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Leigh Straw

Dr Leigh Straw is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Notre Dame, Fremantle. She specialises in Australian history, modern U.S. history, and crime studies.


Straw, Leigh 2021, The Petticoat Parade: Madam Monnier and the Roe Street Brothels, Fremantle Press.

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.

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

Straw, Leigh 2019, Angel of Death: Dulcie Markham, Australia’s Most Beautiful Bad Woman, Harper Collins.


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

Straw, Leigh 2022, 'The suffering begins: returned soldiers, families and the aftermath of World War 1 in Western Australia', Fremantle Studies, 11: 81-93. [presented Fremantle Studies Day 2018]


Worst Woman page at NewSouth Publishing

Article about Kate Leigh at NewSouth Publishing

Garry Gillard | New: 30 August, 2017 | Now: 19 April, 2024