Edith Mulvena lies in an unmarked grave at East Lismore cemetery.
Edith Mulvena lies in an unmarked grave at East Lismore cemetery. Samantha Elley

Young mum shot four times by her husband

SHE was a very young mum and wife, with her entire life ahead of her, but one horrible night in Lismore changed all that.

Edith Mulvena (nee Eardman), 17, had only been married for four months in 1914 and had an eight month old baby girl, Gladys, when she and her husband had an altercation.


George Edward Mulvena, 20, who had been labouring at The Channon had visited his wife at a Zadoc Street premises where she was staying with her mother, on September 26 at around 11pm.

Edith's mother, Mrs Dowe was in the kitchen when she heard raised voices from the front room followed by a sharp crack.

According to a report in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner the sound was immediately followed by the terrified cries of her daughter.

"Mrs Dowe rushed into the room and..was horrified to see Mulvena holding a smoking revolver in his hand," the local paper reported.

"She at once seized hold of her daughter and rushed her towards the back door, but as she did so...Mulvena levelled the revolver and fired three more shots in quick succession."

One of the bullets struck the young wife through the heart.

Police arrived on the scene to find her in the backyard of the property 'in the throes of death'.

As they carried her into the house Mrs Mulvena passed away.

"Medical examinations of the body revealed the fact that four shots had found their mark," the paper reported.

Mr Mulvena had disappeared but police went looking for him in the adjacent properties.

He was found after having tried to shoot himself in the head.

The bullet was embedded in the bone of the man's forehead but hadn't penetrated through and he eventually recovered.

In December of 1914 in the Supreme Court before Mr Justice Street, Mr Mulvena was charged with his wife's murder.

The defence put forward a plea of not guilty and argued drunkenness at the time of the act and insanity.

The jury found Mr Mulvena guilty and he was sentenced to death.

The following year in January his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. 

He eventually died in 1982 in Seven Hills in Sydney, having married two more times and after serving nearly two years in the armed forces during World War Two.

Edith lies in East Lismore cemetery in an unmarked grave.


  • Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette, Tuesday 29 Sept 1914
  • Queanbeyan Age, Tuesday, September 29, 1914
  • Clarence and Richmond Examiner Tuesday, September 29, 1914.
  • The Sydney Morning Herald, Friday, October 9, 1914
  • The Capricornian, Saturday, December 12, 1914
  • The Northern Star, Wednesday, January 20, 1915
  • National Archives
  • Mulvena family descendants

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