The Baby Farmers: A Chilling Tale Of Missing Babies, Shameful Secrets And Murder In 19th Century Aus
Annie Cossins; Allen & Unwin, 2013; 304pp; $29.99 (paperback)
The chilling title of Annie Cossin’s book The Baby Farmers is unfortunately all too apt. It describes the poverty and deprivation suffered by poor unmarried women who sought out ‘a kind mother’ to care for their babies for a fee in the late 1800s in New South Wales. Some of these mothers may have dreamed of being reunited with their babies at some time in the future, but choosing the Makins to care for their offspring was never going to allow that to happen. Thirteen babies’ bodies were found in shallow graves in the yards of houses where the Makins and their children lived. John Makin was eventually hanged, and Sarah jailed, for murder.