Alexa St George



Resident Alex Theatre Ghost

Part 1 – Dublin to Australia

“St George 1”

I love it here you know laying on horse, my beautiful magnificent horse, The Prince of Siam I call him, I lay on his back as the St Kilda sun shines through the window, basking in the glow I think I am finally happy, I Alexa St George live here in the Alex at the George, how serendipitous is that I ask. Alexa isn’t a very Irish name but me mammy she liked more than a tipple of the elixir, she didn’t know who my dad was, the St George Hotel in Dublin was her stomping ground so my name was her two favourite things.

Hotel St George Dublin
Hotel St George Dublin - 2021
St. George’s Church, Dublin. Photograph by Robert French
St. George’s Church, Dublin - Mapping Dubliners
A Story told by ghost writer
Lynnette Cawcutt

Alexa's story

“Smokey Alley – 2”

When I was about five years old me ma left me at the orphanage, around ten I started to run away , that’s when me dancing career started I’d dance for a halfpenny to get a bun , I’d sleep rough but the coppers would always find me and drag me back to the orphanage, bastards finally at 15 I was free and began my dancing career in the theatre , The Smock Alley Theatre, not actually in the theatre but at the back in the alley it was there I met my Jimmy , he would play the fiddle and I would dance at the Smok, an Jimmy an me we danced a treat in our bent little bed as well. A proper act a proper couple we were. We were a great team, we’d split up in the mornings pick a few pockets then meet up at our spot, the Junction, at night I’d dance for a penny, my price had gone up now I had musical accompaniment. We were happy our home a little room in a rat-infested slum, a flea infested mattress but we made up for everything with our love, we only had each other Jimmy and me. When it was me 17th birthday, Jimmy stole me a pretty petticoat, well that’s what he yelled from the docks as he was carted off by the bastards to serve 7 years in the colonies. ‘It was really pretty petticoat Lexy, meet you at the junction.’ Them were his last words to me.

Orphan House, near Dublin, for the support of destitute female children
George 111 Halfpenny struck at the Soho Mint
Lady Kennaway - Journey to Australia
Cobb & Co coach and horses - photographer Damman, Gustav
Eucalypts Tree - image by Sshootz
Lady of St Kilda - visit Port Phillip Pioneers Group
The Smock Alley Theatre dublin
Smock Alley Theatre Dublin today
“Jimmy 3”

I continued dancing without musical accompaniment, plying my wares, having to pull my drawers down to pay my rent on my little room full of Jimmy memories. I heard from some of the other girls that the government would pay you to go to Australia, assisted passage it was called I would have to be indentured to work in the country for 5 years but I would be where my Jimmy was. I applied and in December 1848 I arrived in Melbourne Town after a pretty damn rough 3-month journey. I was immediately taken by bullock dray with a few other indentured girls to the farms , after two hot days where I became acquainted with the Australian bush fly and interminable heat I was dropped off in the back of beyond, from day one I was verbally abused, treated worse than a hound by the English hoity toity bitch I had to work for, both the mister and the minister made considerable attempts to get in me knickers , as much as I was tempted to have a bit of a roll in the hay just to spite the English bitch I didn’t but after 2 years I was out of there, I hadn’t been paid a penny in that time so the night before I left, I stole a few pounds and a silver spoon from the bitch. The coppers would be after me I knew that.

“Melbourne 4”

A few weeks later after walking many miles over many days, hiding out from the coppers, in the shanty towns I passed through, feeding on scraps I found, bits of wild grass had the money so spent the night in Ballarat cleaned myself up and caught a coach to Melbourne. I finally arrived in Melbourne town the coach was stopping at a place called the Junction, sounded like the place for me, I thought that’s where I’m meant to be. I was dropped off on Baxter’s Track, the middle of a chaotic tangle of dirt roads, eight I counted bullock drays carting things, coaches carting people, dust and mud, a little ramshackle village had been created at the Junction. There were still some bush and the big eucalyptus trees gave shade, I saw some seedy looking girls hanging about a ramshackle shanty so I was in my rightful place, a big burly man says to me where you going girlie, I said I’m ‘ere looking for a bit of work, somewhere to lay me ‘ear. Mr Mick O’Shea provender of many things mainly illegal gave me a job and a bed of straw. This place was real primitive, it had just been called St Kilda, named that after a boat the Lady of St Kilda that had moored in the shallows of the bay on and off for a few years finally departing the shores but leaving the captain behind who was first to buy a bit o’ land and naming the street where he built his cottage Acland street after his old boss and the owner of the Lady of St Kilda. After I’d been at the junction about a year this fancy dressed real estate sales men started to appear, they’d drop into Micks dodgy bar after a hard day touted the claim that St Kilda Sea air was good for body and soul to the rich punters so they could sell a bit of land. It was the most beautiful beach I had ever seen, and the big gum trees were magnificent. I loved the smell of them leaves. Mick was a font of knowledge about this new seaside village, he had been in Melbourne town since he got his ticket of leave years ago, he reckoned it would become a seaside resort for the rich buggars one of these days.

“St Kilda 5”

Days would pass and the girls and I would ply our trade. Water was scarce so we girls of the night would go down to the bay on sunset, oh sometimes the colours took your bloody breath away, we’d bathe in the sea, we had the bay to ourselves as Mick said that sea bathing was made illegal by some prissy puritans in the colony years ago.

As we swam, we would see the indigenous peoples of this land spearing fish in the shallows, the mothers getting the fire going on the beach while the kids played and laughed or collected shellfish from the water’s edge for their dinner their relationship with this land going back so many thousands of years was noticeable, then bloody white fella comes along drives them from their traditional grounds where they lived in harmony with this land. I wish I could tell them that their enemy was mine, the King, the farmer, the farmer’s wife, the governor, the redcoats, the coppers, but I couldn’t reach out, that was a damn shame.

I’d be looking every day for my Jimmy, pulling’ my drawers down just so I could stay alive until we were reunited. A rumour came into town early in the year of 1851, gold had been discovered here in Victoria. Suddenly there were people from all over the world rushing into the colony to make their fortune. Mick said that as soon as the rest of Australia and the world heard they dropped everything, abandoning their farms, their jobs even their indentures. I felt safe as so many where on the run and arriving in town I was the last person the coppers would be looking for.

That meant good tidings for us girls visit from gold diggers on their way to the fields having last bit of fun till they struck it big. It wasn’t long until the blokes arrived back at the Junction with rolls of bank notes and bags of gold. We would take the rich gents down to skinny dip at midnight, they paid us very well. We were in clover. Mick with his sly grog, cocaine and us girls was doing so well he built a hotel, The Junction Hotel. He finished building it in 1853. Lots of magnificent buildings started appearing all over St Kilda suddenly it was a holiday destination for the rich and famous, just like Mick had said although I reckon Mick was possibly the most famous person in St Kilda.

View of Baths St Kilda - visit - John Young Collection postcard
The Junction Hotel
The history of St Kilda Junction - image of The Junction Hotel
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