by Carol Baxter

An extraordinary colonial robbery

Cover design: Lisa White
Cover image: A government jail gang, Sydney New South Wales,
1830, Augustus Earle. National Library of Australia


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 “though shalt not steal!’ they targeted the bank owned by the colony’s self-anointed nobility.

Delighted at this affront to their betters, Sydney 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-[aced 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.


Carol Baxter is a Fellow of the Society of Australian Genealogists and one of the country’s leading genealogical researchers. She has published widely in the area of Australian colonial history and is the author of the critically acclaimed “An Irresistible Temptation: The true story of Jane New and a colonial scandal”.

Source: Back cover of the paperback edition.

First published in 2008 by Allen & Unwin
83 Alexander Street Crows Nest NSW 2065
Copyright © Carol Baxter 2008

ISBN 978 1 74175 449 0 (pbk)