Skip to Main Content

Prostitution in South Australia: Introduction

Resources for researching the history of and changes in attitudes towards prostitution in South Australia.

Books and pamphlets

National Crime Authority. Operation Hydra: South Australian reference no.2., 1991.

Barbalet, Margaret. Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of state wards, South Australia 1887-1940, 1983, ch. 4: 'Sex and Marriage 1887-1940'.

Exploitation of persons: rape, prostitution and pornography: proceedings of a seminar 23-24 June, 1978, 1978.

Goode, Matthew. The law and prostitution: information and issues paper, 1991.

Guide To Records Relating To Women, 1988, vol.2. Appendix 2 - Police correspondence, pp. 1-34.

Higgs, Patricia and Bettess, Christine. To walk a fair beat: a history of the South Australian Women Police 1915-1987, 1987.

Judkins, Benjamin. The social evil, 1879.

Kirby, Joseph Coles. Remedies for the great evil which injures social purity..., 1883.

Kirby, Joseph Coles. Three lectures concerning the social evil..., 1882.

Paterson, Roslyn M. Thankyou Walter Watson Hughes: essays on Northern Yorke Peninsula, 1993. Brief note pp. 51-2, 56.

Phone-in: report / Prostitutes' Association of South Australia, 1986.

So much hard work: women and prostitution in Australian history, c1984, ch. 2. Susan M. Horan. 'More sinned against than sinning: prostitution in South Australia 1836-1914'.

Uniting Church In Australia. S.A. Synod. Social Justice Commission. Issues relating to the decriminalisation of prostitution, 1986?

Walkuski, Patti. No bed of roses: memoirs of a madam, 1993.

William Shakespeare's Adelaide 1860-1930, 1992, ch.3 Patricia Sumerling. 'Adelaide's West End', pp.34-35, ch. 6 Alison Painter. 'Hotels and drinking.'

Winter, Marcel. Prostitution in Australia: a sociological study prepared by a qualified research team under the supervision of Marcel Winter, 1976, brief reference to Adelaide pp.48-49.

Women's lives and the law: 100 years of progress and still going: a series of twilight lectures sponsored by Finlaysons Barristers and Solicitors to celebrate South Australia's Women's Suffrage centenary, 15-29 March 1994, 1994. Layton, Robyn. 'Women at home and in the streets'.

Newspaper articles

Adelaide Examiner

28 December 1842, p.3 col. A. To the editor. 'Civis.'

31 December 1842, p.3 cols. C-D. Original correspondence. Letters to the editor.


21 July 1915, p.8 col. D. 'The social evil.'

18 August 1915, p.8 col. H. 'Little hells. How they are conducted.'

21 August 1915, p.15 cols. A,B. 'Little hells. Another girl saved.'

23 August 1915, p.9 cols. H,I. 'Little hells.' Letter to editor.

20 August 1915, p.6 col. I. 'Little hells.' Question in Parliament.

16 October 1915, p.14 col. F. 'The women patrols.'

21 November 1975, p.24 cols. A-H. 'Ex-prostitute calls for legal brothels in S.A.'

26 November 1975, p.28 cols. B-E. 'Prostitution. For some it is socially unbearable.. for others it's therapy.'

17 July 1978, p.3 cols. D,E. 'No prostitution permits - Government.'

20 July 1978, p.1 cols. D-G, p.26 col. C. 'Parliamentary enquiry into prostitution.'

20 July 1978, p.5 cols. A,B. 'Parlour games.' Editorial.

21 July 1978, p.7 col. C. 'Prostitution union- No link, says Dunstan.'

21 July 1978, p.26 cols. A-H. 'Two sides to the coin.'

20 February 1980, p.1 cols. F-H. 'Early move likely on prostitution.'

20 February 1980, p.10 cols. A-E.S.A. 'Prostitution report.'

27 February 1980, p.4 cols. A-I. Prostitution debate. Letter to the editor.

29 February 1980, p.5 cols. A,B Prostitution issue. Letters to the editor.

10 March 1980, p.4 Prostitution debate. Letters to the editor.

2 June 1980, p.3 cols. D-F. 'Prostitution Bill before Parliament this week.'

13 November 1980, p.8 cols. D,E. 'Prostitution bill may go to a vote.'

12 February 1981, p.1 cols. G-I. 'Prostitution Bill defeated.'

12 February 1981, p.5.cartoon. Atchison - 'What's a prostitution bill?'

13 February 1981, p.3 cols. F-H. 'Prostitution Bill had been amended.'

13 February 1981, p.5 cols. A-D. Editorial: Prostitution Bill.

23 June 1983, p.9. 'Good reasons for legal prostitution.'


8 November 1978, p.14. 'Women hit at brothel report.'

27 February 1980, p.27 col. A-B. 'An old 'crime' needing change. Barbara Wiese M.P.'

28 February 1980, p.6. 'Shedding light on our ladies of the night.'

23 October 1980, p.9. 'Make it legal, says city survey.'

6 November 1980, p.21. 'Bid to keep crime out of the parlours.'


9 February 1850, suppl.p.2 col. C. 'Prostitution in Adelaide.'

4 January 1873, p.7 col. C. 'Scenes in the streets' Letter to the editor.


22 July 1843, p.4 'Prostitution in U.K.'

7 June 1856, p.1.

Public notices. 'Houses of ill-fame' - Notice.

28 June 1870, p.6 col. A. 'Dancing saloons and nighthouses.'

26 March 1872, p.5 col. F. 'Disorderly houses.' Letter to editor.

27 March 1872, p.5 col. A. 'Suppression of immorality in the city.'

3 April 1872, p.6 col. F. 'Disorderly houses.' Letter to editor.

13 May 1872, p.4 col. E. 'Destitution and juvenile criminology.'

23 December 1872, p.5 col. E. 'Houses in Currie Street.'

28 December 1872, p.6 col. B. 'Drunken women.'

20 January 1879, p.6 cols. A,B. 'A dark slice of Adelaide life.'

8 January 1885, p.7 col. F. 'Dissolute Adelaide.'

Sunday Mail

7 December 1980, p.9. Peter Ward. 'Don't worry dear ladies.'

2 November 1980, pp.12-14. ill. 'The prostitutes who gave it away.'

3 January 1982, p.7. 'Why I sold myself - a 'Christmas' prostitute tells.'

Parliamentary papers

South Australia. Parliament. Parliamentary Paper

No. 86 (1867). 'Reports on lessening the evils of prostitution.'

No. 152 (1979/80). 'Report of the Select Committee of Inquiry into Prostitution.'

Periodical articles

On Dit

'Prostitution in South Australia. Have times changed?', vol. 47, no. 5,1979, pp. 8-9.

Push from the Bush

Nance, Christopher. 'Women, public morality and prostitution in early South Australia', no.3, May 1979, pp. 33-43.

Horan, Sue. 'Prostitution in South Australia: a proposal for reform, 1842', no.4, September 1979, pp. 33-38.

Quiz and the lantern

'Juvenile and clandestine prostitution', 25 November 1897, p.8.

'Juvenile prostitution', 2 December 1897, p.8.

'Letter on prostitution', 2 December 1897, p.13.

Speakers Corner

Keeley, Rod. 'A century in the shadows: prostitution in Adelaide', no.1, 1982, pp. 1-4.

Southern Cross

'Prostitution Bill - opposed by Rev. Swann', 5 June 1980, pp.1,14.