Most cops are on strike. The few loyalist police left on duty risk life and limb because tens of thousands of citizens are crowding the streets and the mood is turning darker as fists and bottles fly. When the last cops defect or retreat just after dark, rioters become looters and the city becomes a war zone. With blood flowing in the streets, politicians summon a militia and order the military to protect the city. But this isn’t Berlin or Moscow. It’s Melbourne, November 1923, and Australia’s sophisticated southern metropolis is descending into anarchy. Listen to the episode on: iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or at the links below. And be sure to subscribe to get every episode delivered free the moment it’s released.
Specials were often former soldiers. Each was given an armband and a baton.
Former members of the Light Horse were summoned to Melbourne to act as mounted Specials.
Outside the Leviathan clothing store, on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets, sailors fought with the crowd. The consequences were tragic.
100,000 people poured into Melbourne to witness for themselves the carnage wrought by the riots.
Specials roamed in motor vehicles, busting up crowds with their batons.
By Sunday shopkeepers were cleaning up damage and barricading their storefronts.
The mob stormed trams and tried to set one on fire.
100,000 people flooded into the centre of Melbourne.