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The 1925 Murder at Government House Ballroom
Almost 100 years after the event, the murder that took place at Government House Ballroom in the early hours of 27 August 1925 continues to intrigue and fascinate. This week Damien Hassan, Senior Archivist at the State Records Office of WA, delves into the State archives collection to talk about the case.
The case revolves around the murder of Cyril Gidley (25) by his ex fiancé Audrey Jacob (20) during a St John of God Hospital Ball at Government House. Gidley was shot by Jacob in the chest at close range with a revolver. Witnesses reported that after the shooting, Jacob then stated “I have got you now”. Jacob was led away by police, charged with murder and subsequently appeared in the Supreme Court as the defendant. The case caused a media sensation. Although the trial was anticipated by many to be an open and shut matter, Jacob’s lawyer Arthur Haynes proved formidable and the jury found Jacob not guilty. Audrey Jacob left Court a free woman.
Programme from the Government House Ball and the spent cartridge used in the murder of Cyril Gidley (SROWA), from: https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/index.php/rex-versus-audrey-c-jacob
The State Records Office holds the key records which document the circumstances of the murder and what took place during the trial. Some accounts of the case have relied solely on newspaper articles but a fuller reading of the official records is necessary to help understand the events leading up to the murder. Police, Court and Crown Law files held at the State Records Office form the main government records relating to the case.
Portrait photograph believed to be of Audrey Jacob (SLWA), from https://encore.slwa.wa.gov.au/iii/encore/record/C__Rb2572229
Photograph of Surrey Chambers, St Georges Terrace, where Audrey Jacob resided at the time of the murder (SLWA), from: https://encore.slwa.wa.gov.au/iii/encore/record/C__Rb5969014
Letter written by Cyril Gidley stating threats made against his life by Audrey Jacob (SROWA), from: https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/index.php/rex-versus-audrey-c-jacob
The case remains subject to ongoing investigation by historians and researchers with new insights using the official records revealing a very different understanding of this sensational criminal trial.