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Breaking the Bank

An Extraordinary Colonial Robbery

Breaking the Bank by Carol Baxter
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It was the largest bank robbery in Australian history. On Sunday 14 September 1828, thieves tunnelled through a sewage drain into the vault of Sydney's Bank of Australia and stole £14 000 in notes and cash - the equivalent of $20 million in today's currency. This audacious group of convicts not only defied the weekly exhortation 'thou shalt not steal!', they targeted the bank owned by the colony's self-anointed nobility.

Delighted at this affront to their betters, Sydney's largely criminal and ex-criminal population did all they could to undermine the authorities' attempts to catch the robbers and retrieve the spoils. While the desperate bank directors offered increasingly large rewards and the government officers cast longing looks at the gallows, the robbers continued to elude detection. Then one day ...

With a rich cast of characters who refused to abase themselves to the establishment, this meticulously researched and fast-paced history tells the story of the daring Bank of Australia robbery and of the scheming robbers, greedy receivers and unfortunate suspects whose lives were irrevocably changed by this outrageous crime.

On An Irresistible Temptation:

'... a work that captures the reader. . . an excellent example of how a good story can illuminate the past.' - Associate Professor Gregory Melleuish, Australian Literary Review

'... [told] with a fine eye for the complex motivations, both political and personal, of characters… [Baxter] paints a vivid picture of Jane New's world.' - Dr Kirsten McKenzie, Sydney Morning Herald

'... [a] vivid social history.' — Canberra Times

Allen & Unwin; May 2008
35 pages; ISBN 9781741763683
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Title: Breaking the Bank
Author: Carol Baxter