After a year as a maidservant, Evans began living as male.
Edward de Lacy Evens soon married Mary Delahunty who had come on the same ship. Delahunty left him after a few years, and when she remarried in 1862 she explained that it was not bigamy in that her first husband had been a woman.
Evans also remarried in 1862 to a young Irishwoman, Sarah Moore. They stayed together until her death of pulmonary tuberculosis in 1867.
The next year, Evans married again, to a 25-year-old dressmaker assistant, Julia Marquand. Evans worked as a carter, miner, blacksmith and ploughman. In 1877 they had a daughter, following visits to Julia by her sister’s husband.
In 1879 Evans had a breakdown and in Kew Lunatic Asylum (later the Willsmere Hospital) was discovered to have a female body. His wife told the press that she was unaware that he was not a man, but he had never undressed in front of her. Julia stayed in the same town as a single mother. Her paternity suite against her brother-in-law failed. She did not remarry and lived to the age of 71.
Evans made a meagre living as a ‘man-woman’ exhibit in side shows for a few months, and then appealed for readmission to the asylum. He was taken as an inmate at the Immigrants Home in Melbourne but was compelled to dress as a woman. He lived as Mrs de Lacy Evans in the home for 21 years, refusing to speak of his former life.
He died of influenza at the age of 61.
- Lucy Chesser. “ ‘A Woman Who Married Three Wives’: Management of Disruptive Knowledge in the 1879 Australian Case of Edward De Lacy Evans” Journal of Women's History, Vol. 9, 1998.
- Mimi Colligan. “The Mysterious Edward/ Ellen De Lacy Evans: The Picaresque in Real Life”. The La Trobe Journal. No 69 Autumn 2002. http://calisto.slv.vic.gov.au/latrobejournal/issue/latrobe-69/t1-g-t9.html.
- “Edward De Lacy Evans”. Melbourne Gay & Lesbian History series. http://melbqueerhistory.tripod.com/evans.html