Emma was appointed as sub-matron in June 1968. Her account of the first riot at the school on 9 July 1868, was recorded in full by Frederic CANE and is transcribed in full below.

I have been in the Institution about 3 weeks. I was present in the Muster Room when Mrs King was speaking to Sarah Jane Wildgust and Eliza OBrien I heard Mr Cane say to Mrs King that if she would allow the Girls to return to work he thought be answerable for the day or two they had to remain with him. This was on Friday July 3rd. I was not in the Muster Room the whole time but I heard Mrs King tell these Girls they were to go to school nd two others were called to do their work I dont know the cause why they were taken off their work but they on being told they were not to go back behave very improperly and they used very bad language They refused to go to school I heard Eliza OBrien say she would sooner be torn limb from limb than go into school. I heard her take an oath she would not enter the school After this Mrs King sent me for Mr Cane and said to him on entering into the room I can do nothing with these Girls it was then Mr Cane advised the Girls to do what they were told to do and reasoned with them but he had nothing to do but to obey orders. The Girls asked the cause of their ?? removed. Mrs King refused to tell them and I told them they had no right to ask Mrs King her reasons She said that unless they did go to report them she would have to lock them up. they said they did not care being locked up Mr Cane then said he thought if Mrs King would over look it this time and let them return to their work he would be answerable for their good conduct The remain [?] they were at work I never heard Mrs King speak harshly to the Girls I have never heard Mrs King use such words as "dirty little street walkers." I never heard Mrs King say they were the scum of Sydney streets I never heard Mrs King [?] or treat the Girls in a way that a woman or a [?] should not do. I have both seen and heard that the Girls were dissatisifed at something I endeavoured to ascertain the cause from them and urged them to tell me what their complaint was. they said they had lots of Complaints to make but they would only tell them to Mr Parkes. On Friday night 3 Inst I went into the Dormitory because I heard some of them threatening they would set fire to the place I heard Mrs King say Well Girls if you do you will be [?] [?] yourselves. They answered no fear we can break the windows and easily get out I know that Mrs King had one of the blinds taken down in order that the Constable might watch to see if there was no mischief done I never heard Sarah Wildgust say she was "in for blood tonight" nor any other Girl. One of the Girls kept possession of the lamp they threatened to smash it if any attempt was made to take it from them. Some of the Girls refused to go to bed and kept the lamp burning all night.
I was also present on Saturday night I saw that a fire was lighted in the grate I did not see Mrs King pull any Girl by the hair of her head. I heard some of the Girls say they would never be any better while Miss Ravenhill was in the building. Some said no no Miss Ravenhill has been very kind to us. I saw one of the Girls put some straw down the chimney of the lamp and run about the room with it lighted __but she did not threaten to burn the place down Miss Ravenhill told the Girls that she was [?] to find all she had done that they should have such an ill feeling towards her and she would be ????ing leave that night if it will do you any good and many voices cried no no stay with us. I did hear one of the Girls say "it was no use going in to prayers it would be only mocking God" I heard the Girls complain that they should all be punished because two or three Girls had misbehaved themselves I never heard any allusion in the Dormitories to a Black fellow or an apple man I have frequently heard miss Ravenhill called a "monkey Faced Bitch"
Both Miss Ravenhill and myself have had great trouble in getting the Girls to [?] at the proper time in the morning. I have heard Mrs King admonish the Girls in the Muster Room after I reported it I never heard Mrs King say That she supposed they had been used to walking the streets all night and sleeping all day. I have heard Mrs King say when rebuking the Girls Had you obeyed your parents you would not have been there I heard the cry "Bring out the bloody matrons" after this I was in the office with Mrs King Mrs Kelly and Inspector Harrison. Mr Harrison wished me to assist Mrs Kelly in looking after the Girls in school and the other Girls to keep order I was afraid to go without some protection and I asked Mrs Kingif I was to obey Mr Harrison's orders. she told Mr Harrison that she would place the matter in his hands and for them to do what he thought best until he considered it safe for her to go out Mrs King then told me to obey Mr Harrison's order and to act with Mrs Kelly. I have heard the Girls complain because they have not written to their Friends. I have heard the words "I will burn the bloody building down" I did hear it said that Mr Harrison was in charge of the Institution. The impression conveyed to my mind was that Mrs King had given up her authority for the time being to Inspector Harrison and that we were to act under him till order was restored. I heard one of the Girls on being taken to the Cell on Saturday say I am steeped to the back in blood you will not conquer me I visited the Cell while the Girls were confined I did not hear them threaten to take Mrs Kings life I heard Inspector Harrison warn Mrs King and Miss Ravenhill not to go out because he did not think it safe.
Miss Kelly and myself came to Mrs King and asked her if we were to obey Mr Harrison's orders as it was no portion of Mrs Kelly's duty to look after the Girls and I did not think I was doing right in receiving orders from Mr Harrison. it was then that Mrs King told me to obey Mr Harrison for the time being.1

Emma signed her statement.

Updated March 2015

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