Through the storm

Artist and occultist Rosaleen Norton was born a hundred years ago today in Dunedin, New Zealand, with a thunderstorm raging across the city and war rampaging throughout the world – and frankly things never really got a lot calmer for ol’ Roie. After she adopted my hometown of Sydney as her own she became a constant magnet for controversy, the “Witch of Kings Cross”. As previously reported, there is a documentary of that name about Norton in the works and it seems to be shaping up well – see here for progress. The interviews look especially promising, and I recognise a few old Sydney faces among the talking heads. For all her eccentricity and a tendency to play up to her infamy, what emerges when you delve deeper into Rosaleen Norton’s life is a genuinely charismatic and essentially genial character with an earnest interest in paths less travelled, left-hand and otherwise. As role models go, you could do a lot worse.

To celebrate Norton’s centenary the New Zealand city of Wellington is hosting a “Night of the Witch” including a talk by Cynthia Crosse who, I was very excited to learn, is writing a biography of another great scarlet sheila, Leila Waddell.

Further reading
Waking the witch
The Witch of Kings Cross
Windows to the Sacred
Dark Spirits
Pan’s People



  1. Be interested to hear how she migrated from N.Z. to Australia. Was there ever a scene like she found in Kings Cross in N.Z. as well?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: