Australian Crimes
The Aussie Criminal Record
True Australian crime stories
from newspaper reports
and historic crime records.
Thursday 18th August 1821:
Henry Stokes: Two-Up King
-At noon on a cold wintry day in Melbourne, a tall, hulking figure stood in a doorway waiting for a certain person to emerge from a popular hotel in Little Collins Strret. Through the bustling lunch-hour crowd he saw the man he wanted. Shoppers fled in all directions as Little Collins Street erupted in a hail of gunfire. When the smoke cleared it was Long Harry Slater himself who lay in a pool of blood, however: he had waited patiently enough for his victim, Henry Stokes, but hadn't counted on such efficient opposition. more »

Friday 24th September 1915:
Melbourne's Master Criminal
Joseph Leslie Theodore (Squizzy) Taylor was born on 29th June 1888, the second youngest of five children. In a short space of time he would rise from his humble but respectable beginnings to become the overlord of the Melbourne underworld.
In his late youth 'Squizzy' rattled up a string of minor convictions -- assault, larceny, picking pockets and even blackmail. more »
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Tuesday 29th May 1951:
The Notorious Sydney Gunman
-Ziegfield's Restaurant in King Street Sydney was no place for anyone who wanted to steer clear of trouble. Seated at a table there was ex-boxer John (Bobby) Lee, well known in Sydney's underworld. Rumour had it that he was gunning for Chow Haynes --and any man after Chow was either very brave or very stupid. Lee had already made one unsuccessful attempt and had killed the wrong man: Chow's nephew. more »

Friday 28th October 1927:
Suspicious Death Of Squizzy Taylor
-Joseph 'Squizzy' Taylor, aged 43, one of Australia's most notorious criminals, was gunned down in a house in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton yesterday evening. A gun battle occurred between Taylor and another known criminal, 'Snowy' Cutmore, who was also killed. Police alledging each shot the other over a long standing fued. more »
Wednesday 19th August 1925:
Sydney's Cocaine King
    -In the 1920s Sydney found itself the centre of a thriving trade in illicit drugs, the most prevalent being cocaine. There were fast profits to be made, with very little risk of prosecution. Harry Newman was probably the first to recognise the potential of the cocaine trade. He turned drug running into a highly organised, large-scale business - but in the end died penniless. more »
Tuesday 23rd November 1948:
The Razor Gangs
-Around midnight George Wallace drew his final breath. He lay on the floor of a Perth nightclub with several knife wounds. The man who had pioneered the use of the razor in Sydney's underworld had died as violently as he had lived. more »

Thursday 14th March 1935:
Wild Australian in San Francisco
-James Stuart led a fairly normal life in Australia in the early 1800s. He had been transported for forgery, then in 1849, after receiving his ticket-of-leave, he went to try his luck in San Francisco, where the gold strikes were attracting hundreds of would-be millionaires.
    But mining was of no interest to Stuart - he was just after the easy pickings offered by crime. He dabbled in real estate swindling, gambling and petty theft, but found that none of these paid well. Finally he formed a gang of former convicts which successfully pulled off full-scale robberies - until the vigilante squads caught up with them. more »
Friday 23rd August 1974:
The Violent World Of Stewart John Regan
-They used to call him 'The Magician'. It was an apt title: people closely associated with Stewart John Regan had an unfortunate habit of disappearing, permanently, without trace.
  Until his death in 1974 Regan was one of the leaders of the Sydney underworld. He was involved in prostitution rackets, shady real estate dealings, illegal gambling and various murders. He engendered fear in all those who knew him, and for good reason.
    Regan's methods were ruthless; anyone who stood in his way was eliminated. He was strong and fit, and frequently used violence as a means of clawing his way to the top. Few could question his claim to rule the Kings Cross area.
    It was at 'the Cross' that Regan started his climb, working as a pimp for a hooker in 1962 at the age of seventeen. more »
Tuesday 7th December 1897:
Police Shoot Native Gangster
    -The notorious native gangster Pigeon has been shot by WA police after three years on the run. As the leader of a 20 strong gang of outlaws, Pigeon has master-minded a series of violent felonies since 1894.
    Efforts to curb his early life of crime by making him a police assistant failed, and in 1894 he murdered a constable named Richardson. With the help of a friend and blacktracker named Captain he freed a group of 15 native killers and thieves who were being held at the police outpost at Lillamaloora near the Lennard River.
    The gang escaped into the bush where, until recently, they continued their vicious business undetected. One of their worst deeds was the killing of stockmen Burke and Gibbs who were on their way to an outback station with large supplies of food and ammunition.
    Police believe Pigeon and his gang were responsible for the murder of five white men, a half-caste and two Aborigines.
Tuesday 4th May 1847:
Melbourne Exiles And Push Gangs
    -Gangs have long been part of city life. On some occasions their activities become a real threat to society at large and this was especially the case from the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century.
    In 1847 the Thomas Arbuthnot arrived carrying 288 young delinquents, exiled from Britain as part of an experiment. All convicted of petty crimes, they were shipped on condition they would never return to Britain.
    As most had already spent eighteen months in Britain's Pentonville prison, they were nicknamed the 'Pentonvilles'. Upon arrival in Australia most continued their former occupations of picking pockets, petty burglary and gambling.
    Within days of their landing the crime rate in Melbourne soared dramatically.
  By the early 1900s the exiles and push gangs were a real menace. On their good days they were content to play practical jokes on the police and Chinese members of the public, but sometimes they went too far and stooped to cowardly acts of violence. Twenty to thirty youths would punch and kick a victim until he lay unconscious on the ground.
  Gangwars between the pushes were not uncommon and these were often extremely bloody affairs. Kensington racecourse, a school at Waterloo and harbourside pleasure spots all saw a great deal of blood spilled.
  When their violence became unbearable the New South Wales authorities took the unprecedented step of arming its police officers. World War 1 came and many of those remaining joined the armed forces. Ironically, some actually joined the poklice force when they returned home, and used their knowledge to rid Sydney's streets of its larrikin gangs.
Tuesday 17th November 1992:
Neddy Smith Tells Of Corrupt Cops
-The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday heard startling allegations of police corruption including claims that officers were directly involved in staging armed robberies. Commissioner Ian Temby has been told the commission will hear evidence in support of the claims which were made by Arthur 'Neddy' Smith, a convicted murderer and rapist currently serving a prison sentence. more »
Thursday 30th May 1968:
Bomb Kills Vice King
-The 35-year-old boss of a $1 million a year vice operation was murdered when his car exploded on Tuesday morning. A stick of gelignite believed to be stuck under the car blew Mr Joe Borg of Bondi and his car to pieces at around 11.00am.
Saturday 29th December 1877:
Larrikins Take Over Melbourne
-A new word has been added to Australian slang to describe the hoodlums who roam the streets of Melbourne. 'Larrikin' is now heard in reference to the louts who have nothing better to do than turn to a life of petty crime. A marked difference of the larrikin being his better fed & better clother appearance with many choosing to frequent the billard rooms and unlike the louts, they take comfort in other aristocratic neccessities such as a bath.
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Thursday 25th April 1935:
The Arm In The Shark Case
-On Anzac Day in 1935, eight days after it had been captured, a 4.3 metre tiger shark in the Coogee Aquarium began a series of violent writhings. The shark disgorged a foul mess from its stomach that turned the heads of onlookers -- floating to the surface came a human arm, well-preserved and with a length of rope attached to the wrist. more »
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Monday 3rd July 1893:
Gangs Terrorise Sydney
-Organised gangs of ruffians are roaming the streets terrorising Sydney-siders by day and night. Larrikinism is rampant in the city and many residents say they now fear for their lives. more »
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