The Mount Rennie Outrage 

Docudrama about the trial and its impact, of the Waterloo Push's rape of 16 year old servant, Mary Jane Hicks, on 9 Sep 1886. As with the other programmes in the series, the focus is on both the trial and it's impact on Australian society.


Lisa Matthews


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Cathcart Michael Cathcart ... Himself - Presenter
Melissa Kahraman ... Mary Jane Hicks
Ryan Anderson Ryan Anderson ... William Newman
Cate Wolfe ... Letter Writer 3
Jack Naylor Jack Naylor ... William Hill
Will Rogers Will Rogers ... William Boyce
Dylan Russell Dylan Russell ... Thomas Oscroft
Joshua Hine Joshua Hine ... George Hind (as Josh Hine)
Alan Chambers Alan Chambers ... George Duffy
Ben Bordeau ... Joseph Martin
Harry Borland Harry Borland ... George Keegan
Sam Howard ... Michael Donnellan
Aaron Jakubenko ... Hugh Miller
Kyahl Anderson Kyahl Anderson ... Mangan
Robert van Mackelenberg ... Judge Windeyer (as Robert Van Macklenburg)


It's 1886 and in Darlinghurst Courthouse nine young men glare down from the dock as an apprehensive but determined young woman is called to the witness box. This is 16-year-old orphan Mary Jane Hicks, and these 'larrikins' stand accused of serially raping and possibly torturing her in a crime that has obsessed Sydney since the story broke. Miss Hicks, a stranger to Sydney, was looking for work when a cab driver stopped and offered to take her to the registry office. The driver then took her to Waterloo where he tried to assault her. When she screamed, some youths - whom she believed to be her rescuers - came to the cab. This gang, members of a group known as the Waterloo Push, then led her to nearby bushland on Mount Rennie (now Moore Park) and repeatedly raped her. Presided over by Justice Windeyer, the trial attracts unprecedented press coverage. As it plays out, colonies all over Australia erupt into a whirl of passionate debate and fevered accusation. Mary Jane Hicks is either a ...

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Release Date:

5 April 2012 (Australia) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

December Films See more »
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The Mount Rennie Outrage
14 October 2018 | by a_baronSee all my reviews

Although it is probably best not to be called one, the Australian word larrikin has no real pejorative connotations today. That was not always the case. In 1886, a gang of larrikins know as the Waterloo Push committed an outrageous gang-rape on the sixteen year old Mary Jane Hicks. This documentary reconstructs the resulting trial that saw no fewer than eleven youths in the dock, nine of whom were convicted and sentenced to death. Eventually, only four were executed, but the situation in Sydney at that time was similar to that in India six years ago with the horrendous gang-rape of a young woman committed brazenly by a group of miscreants against whom these wretches pale in comparison.

Not mentioned here is the fact that one defendant faced a separate trial that resulted in a fourteen year sentence augmented with fifty lashes.

In the 1970s, a series of misnamed rape shield laws were instituted in many countries; this trial is one of many that demonstrate clearly they are not needed. The defence attempted to blacken the character of the victim by claiming she was not a virgin. Mary admitted she'd had "connection" with a man when she was fourteen; at that time, the age of consent in Australia was fourteen. The judge was unimpressed remarking in effect that even the most morally reprehensible of women was entitled to the protection of the law, which clearly Mary wasn't. Attacking the character of any witness in such a manner is always risky in a jury trial, especially when that witness is the victim, and when there is no real dispute about her victimhood.

"The Mount Rennie Outrage" is clearly a social document rather than a mere crime documentary; to the extent it is the latter, it succeeds.

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