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Yarra Boot Trunk Tragedy

On 17 December 1898 the naked corpse of a young woman was discovered in a yellow box floating in the Yarra River at South Richmond. More than 8000 people came to see the body, or later the preserved head, at the morgue. Sometimes more than 1500 people came in a single day and police took advantage of public curiosity in the hope that the body would be identified. On 11 January 1899 the victim was identified as Mabel Ambrose, a 17-year-old who died during an abortion performed by 'Madame' Olga Radalyski at the behest of Travice Tod. Both were convicted of murder. Dr William Gaze, tried as an accessory, was acquitted.

Simon Cooke