Great Australian Rascals, Rogues and Ratbags: Australia’s most colourful criminal characters by Jim Haynes


The bold, the bad, and the slightly mad…

Criminality, some say, is part of Australia’s national identity, and in Great Australian Rascals, Rogues and Ratbags Jim Haynes profiles fifteen larger-than-life Aussie rogues – some of our greatest ne’er-do-wells from colonial times to the modern era. These stories uncover the truth and expose the myths about characters ranging from the most despicable examples of humanity, to those whose courage has to be admired and whose so-called ‘crimes’ were unjustly punished.

This fascinating collection features felons who have sprung from Australia’s underbelly since 1788, such as the infamous Kate Leigh of the razor gangs; the convict Mary Bryant, who in 1791 escaped from the Sydney penal settlement and somehow made it back to England; James Hardy Vaux, who was sent to Australia no less than three times; Henry James O’Farrell, the madman who attempted to murder Prince Alfred in Sydney in 1868; and John Leak, who was repeatedly charged with insolence, disobedience and being absent without leave in World War I – and awarded the Victoria Cross.

Told with Jim’s inimitable combination of history and humour, Great Australian Rascals, Rogues and Ratbags is packed with murders, mystery and miscreants: true stories of true criminals from Australia’s past.