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The Opera House tragedy

Join this Vicfix campaign to refine reports of shots being fired in a Melbourne theatre

Vicfix is improving the searchability of digitised newspaper articles and making the hidden details of Victoria's rich history available for everyone.

About the Opera House tragedy

In July 1880, aggrieved husband John James MacGregor Greer fired at his wife and her lover, Frenchman MA Louis Soudry, while seated in the circle of the Melbourne Opera House. 'Women and men hid themselves between the seats, men bolted from the circle in a mad rush, leaving their ladies and charges behind them, while women and children screamed, and calls of "murder" resounded through the theatre.'

The episode transfixed staid Victorian society as a flurry of gory details, moralising editorials and daily updates ensued. Newspapers described the episode as 'the old-time story of a wife's inconstancy, a lover's perfidy and a husband's jealousy', and shocking details emerged of the affair beginning while the three protagonists sailed to Melbourne on board the vessel Garonne. The adulterous couple survived and Greer lingered for a week before dying of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

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The Opera House tragedy

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