The Baby Farmers

The Baby Farmers

The Baby Farmers: A Chilling Tale of Missing Babies, Shameful Secrets and Murder in 19th Century Australia

by Annie Cossins

Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 302 pp, 9781743314012

Jay Daniel Thompson

Jay Daniel Thompson

Jay Daniel Thompson lectures in the Media and Communications program at the University of Melbourne. For information on his

...

In The Baby Farmers, legal scholar Annie Cossins revisits a bizarre episode in Australian criminal history. Her text focuses on a pair of baby killers who operated in Sydney during the nineteenth century. In October 1892, Sarah and John Makin were arrested after a baby’s corpse was found buried on their farm. An investigation revealed the bodies of twelve more babies, all buried in properties that had been inhabited by the Makins. The couple’s crimes stemmed largely from their poverty. Purchasing babies provided them with an (albeit limited) income. These babies had often been born out of wedlock, and their mothers relinquished them to avoid the stigma surrounding ‘illegitimate’ children.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to comments@australianbookreview.com.au. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.