Murder. Mayhem. Misdeeds.
In the nineteenth century, Brunswick was a satellite suburb of Melbourne. While the big city boomed, Brunswick was a place of “bricks and pottery, mud and poverty” with the unruliness of a frontier town.
This collection of contemporary newspaper stories provides a vivid picture of the seamy side of life in 1800s Brunswick. It includes famous outrages such as the trial and execution of ‘baby farmer’ Frances Knorr; Mary Ryckman attacking her neighbour with dynamite; and the outbreak of Irish sectarian violence in Sydney Road. It also captures lesser-known incidents that, together, portray a much harder time: street larrikins, pub brawls, industrial deaths, poisoning both accidental and deliberate.
Grungewick provides an unusual window into Australian life in the 1800s and shows that, even when times are toughest, the dignity and resilience of everyday people can shine through.