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Notes on Adelaide podcast: The Dying Deposition

Journalist Simon Royal returns to the podcast to discuss his latest deep dive into South Australia’s recent history – this time, the tragic path taken by many pregnant women before the state’s abortion laws were reformed in 1969.

Aug 17, 2022, updated Aug 17, 2022

Journalist Simon Royal has been a regular guest on this podcast talking about his in-depth journalism for InDaily. One of those episodes – The Boy Who didn’t Matter – explored the mysterious death of 19-year-old Wayne Craill in the River Torrens in 1971.

Wayne drowned only seven months before law lecturer George Duncan’s life ended in the same way.

That story sparked Royal’s search through Coronial records and something else began to catch his reporter’s eye – the multiple deaths of women from so-called backyard abortions.

Until 1969, South Australian law provided no legal circumstances in which women could terminate pregnancy.

As Royal discovered, as he searched more records and newspaper cuttings, this legal position had tragic consequences.

As he continued to explore the story, he came across 92-year-old Aileen Connon – a retired obstetrician – one of only three women in the field when she started working here in 1963.

One of Aileen’s tasks was to care for women who had found inexpert help to end their pregnancies. They often did not survive.

As well as interviewing Aileen, Royal also traced the story of two women – Dawn Dean, and the woman who she turned to for help, Edith Bryant.

Warning: This episode contains material that may be distressing for some listeners.

Read Simon Royal’s story on this topic here – https://indaily.com.au/news/2022/08/12/named-shamed-interrogated-while-dying-the-women-the-law-put-last/

For more of Royal’s work for InDaily go here – https://indaily.com.au/contributors/simon-royal-2/

Notes on Adelaide is a weekly current affairs podcast driven by the independent journalism of InDaily, CityMag and SALIFE, and produced by Solstice Podcasting.

New episodes are uploaded weekly. You can find the podcast on InDaily or on your favourite podcast app including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Listen to our previous episodes here.

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