Ep: 54 Tanya Bretherton – The Suitcase Baby

In Sydney in the 1920s, babies were turning up in the harbour, on trains, and in public places. These babies, all murdered, mostly by their mothers, were a devastating symptom of changing morals and a growing metropolis.

One of these babies turned up on a harbour beach – and from there, an extraordinary story unfolded. A true history that is both shocking and too real, this unforgettable tale moves at the pace of a great crime novel. Police tracked down Sarah Boyd, the mother of the suitcase baby, and the complex story and subsequent murder trial of Sarah and her friend Jean Olliver became a media sensation. Sociologist Tanya Bretherton masterfully tells the engrossing and moving story of the crime that put Sarah and her baby at the centre of a social tragedy that still resonates through the decades.

Read more about Tanya Bretherton here


  1. I downloaded this book and read it cover to cover in two days! I thought it was amazing and so well written. Thank you for sharing this story on your podcast.


  2. Another little bit of our history that has been kept under wraps. Great interview, Rose, and intriguing subject matter. Yet another book for the list….


  3. After hearing this podcast I have ordered this book to read. I studied Australian History at university but had no idea about this sad decade.

    Liked by 1 person

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