Marianne Sabben was Mayoress of the City of Adelaide (married to the Mayor) from 1858-1859.

Marianne Sabben née Ballard was born in Portsea, Southampton, England about 1828. Her father, Peter, was a lawyer. She was Lady Mayoress of Adelaide from 1858-1859.

On 21 March 1848, Marianne married solicitor William Thompson Sabben in the Parish of St. Dunstan, London. Their daughter Marianne Augusta was born in 1857. By this time Marianne and William had immigrated to South Australia and were living in Adelaide. 

By the time their son Charles Vivian was born in 1863, the family were living in Kapunda. Another son, Frederick, was born in 1864, but died in 1866 at the age of 20 months.

In March 1881, Marianne applied for dissolution of her marriage on the grounds of adultery and cruelty. William did not defend the charges. His Honor, the Chief Justice Charles Mann QC dismissed the charge of adultery but accepted that the charge of cruelty was proven.

Marianne died on 29 December 1883 of ‘serous apoplexy’, possibly a cerebral haemorrhage, and was buried at Kapunda. William died in 1890 and was buried at Strathalbyn.

By Cheryl Williss, HerStory Project

The HerStory project came about to recognise and celebrate the lives and the achievements of Women’s work in South Australia and was initiated in 2015 on the 175th anniversary of the City of Adelaide, by Genevieve Theseira-Haese, Lady Mayoress of Adelaide. The stories collected offer a unique perspective of Adelaide and South Australia that form a different history to what is often heard. This community built initiative is supported by the City of Adelaide and the History Trust of South Australia.

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