Black and White and Lola Montez

28 Apr 2018 1221 Sturt St, Ballarat West VIC 3350, Australia

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Last blog post I talked a little about the different occupations of women on the goldfields. There’s one woman who often receives a disproportionate amount of attention from historians: Lola Montez.

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Lola was born Eliza Rosanna Gilbert in 1851. She eloped at 16, married a guy who she later parted ways from. When returning to the stage as a dancer in England she was booed off, even though having performed well, because she was a divorcee of Lieutenant Thomas James. Unwilling to live a boring life of social shame, she picked up her skirts and went elsewhere.

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

She went to France for a bit. She met and had an affair with the composer Franz Liszt. She was also rumoured to have a dalliance with Alexandre Dumas, author of the Three Musketeers. Later she went to Bavaria and became a mistress of Ludwig I. He made her Countess of Landsfeld. The King was overthrown later on, and their relationship played a part in his fall from grace.

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Fast forward a few years and she attended Ballarat very briefly where she performed her famous spider dance. She would pretend there was a spider in her skirts which she was trying to find and kill, and when raising her skirts the audience would discover she had no underclothes. On her way into Ballarat, she gambled with some men and won a small whip. When she arrived in Ballarat she had several important figures to dine with her, during which Henry Seekamp (partner of Clara Du Val) convinced her to hand over 10 pounds for something. The next day, their was an anonymous letter published in his newspaper, claiming she had no claim on the respect of the people of Ballarat and that her notoriety was of the unenviable kind. She then went around town telling people if she met Henry, she would whip him. She waiting in the United States hotel for him that evening and he actually showed up with his own whip. They had at each other for a little while until Henry lost his cool and the fight turned into fists. Watching diggers pulled Seekamp off her, even though she was attacking back. Later that week she accused the owner of the theatre she was performing with of not giving enough profits to his wife. It rumoured that Mrs Crosby then gave Lola a thrashing so bad that she had to leave Ballarat in an enclosed carriage.


Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

I suspect Lola is focused on more than other female characters by historians because she fits easily into the narrative of a ‘damned whore’. Men have a clear place in her life and appear to be motivators in her narrative, which isn’t the case for many women on the goldfields. She still has a cult-like following, even now.

How gorgeous are my earrings and bracelets from Lovisa?

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Earrings and bangles: Lovisa
Top: ASOS
Belt: Myer
Shorts: Cotton On
Shoes: ASOS

Pics: Goldfields Girl
Location: Western Hotel, Ballarat




Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

Liana of @findingfemme wears black and white striped top and statement earrings in Ballarat

- L
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