Melissa Bellanta, Larrikins. A History

1871 Feb

McCulloch raises the larrikin menace

In this stump speech McCulloch popularized a seldom heard term — larrikin — Ever since this term has been a touchstone of Australian popular culture.

McCulloch had his own reasons for initiating this scare campaign. He succeeded brilliantly. In convincing people that Victoria was endangered and that only an extremely expensive fix would suffice — free, compulsory, and secular, education.

1871 May

Flogging larrikins

The McCulloch government passed legislation, over much misgiving, to mete out corporal punishment to boys deemed to be larrikins.

This debate reveals disagreements about causes of crime, effects of punishment and the reality of the sub group in Melbourne’s population so recently classified as larrikins.