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In Iris, Fiona Kelly McGregor recreates the criminal underworld of Depression-era Sydney

By Susan Sheridan, Emeritus Professor, Flinders University
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It’s spring 1932 and Sydney is in the grip of the Great Depression. In the narrow terrace-lined streets and back lanes of inner Sydney, there are illegal two-up games and off-course betting. Sly grog shops are open after the official pub closing time of 6pm, offering beer, spirits and drugs. Police raids are usually pre-arranged, on these venues and others, such as Black Ada’s Academy School of Dancing, where homosexual men can meet under the guise of taking ballroom dancing lessons with the women who work there.

Most of the prostitutes in the area are “run” by one of the two notorious…The Conversation


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