The English system of justice was transplanted to Victoria when the first colonists arrived in the area at Sullivan Bay in 1803. At this time, the region remained part of the colony of New South Wales. Individuals accused of committing crimes in Victoria, which what was then known as the Port Phillip District, fell under the jurisdiction of New South Wales.
A system of local justice was established in 1836, when minor offences were first tried at Melbourne before a Court of Petty Sessions presided over by Captain William Lonsdale. The court operated from a storehouse owned by John Batman, near the corner of Market Street and Flinders Lane. The typical offences adjudicated by the court were those against good order, such as public drunkenness or the use of obscene language. More serious criminal matters continued to be processed in Sydney.
As the settlement grew further, a Court of Quarter Sessions was established in 1838 to hear all criminal matters not punishable by death. This was the first court involving jury trials to operate in Victoria. The chairman of the Quarter Sessions, E. J. Brewster, was quick to exhort the importance of the jury trial at the court’s first sittings. Declaring that ‘justice could not fail’ when it relied upon a jury ‘composed of men of plain, common sense’, Brewster urged residents:
I should hope there will be no endeavour on the part of any of those gentlemen whose names appear upon the Jury list, to shrink from a willing proffer of their services. You will remember it is upon trial by Jury you must chiefly rely for the punishment of such offences as may be committed among you, and that he who deserts his post when his neighbour is injured, may, if such a practice prevail, himself feel the want of a duet attendance of Jurymen, when it may be his misfortune to have recourse to the laws of his country; (The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 6 June 1839, 3)
Provision was made for capital cases and other felonies to be heard by a branch of the New South Wales Supreme Court sitting in Melbourne from 1841. The court was situated in a building on the south-west corner of Bourke and King Streets. The first session of this new court occurred on 12 April 1841, and was presided over by the first resident judge, John Walpole Willis.
The eccentric Willis quickly came into conflict with members of the bar, leading citizens and Melbourne’s two main newspapers. His irascible behaviour included refusing to hear from a solicitor because he had a moustache, charging the editor of the Port Phillip Gazette with contempt of court and insulting the integrity of the Crown Prosecutor James Croke. Willis was removed from office by the Governor in 1843 (illegally, according to a later decision by the Privy Council) and replaced by Justice William Jeffcott. Jeffcott was succeeded as Resident Justice in December 1844 by Roger Therry, who was in turn succeeded by William à Beckett in 1846.
In 1843 the Port Phillip Supreme Court was relocated to new premises on the corner of Russell and La Trobe Streets, conveniently near the Melbourne Gaol.
The Port Phillip District officially separated from New South Wales to form the colony of Victoria on 1 July 1851. The new Parliament of Victoria passed an Act to establish a Supreme Court of Victoria in January 1852. Sir William A’Beckett was appointed as Chief Justice, with Sir Redmond Barry as a puisne judge. With the influx of population caused by the gold rushes, the business of the Court rapidly increased. A third Judge, Sir Edward Eyre Williams, was appointed to the Supreme Court bench in July 1852, with a fourth, Robert Molesworth, added in 1854. That same year Chief Justice A’Beckett’s eldest son, also named William A’Beckett, was appointed as his Associate.
The first official sitting of the Supreme Court of Victoria occurred on 10 February 1852. In a lengthy address, Chief Justice A’Beckett declared his pleasure in the alteration of the Court’s title, and in the recent discovery of gold that seemed to promise the colony’s future prosperity. However, he pointed out that recent reports on the wild behaviour at the gold diggings reinforced the need for an effective system of British justice. Referring to rumours that a man found stealing gold at Mount Alexander had been tied up and left to drown in a waterhole, A’Beckett decried such vigilante justice:
Let us hope that the report of such outrages be exaggerated; if it be founded on fact, it is the commencement of a ‘Reign of Terror’ which has never before dared to show itself on British ground….Let me not be told that the ‘digger’ has no other resource but his own strong arm – if he can seize the thief that robs him, he can secure his person until he be lodged in the custody of the law…(The Argus, 11 February 1852, 2)
The first case before the court involved one such robbery, in which a man named Williams was apprehended after abstracting the pocket-book of Charles James Griffith.
The establishing Act of 1852 defined the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction by reference to the three common law courts at Westminster; its criminal jurisdiction by reference to that of the Court of Queen’s Bench at Westminster and the Central Criminal Court in London; its equitable jurisdiction by reference to that of the Lord High Chancellor of England; and its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, in part, by reference to the law of the province of Canterbury. Jurisdiction over divorce and matrimonial causes was bestowed in 1861, and supervision of the property and legal affairs of persons committed to asylums in 1867.
While the Supreme Court of Victoria thus enjoyed a wide jurisdiction, it administered these separately until the passage of the Victorian Judicature Act 1883. With the Constitution Act 1975, Victoria’s Supreme Court was conferred with a virtually unlimited jurisdiction. In practice, the Supreme Court today hears only a limited number of serious criminal offences, principally murder, arson and drug trafficking.
The Supreme Court originally sat in the old stone courthouse erected in 1843 at the north-west corner of La Trobe and Russell Streets. Although there were soon calls for premises closer to the commercial centre of Melbourne, it would be some years before this demand was met.
The current Supreme Court building on William Street was opened in 1884. This double-storied sandstone building was modelled on the Four Courts in Dublin and took ten years to complete. The Supreme Court Library housed in the cobbled courtyard contains more than 90,000 volumes, which have been collected since 1854.
From its inception the Supreme Court of Victoria also heard matters outside Melbourne by the attendance of the Supreme Court judges at Circuit Courts routinely held at centres such as Ararat, Ballarat, Bendigo, Beechworth, Belfast, Castlemaine, Geelong, Maryborough and Sale.
The Supreme Court Act 1890 consolidated the law relating to the Supreme Court, setting out the duties of the judges and officers of the court, and issues of general court procedure. Justice Sir Edward Holroyd was chiefly responsible for its drafting. Ten years later, a substantial investigation of the processes of the Supreme Court and other court types was undertaken by the Royal Commission for Inquiring as to the Means of Avoiding Unnecessary Delay and Expense of Making Improvements in the Administration of Justice and in the Working of the Law. The regulations for the administration of the Supreme Court were significantly revised by the Supreme Court Act 1915 and the Supreme Court Act 1929, and were updated again by the Supreme Court Act 1958.
Victoria’s Judicature Act 1883 made extensive provision for the appellate jurisdiction of the Full Court of the Supreme Court, which was defined as all Judges of the Supreme Court and not less than any three of them. This Full Court was empowered to hear appeals from defendants tried at Court of Petty Sessions (the lowest tier of criminal justice), the General Sessions (the intermediate tier of criminal justice) or the Supreme Court itself. Under the Supreme Court Act 1891, a single Supreme Court judge was empowered to hear appeals from the lower courts.
The appeals able to be considered were limited in scope, however, as the Full Court could only consider whether the law had been properly administered at the initial trial. Appeals on other grounds, such as the emergence of new evidence, were not possible; in such instances a defendant’s only hope was to appeal directly to the Governor for a pardon or commutation of their sentence.
A Court of Criminal Appeal, constituted by the Full Court, was created in 1914 to hear matters of fact as well as law, thus initiating the appeal system as we know it today. In 1994 the Court of Appeal was created as a separate branch of the Supreme Court to the Trial Division, thus replacing for most purposes the Full Court, consisting of three Supreme Court trial judges, which previously decided such appeals. There are currently twelve judges of the Court of Appeal.
By 1886, the number of judges sitting on the Supreme Court bench had increased to six. However, a decline in the amount of court business from the 1890s eventually led to the number of judges being reduced to four by 1917. The number was restored to six two years later.
Until the Supreme Court (Judges’ Retirement) Act 1936 judges were appointed for life; the new Act introduced a mandatory retirement age of 72 years. Eight judges had been appointed to the bench by 1947. As the number of trials conducted by the Court increased rapidly following the Second World War, a further seven judges were added to the Supreme Court by legislation passed in 1955 and 1958. The building itself was also extended.
By the close of the twentieth century the workload of the Supreme Court had dramatically increased, with over 3500 cases on its lists at any one time.
From 1836 the lowest level of criminal matters was heard by the Courts of Petty Sessions, also sometimes referred to as Police Courts. These courts dealt with summary offences: minor offences where a judge, rather than a jury, is empowered to determine the outcome. The Courts of Petty Sessions were also responsible for conducting committal proceedings to determine if the evidence against defendants charged with more serious crimes was strong enough for the case to proceed to a higher court.
The justices of the peace or police magistrate who presided over these courts often had no legal qualifications or training. Legal qualifications became more common from 1948 when the position was altered to one of a stipendiary magistrate, but were only insisted upon in 1989. From 1971 the courts themselves became known as the Magistrates’ Courts.
In 1852 the Court of Quarter Sessions that operated in Victoria prior to separation was replaced with a Court of General Sessions as the intermediate judicial level between the small matters heard at the Petty Sessions and the most serious crimes adjudicated at the Supreme Court. Trial by jury applied at the General Sessions; the judge hearing cases was known as the chairman of General Sessions. R. W. Pohlman was the first to be appointed a justice of the General Sessions for Melbourne and its surrounding district. In 1968 the criminal jurisdiction of the old Courts of General Sessions was vested in the County Courts, which had previously only attended to civil matters. Almost all criminal cases, short of murder, attempted murder and a few other felonies, are today heard in the County Court.
With the advent of Federation in 1901 a new court, the High Court of Australia, took a role in Victorian judicial matters. Defendants from the Supreme Court were entitled to appeal to the High Court, which was opened on 6 October 1903 at the Law Courts in William Street, Melbourne. A Victorian Royal Commission had suggested the utility of a court to hear appeals from all the Australian colonies in the early 1870s. Until the opening of the new High Court building in Canberra in 1980, the court regularly sat for several months of the year at premises in Little Bourke Street.
Three other courts created by the Commonwealth operate in Victoria. These are the Family Court of Australia, which was established in 1975 to deal with marriage, divorce and related matters, the Federal Court of Australia, introduced in 1976 to deal with matters arising under Federal legislation, and the Federal Circuit Court, established in 1999 to deal with lower-level issues that fall under such jurisdiction. All three courts occupy premises on the south-west corner of William and La Trobe Streets.
A Children’s Court was established in Victoria under the Children’s Court Act of 1906. The wisdom of hearing matters involving children away from the atmosphere of the Police Court was acknowledged in a government report in 1909. The court was constituted not only to hear cases against defendants under seventeen years of age, but to determine all charges brought under the Neglected Children’s Act 1890. Of 5,491 young people brought before the court in 1939, 610 were brought as neglected children. By that time there were 146 special magistrates hearing cases at the Children’s courts, 59 of whom were women.
Historically, Victoria also possessed a number of specialised courts that are now defunct, such as the Courts of Mines, the Court of Insolvency, the Federal Court of Bankruptcy and the Licensing Court.
When Victoria separated from New South Wales in 1851, it inherited the common law system that colony had in turn received from England, and, under the Australian Courts Act 1828, all the laws and statutes in force in England as at 28 July 1828. Under common law, rules as to the administration of criminal justice, and how crimes themselves are defined, are determined by the precedents established by a multitude of judicial decisions in significant cases.
However, from the early nineteenth century the English parliament also attempted to impose order on the wealth of case law related to criminal justice, and extend or modify its tenets, through the passage of various pieces of legislation. Victoria followed suit. The 1852 Act for improving the Administration of Criminal Justice clarified various aspects of criminal law, such as what was needed to prove the mens rea of fraud offences, and the alternative offences of which a defendant could be found guilty by a jury if they did not believe the original charge of robbery, murder, etcetera were suited to the facts of the case.
In 1864 the Criminal Law and Practice Statute consolidated the statute law on crime in Victoria. The eighty-nine page document was divided into sections on: offences against the person; larceny; malicious injuries to property; forgery; coinage offences; perjury; accessories to crime; punishment; and pleading and proceedings. The statute was largely authored by then Attorney-General (later Chief Justice) George Higinbotham.
Some interest was also shown in Victoria in the late nineteenth century of further overhauling the law by introducing a comprehensive criminal code. The Dean of Law at Melbourne University, William Hearn, spent much of the 1870s and 1880s preparing a draft code. Hearn attempted to implement the Code in 1884 by introducing the Substantive General Law Consolidation Bill to Parliament; however, so many amendments were suggested that he withdrew the Bill for further consideration. In 1887 a Select Committee, including Hearn, considered the issue again and recommended the enactment of Hearn’s General Code Bill. Continuing debate, and Hearn’s death in April 1888, ultimately meant this recommendation was not acted upon.
In 1890 the effort to codify was abandoned in favour of further consolidation of the colony’s statute law under the Crimes Act 1890. Higinbotham was again the driving force behind this legislation. A number of significant changes were made to the law only a year later by the Crimes Act 1891. The amendments simplified the law of attempted murder, raised the age of consent in sexual offences to sixteen years and made incest a crime. The law of theft was also amended to make book-stealing from public libraries a special offence.
Perhaps most significantly, provision was made in 1891 to allow a defendant or their spouse to give sworn testimony if they desired to do so. Previously accused persons had only been able to make an unsworn statement to the court at the close of the prosecution’s case, which was considered of limited evidentiary value since it was not subject to cross-examination. Moreover, defendants lost the right to make such unsworn statements in cases where their attorneys had made an address to the jury (Gurner 1871, 160).
Further attempts to establish a criminal code in Victoria were made in the first decade of the twentieth century. In 1904 the Government broached the possibility of Victoria adopting the Criminal Code that High Court Chief Justice Sir Samuel Griffith had drafted for Queensland, which had come into effect there in 1899. In the end a committee was commissioned to draft a Victorian criminal code based upon the Queensland and other models; this code was delivered for parliamentary consideration in 1905 but failed to pass into law. Continued efforts to introduce a criminal code were made between 1906 and 1912.
Attention was eventually diverted into a further consolidation of the Crimes Act in 1915. The Crimes Act underwent further significant revisions in 1928, 1957 and 1958. Amendments were made in other years, with infanticide made a crime distinct from murder in 1949 and an extension of the criminal law related to company frauds in 1954. In 1967 the treatment of attempted suicide as a crime was abrogated.
Criminal law in Victoria remains subject to a variety of statutory legislation.
Crime and Criminals
As Chief Justice A’Beckett made clear in his address upon the opening of the Supreme Court, Victoria’s achievement of colonial independence was followed almost immediately by a goldrush (The Argus, 11 February 1852, 2). The rush brought both a significant infux of immigrants to the colony, and a growth in crime typical of the lawlessness of frontier mining towns. Much of this crime was blamed on the sly grog shanties rampant on the goldfields. In 1857 newspaper The Age declared that they were unable to report any diminution of crime on the goldfields, quoting a resident of Bendigo who alleged that ‘scarcely a day passed’ without a fresh robbery being committed (The Age, 20 May 1857, 5).
Disorder on the goldfields was influential in the passage of the Act to prevent the influx of criminals into Victoria in 1854. That same year, goldminers at Ballarat, already angered by the provisions regarding miners’ licenses created by the 1853 Goldfields Act, were further incensed by the death of Scottish miner James Scobie on 6 October 1854. Popular sentiment ran strongly against the accused killer James Bentley, proprietor of the Eureka Hotel, resulting in protests when he was found guilty of manslaughter, rather than murder. Community tensions were further exacerbated when several miners were arrested for setting fire to the Eureka Hotel in revenge. Scobie’s murder and the subsequent events became a flashpoint for agitation for miner’s rights that resulted in the infamous Eureka Rebellion on 1 December 1854.
While the goldrushes brought great prosperity to the colony, Victoria was not without poverty, or the crimes associated with it. By the 1860s ‘marvellous Melbourne’ had a seedy underbelly with slum areas around Little Bourke Street and Little Lonsdale Street. The desire to remove children from the contaminating influence of such environments was instrumental in the passage of the Neglected and Criminal Children’s Act 1864. Into the 1880s and 1890s the back-alleys of the inner city were centres of convergence for prostitutes and thieves, Chinese immigrants and Salvation Army workers. In the early twentieth century, however, moves were made to raze such slums, pushing activities such as prostitution and sly-grog-selling away from the city centre and into surrounding working-class suburbs like Fitzroy.
By the 1870s there were also concerns that a disorderly youth subculture of larrikinism was flourishing in Melbourne. The criminal activities engaged in by these larrikins related mostly to rowdy behaviour on the streets and in other public places. There were also more alarming episodes of violence involving opposing larrikin gangs or ‘pushes’. Larrikin girls participated in these assaults too; most larrikinesses were said to be prostitutes, or at risk of becoming such. Other male and female larrikins harassed or robbed respectable citizens, with Chinese shop-keepers in particular a frequent target. It was only in the twentieth century that the term larrikin took on its more benign connotations. The 1920s saw some particularly violent episodes by larrikin pushes engaging in gunplay; but thereafter the use of the term larrikinism to signify a criminal subculture declined.
The ethos and styles of the urban larrikin subculture had links with rural banditry; bushrangers like Ned Kelly were heroes to the larrikin element. Bushranging, encompassing both robbery under arms and stock theft, was a significant problem in Victoria from the 1840s to Ned Kelly’s capture in 1880. Melbourne was convulsed when the first outbreak of bushranging occurred in 1842; the first bushrangers tried and convicted – Charles Ellis, Daniel Jepps, and Martin Fogharty – were all sentenced to death on a charge of shooting with intent to murder. However, due to the class and sectarian tensions that divided rural Victoria, the exploits of bushrangers aroused sympathy in some sections of the community. The support provided by the Kelly gang’s extended network of family and friends was identified by a Royal Commission on the police handling of the case as one of the key reasons for the protracted pursuit of the gang.
The Ned Kelly trial evinces the difficulties of the appeals process in the colonial period. At this time, the only way to obtain a review of a case was to have points of law reserved during the initial trial for consideration by the Full Court at a later date. Kelly’s counsel sought to have legal questions reserved, but Justice Redmond Barry peremptorily refused these requests during the proceedings, debarring Kelly from any appeal. It has thus been pointed out that serious questions over matters of law in relation to the Kelly trial means that in a modern court his conviction would likely be successfully appealed.
Perceptions of class and character could significantly impact the justice meted out during the nineteenth-century trial process; so too could the issue of race. In his memoir, former police officer Alfred Burvett asserted that while nationality or social status made no difference in the policing of crime, it did weigh with the jury at trial. In particular, Burvett cited a 1902 case in which a Chinese man named Loo Tuck had allegedly been robbed and murdered by a white man. Despite considerable evidence of the white man’s guilt, and the favour the judge showed for the prosecution’s case in his summation, a not guilty verdict was returned. A fellow police officer later discussed the case with one of the jurymen, who admitted that they knew the defendant was guilty, but had not wished to hang an Australian for a crime against a Chinese man. Apart from jury prejudice, race could act against the interests of both victims and defendants in other ways. Assumptions about Aboriginal culture and religious beliefs, for instance, meant they were disbarred from giving sworn testimony in court cases.
Gender was another factor that mediated the outcomes of justice. Belief in women’s more limited capacity meant juries were comprised entirely of men; it also meant that these jurors brought particular social conditioning to their readings of women as both victims and defendants. There was a great deal of victim-blaming during rape and sexual assault cases, with defence counsel quick to put forward evidence of women’s prior sexual histories or alcohol consumption as proof of consent. While most sexual assaults carried only short sentences, rape was a capital crime during the nineteenth century, leading to a number of partial verdicts by merciful juries.
Conversely, feelings of ‘chivalry’ on the part of male juries were deemed responsible for the higher rate of acquittal female defendants enjoyed. In practice, jury leniency towards women was often contingent upon their conformity to certain conceptions of femininity. The class and character of the accused, in conjunction with their sex, was what often determined verdicts against women. Middle-class shoplifters and kleptomaniacs in particular were often treated leniently by the decisions of juries and judges, although this practice was not uncontroversial. There was particular outrage in 1888, for example, when Maria Rappiport, the wife of a well-known Justice of the Peace, was acquitted of the theft of a gold watch and chain. Other female crimes attracted sympathy irrespective of the class background of the accused. The social stigma surrounding illegitimate births and the lack of contraceptive and child-care options available in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century meant working-class women who resorted to infanticide were often acquitted, or found guilty of the lesser crime of concealment of birth. Infanticide defendants who had agreed to adopt or care for infants were more likely to be reviled; one such baby-farmer, Frances Knorr, became one of only five women executed in Victoria in 1894.
By the twentieth century, organised crime had become a significant concern in Victoria. In 1906 a Royal Commission received evidence that police corruption had been instrumental in allowing the development of a number of illegal services, in particular, illegal gambling. By the interwar period, prostitution and sly-grog selling had also largely come under the domain of leading criminals like Squizzy Taylor. Bank robberies and narcotics distribution offered other sidelines for this expanding criminal empire. SP book-making also remained a staple of organised crime until the legalisation of off-course betting in 1961. Corruption tied to the influence of certain crime gangs continued, however, and was again exposed in 1975 by the Beach Royal Commission.
The 1960s were a period of considerable change for the Victorian justice system, in line with wider attitudinal changes that were occurring in Australian society. In 1964 Victoria became the final state in Australia to rule that women could sit on juries, when the Juries (Women Jurors) Act was passed. Three years later the Victorian Supreme Court heard its final capital case when Ronald Ryan was tried for the murder of Pentridge prison officer George Hodson. After his appeals to the Full Court and High Court of Australia were rejected, Ryan became the last person in Australia to be judicially executed on 3 February 1967. The decade ended with a ruling in 1969 by Justice Menhennitt that permitted abortions to be legally performed in Victoria.
The Public Records Office Victoria keeps the majority of historic records produced by Victoria’s law courts. The Prosecution Project is particularly interested in the records of the Supreme Court, as our primary focus is the prosecution of serious crime during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. With the help of a number of dedicated volunteers (see our Become Involved page), we are digitising some of these documents.
At the moment we are focused upon transcribing the records from Series 3523 and 3524, Criminal Trial Brief Registers, into our database. These registers provide details such as case number, name of accused, offence, date of trial, judge, name of prosecutor, names of witnesses, whether the accused had legal representation, verdict and sentence.
Prosecution Project researchers then use these records to consult particular cases for further study from Series 30, Criminal Trial Briefs. These trial briefs contain material such as witness depositions, statements by accused, police correspondence, trial exhibits, bail agreements and other miscellanea. From this information we are able to establish the wider contexts in which particular crimes occur, and the factors likely to influence prosecution, conviction and sentencing. Long-term trends and changes in the justice system can also be analysed.
Quarter Sessions Act 1838
An Act for improving the Administration of Criminal Justice 1852
Act for the better management of the Gold Fields in the Colony of Victoria 1853
An Act to make provision for the better Administration of Justice in Courts of General Sessions in the Colony of Victoria 1852
Act to prevent the influx of criminals into Victoria 1854
Criminal Law and Practice Statute 1864
Neglected and Criminal Children’s Act 1864
Judicature Act 1883
Crimes Act 1890
Neglected Children’s Act 1890
Supreme Court Act 1890
Crimes Act 1891
Supreme Court Act 1891
Children’s Court Act 1906
Criminal Appeal Act 1914
Crimes Act 1915
Supreme Court Act 1915
Crimes Act 1928
Supreme Court Act 1929
Supreme Court (Judges’ Retirement) Act 1936
Stipendiary Magistrates Act 1948
Supreme Court and County Court (Judges) Act 1955
Crimes Act 1957
Crimes Act 1958
Supreme Court and County Court (Judges) Act 1958
Supreme Court Act 1958
Juries (Women Jurors) Act 1964
Crimes Act 1967
Magistrates Courts Act 1971
Constitution Act 1975
Magistrates Court Act 1989
Constitution Court of Appeal Act 1994
(Victorian Law Reports between 1874 and 1956)
(Legislation passed in Victoria between 1851 and 1995)
(Selected Victorian Parliamentary Papers)
Balmford, Peter. “The Courts.” www.emelbourne.net.au School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, July 2008.
Bavin-Mizzi, Jill. Ravished: Sexual Violence in Victorian Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1995.
Bellanta, Melissa. Larrikins: A History. St Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 2012.
Bennett, J. M. Sir William a’Beckett: First Chief Justice of Victoria 1852-1857. Annandale: Federation Press, 2001.
Bennett, J. M. Sir William Stawell: Second Chief Justice of Victoria 1857-1886. Annandale: Federation Press, 2004.
Bennett, J. M. George Higinbotham: Third Chief Justice of Victoria 1886-1892. Annandale: Federation Press, 2006.
Burvett, Alfred Stephen. Crimes and Their Detection. MS 11990. Melbourne: State Library of Victoria, 1937.
Davies, Susanne. “Supreme Court,” www.emelbourne.net.au School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, July 2008.
Davison, Graeme, David Dunstan and Chris McConville (eds). The Outcasts of Melbourne: Essays in Social History. Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1985.
Finn, Jeremy. “Codification of the Criminal Law: The Australasian Parliamentary Experience.” In Crime and Empire, 1840-1940: Criminal Justice in Local and Global Context, edited by Graeme Dunstall Barry S. Godfrey, 224-38. Cullompton: Willan Publishing, 2005.
Galbally, Ann. Redmond Barry: An Anglo-Irish Australian. Carlton: Melbourne University Press, 1995.
Gurner, Henry Field. The Practice of the Criminal Law of the Colony of Victoria. Melbourne: Stillwell & Knight, 1871.
Laster, Kathy. “Frances Knorr: ‘She Killed Babies, Didn’t She?’.” In Double Time: Women in Victoria, 150 Years, edited by Marilyn Lake and Farley Kelly, 148-56. Ringwood: Penguin Books, 1985.
McConville, Chris. “Organised Crime.” www.emelbourne.net.au School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, July 2008.
McQuilton, John. The Kelly Outbreak 1878-1880: The Geographical Dimension of Social Banditry. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1979.
Parkinson, Patrick. Tradition and Change in Australian Law. Fourth edition. Sydney: Thomson Reuters, 2010.
Supreme Court Library Committee. A Short Account of the Supreme Court of Victoria and of the Law Courts and the Supreme Court Library. Melbourne: The Hawthorn Press, 1976.
Taylor, Greg. “The Victorian Criminal Code.” University of Queensland Law Journal 23, no. 1: 170-203.
Waller, Louis. “Regina V. Edward Kelly.” In Ned Kelly: Man and Myth, 105-53. Melbourne: Cassell Australia, 1968.