Re-enacting an 1878 court case in Stroud

Luke Phillips (Melbourne), Veronica Frost (Stroud), Elyse Standing (Stroud) and Kev Hutchins (Stroud) waiting to be called into the courtroom. Photo: Anne Keen
Luke Phillips (Melbourne), Veronica Frost (Stroud), Elyse Standing (Stroud) and Kev Hutchins (Stroud) waiting to be called into the courtroom. Photo: Anne Keen

Stroud Court House Museum was packed during the re-enactment of the 1878 McAskill double murder inquest as part of a week long investigation of the infamous Booral unsolved murders.

Along with 30 Swinburne criminology students, Stroud residents gathered to watch actors, mostly Stroud residents, perform a live-read of the transcripts from the original two inquests into the February murders of Allan and Mary McAskill.

Stroud and District Historical Society assisted Swinburne lecturer and forensic archaeologist, Dr Louise Steding with the information and coordination of the activities beginning on Tuesday, October 31 until the final re-enactment held on Thursday, November 2.

Local actors and students assisted with the courtroom reenactment, under the direction of Anne Frost. Photo: Anne Keen

Local actors and students assisted with the courtroom reenactment, under the direction of Anne Frost. Photo: Anne Keen

The re-enactment involved the actors dressed in period costumes reading the transcripts from the original inquests, which was intermixed with Dr Steding discussing the testimony with her students to assist with their studies.

Students and local actors assisted with recreating the inquests, under the direction of Anne Frost, with the cross-examination based on new evidence.

Stroud and District Historical Society president, Rodney Gorton said the event has been a great draw card to for the Stroud community.

He said many community members came to the courthouse to watch the reenactment, including descendants of the McAskills and other families involved in the original inquests. 

Mr Gorton said the reenactment was a good way to kick off the upcoming ghost tours planned for Stroud in the new year.