A mistress of her own actions: the abduction of Miss Gill, Sydney 1848

Kiera Lindsey

Abstract


The article presents a historical overview of Australian laws dealing with abduction through an examination of the case of teenager Mary Ann Gill and her suitor James Butler Kinchela in May of 1848. It chronicles the events surrounding the alleged abduction, which was done in an effort for the couple to elope, including the attempted shooting of Kinchela by Gill's father Martin. It explores ways in which elopement and abduction laws in Australia were influenced by existing laws in England and Ireland, discusses a similar case of bride theft involving Australian political official Edward Gibbon Wakefield and British heiress Ellen Turner, and mentions research about this subject done by scholar Kirsten McKenzie.

*WINNER OF THE 2009 (INAUGURAL) GREG DENING MEMORIAL PRIZE*

Keywords


Australian history; abduction; nineteenth century; bride theft

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