“An Undesirable”

This is Alice Clarke.

Clarke, Alice (photo)
Alice Clarke, born 1887 [source: NSW State Archives, NRS2496, 3/6004, pg 111]
Alice was brought before the Wagga Wagga Police Court on 8 April 1912 to face two charges – one for drunkenness; the other for having insufficent lawful means of support.

The Police Magistrate described her as “an undesirable character… and a disgrace to her sex”.

“Wagga Police Court

Monday, April 8, 1912

(Before Mr. George Stevenson, P.M.)

An Undesirable

Alice Clarke, alias Thompson, a young woman who has been previously before the local bench, was charged with being drunk in Baylis-street on Sunday night and also with being without lawful means of support. To the first charge she pleaded guilty, but to the second charge she pleaded not guilty.

Senior Constable Field said that on Saturday night he saw the accused in Fitzmaurice-street with three or four men. All were under the influence of liquor. He spoke to her and she promised to go home, saying she resided at North Wagga.

Witness had been informed that accused camped on Saturday night on the flat with men. On Sunday morning a number of people who camped in tents on the flat complained of her conduct during the night. Witness again saw her on Sunday night, under the influence of drink and with three men. He and Senior-Constable Bath arrested her.

Constable Davidson said he had known accused over twelve months. She was constantly wandering the streets at night with different men and frequented the river bank near Hampden Bridge. If spoken to by witness her explanation was always that she had just come into town and was going away by the next train.

The Hampden Bridge at Wagga Wagga.
The Hampden Bridge, Wagga Wagga c.1910 [from the Pym Collection at CSU Regional Archives, RW2735/17].
Constable Murphy gave evidence to seeing the accused in Wagga on Friday, although she stated she had only come to town on Saturday. Witness had frequently seen accused drunk and in company with men.

Accused called Senior-Constable Gilroy to speak in her defence. She hoped, she said to find one officer who could speak the truth. Witness, however, denied in reply to questions that he knew anything of a man with whom she claimed to have been living a respectable life, while he also added to the adverse testimony of the other police officers.

Her confidence being shaken in the truthfulness of police officers, accused elected to be sworn on her own behalf. Her evidence was an absolute denial of the police allegations of immorality.

She had been away at Stockinbingal since a few months before Christmas and had not returned to Wagga since until Friday evening last. Witness had separated from her husband and had been living with a man named Clarke for the last 12 months.

The P.M. said accused was an undesirable character to have in any town and a disgrace to her sex.”

The Daily Advertiser, 10 April 1912, pg.2

Clarke, Alice
Alice Clarke’s entry in the Long Bay Gaol Photographic Description Book at the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW [NRS2496 Item 3/6004 Photo No. 93, Page 111].

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