Your best friend’s ex-girlfriend from uni might be claiming to be a witch these days, but Rosaleen Norton ran so that she could walk. In the mid-1900s, Rosaleen Norton was practicing the craft, which was still illegal in New South Wales until 1971. Dropping on streaming services tomorrow, The Witch of Kings Cross shares the narrative of Norton’s life, who created her own variety of neopagan witchcraft, causing quite the ruckus in the uptight atmosphere of 1950s society.
Norton faced allegations across the 1950s in Sydney, from conducting satanic rituals to distributing obscene art. Writer and director Sonia Bible poses the question of whether the scandals “masked her genius” in the film. Those scandals ranged from her affair with high society figure and English classical composer Sir Eugene Goossens to her practicing of trances and sex magic and in her later life, to her leadership of a coven of witches based in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Tourists used to seek out Norton, travelling simply to search for her and members of her coven.
While there have been tellings of her story floating around here and there, this revision tells Norton’s story “in her own words”, with the protagonist played by actress Kate Elizabeth Laxton. Never-before-seen artworks, diaries and scrapbooks are shared throughout the film, authenticating its place as a meaningful and endorsed recount of her life.
While it’s tempting to bury ourselves in the flurry of international content that abounds, The Witch of Kings Cross is not to be missed. It goes to the point that we do have our own stories to tell in Australia, despite the lure of Netflix’s acclaimed Regency drama Bridgerton or nauseating American serial killer documentary The Night Stalker. You can watch the new trailer for The Witch of Kings Cross below, and check it out from the 9th of February.