner

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    One thought on “Last Woman Hanged”

    1. “I hold out no hope of mercy for you on earth!!!” thus stated a male Justice, on what was the FOURTH trial, the first three having been ‘hung', for the want of a better word. Her husband died of what appeared to be arsenic poisoning, as did her second husbandLouisa Collins, was my age when she was hung for the murder of her husband. Circumstantial evidence was the main reason for this I guess one could say, as well as just appalling wrongs all the way through the sordid affair. This was a [...]

    2. Louisa Collins was a working class girl married off to Charles Andrews, a man quite a few years older; nevertheless, Andrews was a good husband and the couple went on to have ten children. Life in the young colony of Sydney was tough and Louisa liked to relax by having a drink and dancing. In order to make ends meet, the family took in boarders, including one of Charles’ workmates, Michael Collins in December 1886. Not long afterwards, the rumour mill was rife regarding Louisa and Collins and [...]

    3. Excellent!! Charged with the murder of her 2nd husband, Louisa Collins appeared at her 1st trial on 6th *August 1888 wearing a blue dress, a grey cape and a hat. For reasons known only to herself, she also carried in her hands a small sprig of the highly perfumed flower Heliotrope, locally known in Sydney these days by its common name Cherry Pie. It transpires that she held a sprig of these flowers throughout each of her trials.I was intrigued by this detail and wondered what the significance mi [...]

    4. In the 1800's in New South Wales Australia a woman was tried for murder - not once - not twice - but four times. It took 48 men - and it was men, because women were not allowed to sit a jury - to convict Louisa Collins and condemn her to death by hanging. She was convicted on circumstantial evidence. Her attorney stood beside her through all 4 trials, with 3 separate judges, but he failed to object to perceived evidence when and where he should have. He allowed two of her 7 living children to te [...]

    5. Wow! What a great read, I still not 100% sure that Louisa Collins was guilty, I find it appalling that there was four trials. I learnt at lot about the times and the goings on. I feel that she was a real character and maybe not totally innocent or slightly mad. Love the writing of Caroline Overington. An absolute must read. Anyone that lives in Sydney would find it interesting because of the descriptions of the places such as Botany etc.

    6. Fascinating! I have been looking at this book at Big W for a number of weeks and finally just decided to buy it, price be damned! It turned into a great read, extremely well researched and although a little biased, I too felt the injustice of this story. I actually have never heard it before, but it's a story that deserves to be told.Firstly, how crazy is it that this woman faced four trials to determine her guilt, and yet it was only the last that brought her to the gallows and to death? Then t [...]

    7. An interesting look at a very unfortunate and shameful incident in Australian history, but I found the book to be a little padded. there was a great deal of contemporary comment from newspapers and letters which was included, but seemed to add little to the story.It's extraordinary that this poor woman was subjected to 4 separate trials and I found myself wondering just how many "they" were prepared to put her through to get the desired verdict.The history of the women's suffrage movement toward [...]

    8. The story of Louisa Collins is amazing! It's true that truth is stranger than fiction and Caroline Overington did not let Louisa down by her in depth research to bring Louisa's story to modern day audiences. Louisa's story has been pieced together from widely sourced documents that together provide an in depth portrayal of the last woman hanged in NSW and the impact of her story on society.I loved the way that the author included the story of a number of influential characters including the hang [...]

    9. I was expecting so much more from this potentially interesting story. It was repetitive and riddled with quotes which needed more editing. I felt the epilogue in particular was padded out with information of people only tangentially involved with Louisa & her story

    10. On 8 January 1889, Louisa Collins, a 41-year-old mother of ten children, became the first woman hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Caroline Overington has researched the story behind Louisa Collin’s four, yes you read that correctly, four trials for murder. One of the three trials was in relation to the deaths of her first husband Charles Andrews in January 1887, the cause according to the doctor who signed his death certificate was Acute Gastritis, three [...]

    11. Regardless of whether or not Louisa was guilty of killing none, one, or both of her husbands (there is evidence that both men were exposed to arsenic through their employment and this is delved into in detail in the book), Louisa wasn’t given a fair trial and was made “an example of” by a group of powerful men. Three juries found her innocent; there wasn’t enough evidence to support a conviction and yet the crown pursued her relentlessly until they eventually got the result they wanted. [...]

    12. Relatively interesting history of the last woman hanged in N.S.W. Not an easy woman to sympathise with from the few accounts of her actions and utterances although the real point of the book is the injustice of the application of capital punishment to a sentence gained only after an unprecedented four trials and based wholly on circumstancial evidence. Woven into the story of the demise of Louisa Collins, is the case's galvanising effect upon the suffrage movement at the time as women began to d [...]

    13. Gruesome subject but very competently written with historical context provided. Good journalistic style.

    14. No real spoilers, the title spoils any mystery as to whether or not Louisa Collins is hanged, so I'm not hiding any of this review because of that.Where to startwell, I'll start off by saying my first rating was only three stars. But, after taking the time to read the epilogue, I changed it to four. Overall, it's an interesting read -- a frustrating read, but interesting all the same. One of my biggest gripes about the book was all the extra detail and fluff that the author included with regards [...]

    15. This book recalled the story of Louisa Collins and the uncertainty surrounding her husband's sudden deaths . The amount of work and research put into this book is amazing and still makes you question if she was guilty or not . Overall a good read and an insightful look into women's liberation and the history of hangings in NSW

    16. I though I was buying a novel, so my mistake. While this was a crime story, it is set against a particular time in history when women had no rights, so it become a textbook of the women's suffragette movement. More interesting at the beginning, but bogs down with too many details. Found myself skipping through a lot.

    17. I really felt this was more like a text book. And so disappointing. I was so looking forward to reading it. I don't feel there was a injustice done. She treated her children so badly!!!!

    18. A fascinating insight to Australian women's rights in the 1800s. Was Louise guilty of poisoning her two husbands? In my opinion is seems highly unlikely, and a great injustice has been done.

    19. What a wonderful piece of investigative journalism. Easy to read this captivating book. Wow. High recommend!

    20. 3.5 stars.Basically, I tend to stay away from white Australian history simply because its not the time period I'm interested in (eg. medieval, renaissance, etc) and also because we do the same two events to death in school, without any acknowledgement of anything else (or the negatives of colonialism) and I'm way over it. This, however, was an exception to that rule, and I'm still not totally sure why I picked it up. When Louisa Collins' second husband dies less than a year after the death of he [...]

    21. Solid true crime book and overview of women’s suffrage movementThis was a solid and well researched book although at times it veered into opinion and editorializing. Well worth reading if you want a regional history of the women’s suffrage movement in Australia and an opportunity to see these extraordinary women at work. The true crime aspect is a classic poisoning case. This study of fight the for the doomed woman’s life and parallel campaign for women’s suffrage is information worth le [...]

    22. A scathing narrative of 19th century life in the Australian colonies, where men made the rules and ran the judicial system. An indictment on a system that attempted to pass itself off as just, where a woman could be hanged after an unprecedented four trials, on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence that was seemingly construed to deliver a guilty verdict. With women unrepresented in any quarter of the establishment, including the government, the bench and without the vote, one Louisa Collins [...]

    23. A thoroughly researched investigation into the last woman hanged in New South Wales, Louisa Collins. Raising issues surrounding potentials for miscarriage of justice; procedural fairness in the justice system; sexism and classism; and the longitudinal effects of Louisa's case on the women's rights movement, I found Last Woman Hanged largely thought-provoking, if at times far-reaching.

    24. A good read about the injustices of the early Australian legal system and how circumstantial evidence led to this woman being hanged for murder. I felt there was a bit too much detail in some parts and I skipped a bit here and there but I was interested to discover this event led to the suffragette movement gaining momentum in Australia

    25. Brilliantly written and researched. Will read again. This history is important for the women of Australia as it looks like the beginning of the suffrage movement in Australia.

    26. Great storyGreat insight on the life of women in Australia in the late 1800sStraight to the point

    27. As of the writing of this review, two full-length books have been published on Louisa Collins (enpedia/wiki/Louisa_), the Australian woman who was accused, convicted and hanged for the death of her husband by arsenic in 1889. The first, Last Woman Hanged: The Terrible, True Story of Louisa Collins (November 1, 2014), was written by renowned journalist Caroline Overington. The other, Black Widow: The True story of Australia’s First Female Serial Killer (May 27, 2015), was written by “history [...]

    28. Great thing about this book was the in-depth research undertaken to weave the story about Louisa Collins and her trials (and tribulations). Although it provided good historical background, the chapters on the suffragette movement was somewhat tedious, unless of course you are interested. The who was who and what happened to them at the end was good, however probably not needed - unless the writer wanted to publish her 'research'. All in all a great read about the facts of a time in Australia's h [...]

    29. Interesting HistoryI gave this four stars because this is a look into the history of not only the crime but some of the legal system of another country. It is something I was not that familiar with until I read this book.At this late date, it is impossible to make a true determination as to how Louisa's husbands died.This book shows how little real forensics were performed at that time. Since that time, methods for handling evidence, chemical analysis, technology, and medicine have made huge adv [...]

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