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Annie Turnbull - convicted abortionist

Portrait of Annie Turnbull, undatedVery few details about the life or personality of Annie Turnbull have survived in the State archives. She must have reached a certain notoriety in Newcastle and Sydney and have been well known to the Police. She stood trial several times for abortion related crimes and seems to have been under investigation by Police almost constantly.
Annie Belinda Bain was born sometime between 1863 and 1866 in the Newcastle district. Her parents were William and Ann (nee Bull). She married Walter Henry Bright at Wallsend, Newcastle in 1885. This first marriage was short and marred by tragedy. Annie had a daughter Florence in 1887 and in the following year twin boys, Keneth and Sydney. All three children died in 1888. The twins were not registered at birth so they can't have been very old when they died.
No record could be found of a divorce or death of Walter but in 1891 Annie married William Turnbull, a widower, in Hamilton, Newcastle. It is likely that the children mentioned in various court papers and Police reports were from William's first marriage.  Annie died in 1928 at the Coast Hospital, aged in her early sixties.

Records relating to Annie Turnbull

  • Solicitor's letter, 1895
  • Petition for bail to be granted, 1895
  • Jane Ann Benson's court evidence, 1899
  • Letter from G. Blackburn to Annie, 1898
  • Letter & envelope from J. Brown to Annie, 1898
  • Floor plan of boarding house, 1899
  • Gaol photo of Annie, 1899
  • 1921 trial, evidence re Alice Berry
  • Statement by Charlotte Bryant, 1921
  • Annie's business card
  • Judges statement, 1921
  • Gaol photo of Annie, 1920

Dorothy Daulby - an abortion related death

Photo of Dorothy Daulby, no date Handwritten letter by Dorothy Dorothy's death certificate Police evidence about Dorothy's death Annie Turnbull's involvement in Dorothy's death

State archives consulted

The table below is a list of records that have been consulted in the creation of this webpage. Copies of some of the records can be found in the images above but many of the references can be used for further research. 

Series Copied Name Date Charge/Gaol Contents
NRS 10958* [1/3230]  Reel 3141  Annie Turnbull  1 April 1895  Murder, Maitland Circuit Court  Acquitted 
NRS 880 [9/6909]  Not copied  Annie Turnbull  1895  Supreme Court, Case #2
NRS 10958 [1/3234] Reel 3143  Annie Turnbull  6 April 1899  Unlawfully using an instrument, Maitland Circuit Court  Guilty, sentence of seven years.  Accused is identical with AT 1895 
NRS 2322 [5/778] Reel 2375  Annie Turnbull  5 April - 9 June 1899  Maitland Gaol, Entrance Book  Entry #234 
NRS 880 [9/6975] Not copied  Annie Turnbull   1899 Supreme Court, Case #8 Guilty, seven year sentence
NRS 2327 [3/5987] Not copied  Annie Turnbull  1899  Maitland Gaol, Photograph description book  Photo # 478 
NRS 10958 [1/3234] Reel 3143  Annie Turnbull  9 June 1899  Unlawfully using an instrument, CCC Sydney  Seven years to be served concurrently with above sentence 
NRS 2137 [5/1950] Reel 2358  Annie Turnbull  25 May - 26 June 1899  Darlinghurst Gaol, Entrance Book  Entry #2389 
NRS 1996 [19/9826]  Not copied  Annie Turnbull  26 June 1899 - 1 June 1903  Bathurst Gaol, Entrance Book  Entry #205 
NRS 10958 [1/3238] Reel 3595  Annie Turnbull  1 June 1903  Discharged on license from Bathurst Gaol 
NRS 10958 [1/3241] Reel 3596  Annie Belinda Turnbull  24 Oct 1906  Unlawfully using an instrument, Newcastle QS  Acquitted.  Accused is indentical with discharged prisoner 1903 
NRS 2322 [5/780] Not copied  Annie Belinda Turnbull 24 Nov 1906 Maitland Gaol, Entrance Book Entry #587 
NRS 10958 [1/3242] Reel 3596  Annie Turnbull  Nov 1907  Unlawfully using an instrument, Newcastle QS  Acquitted.  Accused is identical with 1906 prisoner 
NRS 10958 [1/3249]  Reel 3598 Annie Belinda Turnbull 18 July 1914  Murder, Att Gen declined to file bill Accused is identical with AT 1903
NRS 2322 [5/780] Not copied  Annie Belinda Turnbull  1914 Maitland Gaol, Entrance Book  Entry #700 
NRS 10958 [1/3251]   Reel 3599 Annie Turnbull  Jan 1916  Reward for information  140 Glenmore Rd, Paddington Sydney 
NRS 10958 [1/3252]   Reel 3599 Annie Belinda Turnbull/Bright 26 Nov 1917  Arrested for murder, CCC Sydney  Acquitted.  Accused is identical with 1914 AT 
NRS 10958 [1/3253]   Reel 3599  Annie Belinda Turnbull/Mary Bright  Apr 1918 Murder, Att Gen declined to file bill  -
NRS 10958 [1/3253]   Reel 3599 Annie Belinda Turnbull  1918  Charged with conducting a premises as a private hospital without authority, Central Police Branch, Sydney  -
NRS 2491 [5/2263] Not copied  Annie Belinda Turnbull/Bright  11 Nov - 24 Nov 1919 State Reformatory for Women, Entrance Book Entry #1002, p.101 
NRS 2491 [5/2263]
Not copied Annie Belinda Turnbull/Bright   24 Nov 1919 State Reformatory for Women, Entrance Book  Entry #1042, p.104
NRS 10958 [1/3255] Reel 3600  Annie Turnbull/ Annie Belinda Turnbull/ Annie Bright 1920  Murder and three abortion, CCC Sydney  Acquitted on appeal.  Accused is identical with 1918 AT 
NRS 2491 [5/2263] Not copied  Belinda Turnbull  17 May - 1 Nov 1920 State Reformatory for Women, Entrance Book Entry #495, p.167
NRS 2496 [3/6006] Not copied  Belinda Turnbull  1920  State Reformatory for Women, Photo description Book Photo #478
NRS 2699 [4/7950] Not copied  Annie Belinda Turnbull  Appeal #14, 1920, p.89  Register of Criminal Appeals Also NRS 2698 Court of Criminal Appeal Letter books
NRS 880 Not copied  Belinda Turnbull  1921  Supreme Court, Case #3 -
NRS 10958 [1/3258] Reel 3602  Annie Belinda Turnbull als Bright  1923  Conspiracy to procure abortion, Sydney QS  Att Gen declined to file bill. Identical to 1920 AT 
NRS 10958 Reel 3602  Annie Belinda Turnbull  Nov 1923  Conspiracy against Rex, Sydney QS  Jury disagreed, acquitted

*Note: NRS 10958 NSW Police Gazettes are often the only source of information that has survived for other charges and offences that Annie Turnbull faced. She can be found in the index to the Police Gazette under the various names listed.

Initial research into Annie Turnbull was unable to locate any death or divorce records relating to her first husband, Walter Henry Bright, any references to Annie having registered as a nurse (NRS 10859 and 10860) and no probate or deceased estate records for Annie.