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Timeline: 1910s

27 March 1910

  • Dancer Freda Stark is born (Northland region). Link: Te Ara

11 April 1910

  • Artist Toss Woollaston is born (Stratford). Link: Te Ara

10 May 1910

  • Composer Tuini Moetu Haangu Ngawai is born (Gisborne region). Link: Te Ara

3 December 1910

8 April 1911

  • The Fielding Star reports a theatre audience laughs the trouser-skirt off the stage (Paris, France). The report notes that it is illegal in France for women to dress in men's attire and vice versa, except at Carnival time. Link: Papers Past

5 April 1912

  • The Northern Advocate reports on the "romance of two girls" (London, United Kingdom). The report headline reads "one poses as a man - the other as the wife". The couple come before the courts for disorderly conduct. "Why couldn't they have left us alone? We were so happy together weren't we, darling?" said Adelaide Dallamore, "Yes love, but they shall never, never part us!" replied her partner. Link: Papers Past

1 May 1912

23 June 1912

  • Computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing is born (London, United Kingdom)

5 November 1912

  • Media reported on the death of Thomas Parkes (Dunedin). Parkes had just given birth and was found unconsciousness in their room with the baby nearby. The newspaper headline read "In male attire, sad case at Dunedin.". Links: Papers Past (1), Papers Past (2)

4 December 1912

  • James Townsley (a.k.a. Evelyn Hartwood) is jailed for 5 years (Sydney, Australia). Referred to as the "king of burglers" in South Australia, Townsley is also known for his skill at female impersonation. He is jailed for escaping custody in Adelaide. Link: Papers Past

17 December 1913

7 January 1914

  • Rupert Brooke departs for Tahiti onboard RMS Tahiti (Wellington). Brooke is in Wellington 5-7 January 1914. Links: Wikipedia, Papers Past

October 1914

  • Dr Hjelmar von Dannevill is accused of being a German spy (Wellington). Link: The Spin Off

20 January 1915

  • The Evening Post reports Lindsay Campbell pleads guilty to unlawfully wearing female clothing in a public place (Adelaide, Australia). Link: Papers Past

6 February 1915

  • Albert Edward McGurk is sentenced to 7-years imprisonment for committing an unnatural offence (sodomy) (Auckland). John Leslie Lander (24) testified against him. McGurk (34) would later testify against Lander - seeing him also convicted of an unnatural offence and sentenced to life imprisonment. McGurk was released from prison on 24 June 1920. He would later marry. Link: Papers Past

18 April 1915

  • The Taranaki Daily News reports on the court case of Ellehan Eppheam (a.k.a Miss de Vien) who has posed as a woman for 15 years (London, United Kingdom). The report documents a court appearance where the chief constable believes Eppheam has symptoms of insanity. Link: Papers Past

17 May 1915

  • Music teacher John Leslie Lander pleads guilty to committing an unnatural offence (Auckland). Lander was sentenced to life imprisonment, plus 10-years hard labour on a charge of indecent assault. He was imprisoned in New Plymouth Prison. Lander had earlier been the primary witness in the trial of bootmaker and vocalist Alexander Edward McGurk (34). He hadn't himself been charged until the NZ Truth began reporting on the incident. McGurk would later "peach" (inform) on Lander. Gordon James Cunninghame (18) would also testify. Lander was described by the NZ Truth as a dainty-looking "chappie" and the willing victim of the offence. Justice Chapman observed that "the prisoner was not a safe man to be at large in a free community." Lander would later die in jail. Links: Papers Past (1), Papers Past (2), Papers Past (3)

31 July 1915

  • Artist Theo Schoon is born (Java, Indonesia). Schoon was a notable figure in New Zealand art in the mid 20th century. He refused to separate art and craft and created in a range of media. He was interested in the integration of Maori and European art to produce a local modernism. Link: Te Ara

2 November 1915

  • Composer Douglas Lilburn is born (Whanganui). Link: Te Ara

13 December 1915

1 September 1916

  • A Bill is introduced to allow females to wear male clothing and take a male first name (Melbourne, Australia). The Colonist newspaper reports the move as "freak legislation in Victoria". Link: Papers Past

27 October 1916

  • The Ohinemuri Gazette reports on the court appearance of Frederick Wright (a.k.a Kathleen Woodhouse) (London, United Kingdom). Wright is charged with "being an idle and disorderly person in female attire". Wright tells police that he wished he had been a woman. Link: Papers Past

30 January 1917

  • Writer W. Somerset Maugham and his lover Gerald Haxton briefly visit Wellington en route to Tahiti (Wellington). Links: Wikipedia,

26 May 1917

17 July 1917

  • Dr Hjelmar von Dannevill is released from Matiu Somes Island after suffering a severe nervous breakdown (Wellington region). Links: Papers Past, The Spin Off

4 August 1917

  • The NZ Truth reports on homosexuality in Germany (Berlin, Germany). The newspaper reports that 30,000 people with homo-sexual inclinations reside in Berlin, and that 90% of the males in the city have at one time or another, been afflicted with the "sexual disease". Link: Papers Past

13 December 1917

  • Morals campaigner Keith Hay is born (Hastings). Hay was a founding member of the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, a group that was behind the large anti homosexual law reform petition. Link: Te Ara


  • Report on Prisons 1917/18 is tabled in Parliament (New Zealand). The report notes (p.9) that "during the past year your directions regarding the more complete separation of the various classes of prisoners have been carried out as far as the structural arrangement of our building permitted. Our first step was to segregate the sexual perverts. This was accomplished by setting apart the New Plymouth Prison almost entirely for this class of offenders, and drafting thereto all the worst cases from other prisons." The report goes on (p.17) to state that the prison has been "set apart for sexual perverts sentenced under sections 153 and 154 of the Crimes Act, 1908, the first draft of prisoners from Auckland arrived in February, 1917, and other drafts followed from other prisons. The prisoners are employed in the quarry and are strictly under observation, and in my opinion the quarry is the most suitable place both for safe custody and observational purposes. I find this class of prisoners very mixed in temperament; some are of the vicious type, and others are weaklings, but the majority are nervous and excitable.". Links: Report on Prisons (1), (2)

28 June 1918

2 August 1918

  • The Colonist reports on the Noel Pemberton Billing libel case in the United Kingdom (New Zealand). Billing had implied that the actress Maud Allan was a lesbian associate of German sympathisers. The news report also mentions the Berlin Black Book. It's claimed that the Germans are blackmailing 47,000 highly placed "British perverts". The alleged aim is to exterminate the "manhood of Britain" by luring men into homosexual acts. Links: Papers Past, Wikipedia


  • The Institut fur Sexualwissenschaft (Institute of Sexology) opens (Berlin, Germany). The Institute is an early private sexology research institute headed by Magnus Hirschfeld. Link: Wikipedia

16 August 1919

  • A youth is arrested in female attire (Auckland). The Evening Post reports that Norman (last name not published) had been arrested in well-made female attire. The probation officer told the court that the youth who went by the name Ada Reeve "exercised a disturbing influence over other inmates in the probation home". Link: Papers Past

23 October 1919

  • The Thames Star reports on a play about Dr. James Miranda Steuart Barry (Thames). Barry was a military surgeon in the British Army who lived their adult life as a man. Links: Papers Past, Wikipedia