Nine Stories Nine Women – 4 – Dorothy Weaver
In keeping with the theme of Queensland Women’s Week 2019 – Invest in Women, Invest in the future. Talking about financial insecurity and literacy. The stories of the women of Boggo Road Gaol directly represent what goes wrong when women are faced with financial insecurity and other difficult circumstances.
This year, in honour of these women we have produced Nine Stories Nine Women a series of short stories representative of the different circumstances that women found themselves in. Dorothy Weaver is the fourth of our nine stories.
Name (with aliases): Dorothy Weaver, alias Elise Weaver, alias Neah Jackson, alias Elsie Weir, alias Elsie Vera Bruce, alias Elsie Osman, alias Neah Jackson Bouffier, alias Elsie Gorman, alias Vera Bruce, alias Elsie Halsler, alias Jill White, alias Nea Vouffier, alias Mademoisselle Estelle Rae, alias Mademoisselle Miss, alias Vera La Bruce, alias Clara La Bruce, alias Dorothy Street, alias Elsie Vera Osbourne, alias Elsie Vera Thompson, alias Elsie Vera Allan, alias Dorothy Harris.
Native Place: New South Wales
Year of Birth: 1894
Arrival in State: 1933 Overland
From Where: New South Wales
Trade or Calling: Housewife
Religion: Church of England
Education: R & W
Height (without boots): 5 feet 2 inches
Weight: 7 Stone 6 pounds
Special Marks and Features: Operation Scar left side of abdomen and burn scar under left knee
It is true, Dorothy Weaver was an extraordinary notorious crook. Known by at least fifteen aliases. She has posed as a doctor, stolen goods worth hundreds of pounds and pretended to be the poor hard done by mother. However, this woman was born on the wrong side of the tracks, to an unwed mother. Abandoned, she had little choice in how to make ends meet. Her beginning would see her in and out of prisons her entire life…
Born Elsie Vera Bruce, in Marrickville, New South Wales in 1894. Dorothy’s life of crime would begin at the age of just 18… well at least what is on her adult record anyhow. Just like a child, Dorothy like to pretend. Either to make ends meet or to simply get what she wanted… She would begin by pretending to be the daughter of some wealthy land owner. Rack up hundreds and hundreds of pounds worth of goods at all sorts of stores all over New South Wales. Most of her aliases are the surnames of the victims of her many crimes.
By 1924, she was known by the press as ‘The Queen of Shams” with the report in the Brisbane Truth suggesting she had fleeced at least 1000 victims with her impositions. One of her favourite shams is to pretend to be a female doctor and rack up expensive bills with chauffer driven vehicles… often sleeping in the vehicle… before doing a runner on the expense. Since her first charge Dorothy or Vera La Bruce as she was known then… by this time had racked up some 14 years imprisonment… but had not served nearly that much.
We will skip forward however to one of her Queensland crimes… another false pretence charge. This time for obtaining £6 from the cash orders and loans office by false pretences. She stated to the clerk that her husband was in the employ of the railways and that she had furniture to secure her the loan. However, it was discovered that not only had she no furniture… the room that she was residing in was rented, that she was caring for her two small children… and that her husband was in Gaol!
She stated was unable to work as the children were too small to leave at home by themselves. The police were notified, and Dorothy was found at the Church of England shelter with her two children.
Dorothy having been only released a month ago on a similar charge was held in prison for three months…
One thing is for sure… this is not the last time that Boggo Road Gaol would see Dorothy Weaver…. Or whatever name she will use next…. The trick is figuring out what name she will use!
Come and get locked up in Boggo Road Gaol for Queensland Women’s Week! Experience what life was like for the women from the earliest times of the female division in our fully immersive tour experience Join us for a History Tour on the 6th or 8th of March to be a part of our very special Queensland Women’s Week events.
Tickets for Queensland Women’s Week are strictly limited so get in quickly to secure your spot. You do not want to miss this! Click here to book now!