"This is an ABC podcast, Lee straw, is back on conversations today. Lee is an academic and true crime writer, and she had to tell the story of a key figure from stripes, underworld in the thirties forties, and fifties. A woman named Dulcie Markham Dulcie, Malcolm was one of the most colorful and notorious characters of her era, one crime reporter at the time, said that Dulcie sought more violence and death than any other woman in history. The first thing that attracted media retention to Dulcie, Malcolm was who movie star, good looks, and she was known in the world as pretty Dulcie, the other thing, the caught the public eye was the fate of the men in her life, doc-, married twice, and both husbands were shot. One of them fatally the other men in her life didn't fare. So we'll either at least five of her boyfriend's would. Killed by a bullet or a knife, now these men were all violent criminals. So it's hardly surprising that were killed in such bloody circumstances. But in the public mind, Dulcie Markham became known as the angel of death. Wow. Hello. What a story what were you into Dulcie story to begin with? I was checked into her story because I had been looking at the lives of Caitlyn Lillian. I'm field her very much on opposite sides of, of the law. If you will Kate being an organized crime, boss, and Lillian onfield being the first unranked female detective and Dulcie popping up this woman who's caught between the two of them. So I was drawn into the story in that way. That makes such an enigmatic character. I think she's an enigmatic character because you still trying to figure out, you know. And even at the time she was somebody that she seemed to present an particular way, and yet she take another step somewhere, go somewhere else and, and the story changes it shifts all the time. So when you think you figured her out, she's still get another play of the cards. How did you piece together given that she didn't really lock talking to the Cup is going on the record? She's very smart. That ways we know we criminals that they don't want to obviously incriminate themselves and give too much away. And she certainly used the reporters when she wanted to give little bits of information that would build up our kind of media character and the identity that she wanted the public to know and see some resonance with pacing. It together is pretty difficult to be honest, because it took a bit of time going through inquests place records. And then all the newspaper stories about Dulcie, Richard. They were incredibly sensational at the time. So it was trying to tell the story from noise records, but also pull them apart. We'll have much of this is actually true. Did you get a sense of voice on the sense of character from those records, all the car wreck in her voice would have been really gruff? You know, you could imagine you're sitting outside of a pub, and in fact, people did see you sitting outside of a pub using all kinds of language Kalfa language, Jane's, COPA. That Peres could really look after herself because she had to in the underworld's. Well, she gang leader like Tilly Devine and Lee, she's never been nine somebody who became a leader as such bearing in mind, Caitlyn, Tilly Devine, we're really prominent underworld ladies anyway, and I didn't really want any more competition. So they weren't going to let Dulcie was working the streets, work, her way out that kind of level. But she seems to have developed a very interesting. Power, if you will in the middle of organized crime so playing all the different characters and using them for basically eking out her kind of existence. They she Killa could she actually shoot stead? Chelsea says she never killed anyone never never handled a gun. She is never a gangsters Garo look, she was a place where pretty in that she was behind the number of murder cases that they were working and they were quite certain that. She incited a lot of the violence at the time. She's right at office, just jealousy. It was just a love his tiff. But I think she was smarter than that. When you say it was just this unjust that, that really times, something's, clearly so she was born on the eve of will wore one nineteen fourteen you've got to me about the family, she was born into that was scratching the surface of the information that was a little bit there at the time and what it being related afterwards. Once I started looking into her family story, I realized that there was much more to this. So she had a foul. He had described himself as a theatrical artist on her birth certificate, and a mother, who tried to set up as sort of a just a an ordinary wife. But once I scratched the surface of our life, I realized that actually is a teenager. She was regarded as a way word girl, she'd been before the police courts, she'd been caught on the streets. She, there was a fear that she was going to enter into prostitution. That's Dulcie mum. So there's gotta be some kind of interesting connection it's day she gets a bit of that, perhaps law from her mum. And then the theatrical side from her father, how old was she when she run away from home, fifteen Richard fifteen very, very young. We sort of Luzon of these days, we think of the underworld crime in the United these young people involved in it. But when you imagine, it's a fifteen year old running away from her hymen Waverly, onto the streets of eastern Sydney. I mean, that's that would be remarkable thing to do at the time of very dangerous thing today. Only fifteen year old girls have been running away from home forever. Leaned for fifteen year olds running away from home in those. Immediate post war years wonder, well, these very little support. Then you've also got the women's police officers here on you title because they want to take you back home. That's they job to to get the way word girls off the streets. Take them back Heim. And then the other really interesting stories. It's not just running away from home to any old place. She ran away to these crime ridden streets based in Sydney. So I wasn't incredibly dangerous place to try and create a new life for herself. What do you think she did go? Is that do you think she's drawn to the kind of CD glamour of that? Willed ores at the, the place where runaway child can survive. I think it's Barth to the Richard. There's an element of way. Yes, you could run away from home and you could be looked after on those streets. You be taken in for good or for bad. But I think an interesting pattern high stories that there is that question macaroni around why did she run away from home isn't dysfunctional family? At the time her parents marriage is breaking down and then she takes off. But Dulcie it always said that she was she went out for. Time. That's how she described it. I went for a good time, and she found that in eastern, Sydney, I guess maybe she was drawn to some of the what she thought was glamour of the situation of the time, but was actually incredibly violent the centers of street prostitution in Sydney in Tommy. Traditionally, it's been William street between the city and kings cross hasn't. It was a strip in those absolutely. Yeah. That was one of the more prominent areas. Yeah, definitely done with me, the lower end of Dowling, Hearst pomace straight as we I was a was a hot spot. Can you say hotspot for prostitution? I'm physically ran Tilly DeVine's, Brussels. They ending to kings cross these were major areas of, of prostitution and I think it was right Blissett, who was a former detective referred to it as the Bob ary, karst wrought since Walden with Greek funds between prostitutes. Was that was that a common thing absolutely at my place? In fact, was one of the places where there was a number place different back. There is today. You just don't see those kind of bro already war. Yeah. There was a number of roles in place, and I it's usually territory women who are working on the streets, and somebody picks wrong corner of the wrong straight to work on, then there were brothels in the area as well. It was the lifelock for a prostitute working, and some of those brothels around eastern SUNY in those days, really dependent on the brothel that you weren't in, if you worked in one of Tilly DeVine's establishments stories that she really looked after her girls as she referred to them, but it was usually that she looked after her favorite. So if you became Antilles favorites you had a good life inside, the brothel as much as you could around the violence, and also ran Turkana standoff tactics. But the smaller brothels it existed in places like the loon King's Cross, it could be a little bit hit miss. So you could end up working in a place that you are incredibly abused. And you didn't make much money at all. And then some of the brothel madams used to pay off their workers with Cain rather than that to money. So they got caught on that cycle of drug abuse. This is a period in the ninety twenties when crime is being run by women. In Sydney tightly, Tilly Devine. And then you have powerful women emerging, eventually luck, Dulcie Markham. And then you've, you've also written the story of Lillian onfield, who was a female police officer at the time it was charged with risking girls. Dulcie, malcolm. What was going on in a strike was unusual for a city like Sydney to have crime and the dominated so heavily by female power. I think it was quite unique furnace drain city to experience, that we didn't see that kind of power anywhere else in the strain cities. So Sydney was unique in that respect, and even the rest of the world for that quite make. Yeah. Yeah. We really were because we had three women like Caitlyn Tilly Devine running the shy. And that that's virtually unheard of behind the throne by the throat. That's right. So they were very powerful in there Aren ride. And then you've got on the other side of that she say Lillian feud who creates a powerful position for herself, and the, the police force to actually battling with these two very powerful criminal. Women are understood reasoning compensation that the reason why this year is called the rise again era is because when the soldiers came home from the first we'll a lot of them had this service with with them. And so the, the government in the Clinton to be illegal. And so everyone to, to rise abides off to that. What kind of crime was divine and Kightley operating criminal activities would presiding within they mainstays of crime? Whereas like rogue selling Cy selling off knock off days. Usually, like, hey, did through the hole in the wall of a building and three two people to sell this buries a little hole in the wall. Quickly coming up, and these stories of people standing in front of its holes as well. Cover them up. I mean, that was a mainstay Wednesday started closing the pubs earlier. So he made a lot of money out of slog selling cocaine selling cocaine dealing was huge mainstay for by Tilly demand. And Katie and also prostitution. I mean prostitution fertility divine was a real money maker for her from the nineteen twenties. So they'll see Malcolm, went to work for to lead.."