Fremantle Stuff > authors > Leigh Straw

Current Project

Leigh Straw writes: "I'm writing a book for Fremantle Press at the moment on Marie Monnier (aka Josie de Bray) who was a famous French brothel madam in Roe Street, Perth. She arrived in Fremantle in July 1902 but I can't find records yet that show her setting up business in Freo before she went back to France on a few recruiting drives and then bought 98 Roe Street in 1912." (personal communication 30 January 2020)


Straw, Leigh S.L. 2013, Drunks, Pests and Harlots: Criminal Women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939, humming earth, Kilkerran, Scotland.

Drunks, pests and harlots : criminal women in Perth and Fremantle, 1900-1939 / Leigh S.L. Straw.
Author: Straw, Leigh S. L., author
Imprint: Kilkerran, Scotland : humming earth, 2013.
Collation: xii, 247 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 23 cm.
Notes: Includes bibliography and index.
Summary: Esther Warden was the 'terror' of West End Fremantle and the most dangerous woman in Western Australia. Lilly Doyle kept company with thieves and rogues and was listed as an 'undesirable'. May Ahern was a 'fallen' woman who lured men into dark street corners, tempting them away from the paths of virtue. Esther, Lilly and May were notorious female criminals in early twentieth-century Perth and Fremantle. Criminalised as drunks, prostitutes and vagrants, women committing offences against good order faced a double punishment for their social and gender transgressions. Drunks, Pests and Harlots takes a trip through the underworld streets of Perth and Fremantle from 1900-1939. It offers a glimpse into the lives of criminal women facing close police surveillance, negative media coverage, strict incarceration and institutionalisation. These lives present historical perspectives on female offenders and the development of public critiques of women who fail to meet the expectations of society.
ISBN: 9781846220425
Dewey Class: 364.374

Straw, Leigh 2015, Limestone, Kennedy & Boyd [fiction].

Straw, Leigh 2016, The Worst Woman in Sydney: The Life and Crimes of Kate Leigh, NewSouth Publishing.

Very impressive biography which both conceals and then shows the full extent of the detailed research that has gone into this. (GG)

Straw, Leigh 2017, After the War: Returned Soldiers and the Mental and Physical Scars of World War 1, UWAP.


Straw, Leigh 2017, 'Outcast Women: Offending the Good Order in Fremantle, 1900-1939', Fremantle Studies, 9: 88-106.


Worst Woman page at NewSouth Publishing

Article about Kate Leigh at NewSouth Publishing

Garry Gillard | New: 30 August, 2017 | Now: 31 January, 2020