By Carol Baxter
It was once the biggest 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 modern foreign money. This audacious staff of convicts not just defied the weekly exhortation 'thou shalt now not steal!', they specified the financial institution owned by way of 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 experts' makes an attempt to trap 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 persisted to elude detection. Then sooner or later .
With a wealthy forged of characters who refused to abase themselves to the institution, this meticulously researched and fast moving 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 by way of this outrageous crime.
On An impossible to resist Temptation
'. a piece that captures the reader. . . a very good instance of the way an exceptional tale can remove darkness from the past.' - affiliate Professor Gregory Melleuish, Australian Literary Review
'. [told] with a great eye for the complicated motivations, either political and private, of characters [Baxter] paints a vibrant photograph of Jane New's world.' - Dr Kirsten McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald
'. [a] brilliant social history.' Canberra Times
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Additional resources for Breaking the Bank: An Extraordinary Colonial Robbery
Blackstone was particularly unfortunate. Wentworth decided that the charge against the unruly smith warranted punishment and sentenced him to transportation to the dreaded secondary penal settlement for a year. In October 1818 guards escorted Blackstone and a group of other prisoners to the colonial brig Lady Nelson bound for the Newcastle penal settlement at the mouth of the Hunter River, 75 miles north of Sydney. As Blackstone sailed out of Sydney Cove, along the channel towards the Heads, into the open ocean and veered north-north-east for the halfday journey, he heard tales of the settlement’s isolation.
The authorities, with their deficient understanding of human nature, planned to punish them with hard labour and intimidation, believing that this would also inspire habits of industry and reformation. Yet, unlike most of the other penal settlements, Port Macquarie failed to develop the desired reputation as a place of terror. QX5 3/3/08 6:58 PM Page 49 An arduous punishment to profit from their labour. They shrewdly realised that willing, wellnourished labourers would generate more profit than hungry intractable men, so they rewarded hard work with extra rations and instituted an easily manageable work regime.
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. An official later recounted the story of a clerk sidling up to him, scratching his head and saying: ‘When I ask what their trades are, all the answer I get from three-fourths of them is, “A thief, a thief”.
Breaking the Bank: An Extraordinary Colonial Robbery by Carol Baxter