Caroline Hodgson - Career As A Brothel Keeper

Career As A Brothel Keeper

The reason for Hodgson’s decision to turn to brothel keeping in 1874 is unknown, but Historian Leanne Robinson suggests women had relatively few options open to them as a means to survive the economic uncertainty of life alone in the colony. Domestic service was poorly paid, as were the few occupations open to women – such as dressmaking and teaching. Hodgson’s establishment of brothels in the Little Lon district, suggests she received financial backing from "friends in high places", a charge also made by Melbourne’s Truth newspaper during their long campaign against her. Justin McCarthy also suggests the elite sex industry offered an attractive financial and social independence for women.

Hodgson’s principal establishment, which was also her home, was located at 32-34 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, not far from Parliament House. The building was extravagantly furnished and catered to Victoria's commercial, political and judicial ruling class, acting much as a gentlemen's club.

Eventually, Madame Brussels was forced to close in 1907, following increased efforts by the government to curtail prostitution.

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