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 background. 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 similar of $20 million in trendy foreign money. This audacious staff of convicts not just defied the weekly exhortation 'thou shalt now not steal!', they exact the financial institution owned via the colony's self-anointed the Aristocracy.

Delighted at this affront to their betters, Sydney's principally felony and ex-criminal inhabitants did all they can to undermine the specialists' 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 solid longing seems on the gallows, the robbers persevered to elude detection. Then in the future .

With a wealthy solid of characters who refused to abase themselves to the institution, this meticulously researched and fast moving heritage 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 via this outrageous crime.

On An impossible to resist Temptation

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

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

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

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The magistrate made no allowance for justification, if any was offered. He sentenced the runaway to another year’s servitude among the 1200 or so unreformed and largely unrepentant prisoners at Newcastle. Blackstone was returned to Newcastle’s blacksmiths’ workshop, only to face further problems soon afterwards when property reportedly stolen from the hospital stores was found in his possession. He incurred the wrath of ‘King Lash’, as one visitor to Newcastle’s penal settlement dubbed the Commandant.

Some thrived on a diet of healthy food, hard but rewarding work and kindness, ultimately becoming stalwarts of the colonial community. QX5 5/3/08 10:13 AM Page 27 A new world against a life of subservience and forced labour. Some were treated like slaves. Skilled tradesmen endured a different fate. Commandeered by the government they faced assignment to town gangs or, in Blackstone’s case, to the lumber yard. Blackstone and the other ‘mechanics’—as tradesmen were called—were led a short distance south along George Street to this large walled enclosure which lay immediately south-east of the Bridge Street intersection.

For the men, the punishment was generally the lash. The cat-o’-ninetails, with its nine thongs of knotted twine, whipped the men into submission and deterred them from their wicked ways, or so Governor Macquarie and many of the penal settlement commandants believed. Colonel James Morisset, who assumed command during Blackstone’s term of servitude there, was among the vanguard. Morisset was the embodiment of a Jekyll and Hyde conflict. A warinflicted injury had left one side of his face grossly damaged: a bulging, staring eye, a smashed cheekbone and jaw that had healed like a ‘large yellow over-ripe melon’, and a mouth that twisted upwards and whistled when he spoke.

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