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Emmeline and Thomas Galloway

Shattering the Domestic Ideal

New Year's Day 1900 began in dramatic fashion in South Dunedin. The murdered body of Emmeline Galloway was discovered at 2 a.m., lying on her bedroom floor in a pool of blood. Only two hours before she had stood at her front gate in Bradshaw Street, watching the fireworks that greeted the new century. Surrounded by neighbours, she and her husband Thomas had wished each other a happy New Year. Next day it soon became clear that Thomas had killed his wife with a tomahawk, his story of a mystery assailant notwithstanding. His arrest and trial soon followed. The trial uncovered a sorry tale of marital disharmony. Emmeline was revealed as a morphine addict, one of many in Dunedin. In this she failed to meet the ideal of the wife shared by the people of the 'Flat'. Neighbours testified to the good character of Thomas, a fitter at the Hillside Workshops. His wife's demands for chlorodine - a legally available medicine containing morphine -had led to quarrels and debt. Thomas's lawyers described his attack as an act of 'excusable homicide'. The jury agreed and took only an hour to find him 'not guilty'. The communal view of the Galloways was of a decent, hard-working man, driven beyond endurance and into debt by a complaining, violent and drug-addicted wife.

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