Victoria Parade

1 June 2014

a squared puddle
a jaw
speaking:
brick terraces
dirt whacked bluestone
crinolines
gloved hands
young plane trees

Mrs Bansgrove:
if you observe that woman walking in victoria parade remember it’s a man

a black flounced dress
shitty petticoats
walking

musth the parade
flushed through the temporal
tarring the road

‘there goes the great eastern’


‘Victoria Parade’ is a section from a long poem, ‘The Great Eastern’, a poem based on the True Story of John Wilson, a former English convict who recently (1851) immigrated to the Port Phillip district from Van Diemen’s Land. Wilson worked the streets of Collingwood and Fitzroy in ‘women’s dress’, soliciting men for sex (locally known as ‘Ellen Maguire of the Great Eastern’). Police constable John Jones arrested them in 1863 for solicitation. Later they were charged with, and found guilty of, sodomy. Chief Justice Stawell sentenced them to death (commuted, after a begging letter, to ‘life hard labour, the first 3 years in chains’). Six years later, Wilson died in Pentridge Prison. Yet.

 


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