The Lethal Maternal: The Past in the Present and Future Projections

"Woodcut from A Wonder of Wonders depicting the hanging of Anne Greene" - W. Burdet., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The conviction of Kathleen Folbigg in 2003 for the manslaughter of her first infant child and the murder of three others over a ten-year period exposed her to a torrent of hatred. Tarred ‘the most hated woman in Australia’ and a ‘monstrous mother’, she became a cipher for deeply rooted feelings and theories of the lethal maternal.

This multi-disciplinary symposium sheds light on the historical tropes of maternal lethality, from Ancient Rome to the recent past, drawing on visual iconography, ballads, legal discourses, and forensic analysis. It also features a panel of scientific and legal experts who will illuminate how novel genetic evidence overturned the Folbigg conviction, setting a possible future course for the prevention of miscarriages of justice.

Date & time

Fri 31 May 2024, 1–5pm


Level 1 Lectorial 2 (1.23), RSSS Building 146 Ellery Cres. Acton 2601, ACT


Multi-disciplinary Panel


School of History


Carolyn Strange


Updated:  17 May 2024/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications