From Prisoners to Predators: True Crime Stories from Australia’s Past
A fascinating collection of Australian true crime stories and their historical background
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The criminal history of Australia is notable for how it has changed in nature in line with the rapid changes in Australian society, from convict colony to modern industrialised nation. From prisoner hangings in Sydney Cove to the tragic mass shootings in Port Arthur, convict uprisings in Toongabbie to the Hilton bombing and the Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney’s CBD, David Field has combined the history of many infamous, and some not so well-known, crimes with a discussion of the times in which they occurred.
The wide-ranging topics include the bush-ranging era, the notorious baby-farming epidemic, the influence of WWI on Australia, the 1920s razor gangs of Sydney and Melbourne, the post-War rat poison murders, notorious post-War killings, predators and serial killers, and recent terror offences.
This highly readable collection will appeal to readers with an interest in Australia’s criminal heritage and its underlying social history, from British penal colony to contemporary society.
• Real-life crime stories provide engaging insights into Australia’s social history
• Offers a unique treatment of the criminal trends in Australia
• Written by an author with extensive background working with the rules of criminal law and evidence
• Field, Crimes that Shaped the Law, 2015
Table of contents
- Ch 1. Terra Nullius — Crimes in the newly established penal colony
- Ch 2. ‘Such is life’ — The bushranger era
- Ch 3. Keeping it in the family — Domestic murders during the pre-Federation period
- Ch 4. Suffer little children — The ‘baby-farming’ epidemic
- Ch 5. Meanwhile, back on the homestead — The inadequacy of criminal investigation ‘out bush’ in the early years after Federation
- Ch 6. Australia goes to war — The influence of war, particularly WW1, on Australia
- Ch 7. Justice denied — Miscarriages of justice in the early years of the 20th Century
- Ch 8. The real ‘Underbelly’ — The 1920 razor gangs of Sydney and Melbourne
- Ch 9. Everyone loves a good murder mystery — Unresolved corpse discoveries from the pre and post-War years
- Ch 10. Ratting on one’s relatives — The post-War rat poison murders
- Ch 11. The death of innocence — Post-war horrors
- Ch 12. In the wrong place — Victims of crimes who were innocently in the way of someone else’s criminal agenda
- Ch 13. Seriously disturbed — Predators who stalked communities
- Ch 14. The beast of Belangalo Forest — Ivan Milat
- Ch 15. Death stalks public places — The Port Arthur Massacre and gun control
- Ch 16. The peril still lurking among us — Recent terror-related offences