A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales - Volume 2

A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales - Volume 2

The New State, 1901-1955

By G D Woods


New South Wales was from its origins uniquely connected with the criminal law. The second volume of A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales begins where the first volume left off in 1901 when the colony became a state.

This is not simply a volume of technicalities and chronologies. Woods relates themes such as criminal punishment, the two World Wars, and the gradualism of change to the characters who inhabit the world of criminal practice, the courts and the gaols. John Norton and Paddy Crick are on the loose again for the first time since 1958, when Cyril Pearl immortalised them in Wild Men of Sydney. Riveting figures haunt these pages, such as Woolcott Forbes, the famous corporate fraudster of the 1930s and 1940s known in the press as “The Bullfighter”; a policeman with the improbable name of Mendelssohn Bartholdy Miller; and Major Charles Cousens, the plum-voiced prisoner-of-war and radio who faced charges of treason when he was returned to Australia at war’s end.

These and dozens of other characters (including notable judges, magistrates and practitioners) populate this continuation of the history of criminal law in New South Wales up to the mid-20th century when the death penalty was effectively abolished. Woods draws on his wide experience of the criminal law as an academic, law reformer, barrister and judge to describe the development of the law in its social, economic and political contexts. A History of Criminal Law in New South Wales is an essential and fascinating read for legal practitioners and historians.


Published 19 December 2018
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760021931
Australian RRP $85.00
International Price $78.00