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Waterfront : graft, corruption and violence…
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Waterfront : graft, corruption and violence - Australia's crime…

by Duncan McNab

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Of course, now it makes perfect sense that a society arriving on fleets of ships, initially supported by ships full of cargo, and later by exporting via those same docking points would end up with a congregation of illicit interests and activity within those very docks. The idea that the troubles of modern day waterfronts being linked back to earliest white arrival after reading WATERFRONT by Duncan McNab now not only makes perfect sense but has a historical grounding that had simply never occurred to this reader before.

Billed as true crime, this is also obviously also very much about the history of Australia since white arrival. As the cover of the book puts it - "Graft, Corruption and violence - Australia's crime frontier from 1788 to now" all of which combine to create a fascinating story. The prologue commences with Queensland Supreme Court Justice Lukin thundering "Crime is rife" in reference to the Brisbane wharves, although it's not so obvious until pointed out that the quote comes from the 1920's. Still in the prologue, in 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald declared 'Australia's docks are still fertile territory for crime networks'. In the book proper, McNab draws an extensive and well documented line through the years, and the activities that never seem to change all that much when it comes to chicanery on the docks.

Using a combination of individual's stories, from the formation of the docks, combined with general events and well known episodes from history, and then placing much of that activity into the suburbs that sprang up to house the workers the similarities in development, and criminality between the major ports in Australia becomes apparent. The way that the rot set in from day one, and became entrenched for hundreds of years is built into the lifestyles of the people who engaged and/or benefited from what went on.

McNab uses timely references to support the assertions made, but it's not really a dry historical accounting. Because of the true crime aspects there's a brutality to the outcomes that adds to the reality, that draws history into the current day experience of organised crime and corruption. It really is a fascinating book about a part of our collective backgrounds, that this reader has never really thought that much about.

https://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-waterfront-duncan-mcnab ( )
  austcrimefiction | Feb 11, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0733632513, Paperback)

Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia's ports have been our opening to the world. They are also the breeding ground for many of Australia's most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas criminal syndicates. WATERFRONT is the story of the crimes, the politics, the characters and the corruption in our nation's ports. From the time of Phillip and Bligh to today, from the gold rushes to modern-day drug smuggling, a criminal element has always found ways to profit from the rise and dominance of waterfront unions. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia's ports remains organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable. Investigative journalist and former police detective Duncan McNab lifts the lid on the intriguing and chequered history of Australia's waterfront.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 11 Feb 2016 19:19:47 -0500)

Ever since the First Fleet dropped anchor, Australia's ports have been our opening to the world. They are also the breeding ground for many of Australia's most notorious criminals, and a magnet for local and overseas criminal syndicates. WATERFRONT is the story of the crimes, the politics, the characters and the corruption in our nation's ports. From the time of Phillip and Bligh to today, from the gold rushes to modern-day drug smuggling, a criminal element has always found ways to profit from the rise and dominance of waterfront unions. After a century of Royal Commissions, reports, denials and crackdowns, crime and wrongdoing in Australia's ports remains organised, entrenched and incredibly profitable. Investigative journalist and former police detective Duncan McNab lifts the lid on the intriguing and chequered history of Australia's waterfront.… (more)

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