Breaking the Bank: An extraordinary colonial robbery by Carol Baxter

By Carol Baxter

It used to be the most important financial institution theft in Australian historical past. On Sunday 14 September 1828, thieves tunnelled via a sewage drain into the vault of Sydney's financial institution of Australia and stole 14 000 in notes and money - the identical of $20 million in brand new forex. This audacious workforce of convicts not just defied the weekly exhortation 'thou shalt no longer steal!', they distinctive the financial institution owned via the colony's self-anointed the Aristocracy.

Delighted at this affront to their betters, Sydney's mostly felony and ex-criminal inhabitants did all they can to undermine the gurus' makes an attempt to seize the robbers and retrieve the spoils. whereas the determined financial institution administrators provided more and more huge rewards and the govt. officials forged longing appears to be like on the gallows, the robbers endured to elude detection. Then sooner or later .

With a wealthy solid of characters who refused to abase themselves to the institution, this meticulously researched and fast paced historical past tells the tale of the bold financial institution of Australia theft and of the scheming robbers, grasping receivers and unlucky suspects whose lives have been irrevocably replaced through this outrageous crime.

On An impossible to resist Temptation

'. a piece that captures the reader. . . a superb instance of ways an excellent tale can light up the past.' - affiliate Professor Gregory Melleuish, Australian Literary Review

'. [told] with an excellent eye for the complicated motivations, either political and private, of characters [Baxter] paints a shiny photograph of Jane New's world.' - Dr Kirsten McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald

'. [a] vibrant social history.' Canberra Times

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Its affluent population—Anglo-Irish gentry and successful Roman Catholics—also enjoyed the ‘insipid vanities and idle dissipations’ of Dublin’s busy social calendar which had fostered a strong commercial sector producing necessities and luxuries including the footwear to garb its liveried workers and adorn its promenading beaus and belles. But, lurking behind the splendour of the townhouses and colonnaded public buildings, the merriment of the balls and soirees, was a world of squalor and misery inhabited by the remainder of the largely Roman Catholic population.

A flotilla of small boats mobbed the ship, bursting with greetings, demanding news from home and offering food and refreshments. As the Mariner rounded Bennelong Point, those on deck caught their first glimpse of the bustling harbour port of Sydney. For many of the transportees, their last memory of freedom had been of a London painted in the sombre hues of winter: leaden skies and bare branches, sooty buildings and gloomy alleyways, coldness, poverty and despair. Their first view of Sydney was startling in its contrast.

Tucked away on his upper right arm was a little cocked anchor—perhaps a poignant reflection of his hope for the future or his determination to hold fast to his own identity. 4 Although details of physical appearance were of particular interest to the authorities, the most important information collected upon a convict’s arrival was occupation. Some convicts innocently or derisively attempted to tell the truth: ‘pickpocket’, ‘burglar’, ‘highway-robber’. The clerks had heard it all before, most old lags themselves.

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