Rosaleen Norton/ The Witch of Kings Cross


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Rosaleen Norton (1917-1979) was an Australian Artist, Trance occultist and self-styled witch. Known as The Black Witch of Kings Cross.Expelled from the Church of England Girls' School, Chatswood at the age of 14 for producing 'depraved' drawings of vampires, ghouls and werewolves thought likely to corrupt the other girls.For most of her live she lived, worked and lead a witches coven in Sydney's red light district. She was a reviled media figure in the fifties and sixties in puritanical Australia. At an exhibition of her artwork in 1949 some pieces of her work deemed obscene and unsuitable for the general public where confiscated by the authorities but returned to her after she explained her occult imagery in court. The book 'The Art Of Rosaleen Norton' published in 1952 was censored and the publisher charged with publishing obscene images. U.S.A custom officials burned the books. Australian authorities and media kept on the harassment and falsely accused her of holding black masses.In 1956 she was charged with committing unnatural sexual acts, unwittingly playing a part in the downfall of conductor Sir Eugene Goossens who was a member of her occult group. Her work was influenced by British vorticism, Much of her imagery was derived from a type of psychic exploration based on self hypnosis and from what in occult circles has been described as 'wanderings on the astral planes'. Many of her paintings were based on trance=encounters with archetypal beings whom Norton believed had their own independent existence.
She died of cancer in Darlinghurst hospice in December 1979. The monograph of her work was re published in 1982 and a couple of biographies written.

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