A century ago, in the Sydney slum of Surry Hills, a Chinese gunman shot more than a dozen people, triggering a dramatic police siege that was only ended by the violent intervention of a lone American vigilante. But who was this self-styled cowboy with the six-shooter? For Part Two, click HERE

“Arizona” Ryan became an instant celebrity, but no-one looked too closely at his background.

One of the last times this story was recounted was back in 1949 — but this article,
like all others, didn’t bother to question the background of the American hero.

During the battle, thousands of people poured into Surry Hills, staying all night for what The Sun newspaper called “the fun”. Some even brought their own guns to take potshots at Lee Hin.

Lee Hin’s little wooden cottage, besieged by onlookers after he’d been carried out dead. Many of the siege spectators were children, with some boys using pea shooters to get in on the action.


A century ago, a world already at war faced its worst-ever natural disaster: Spanish Flu. But in late 1918, this plague, which would claim as many as 100 million lives, was yet to infect Australia, with Sydney’s North Head Quarantine Station becoming the frontline in the battle against the deadly invader. Young nurse Annie Egan was among those brave souls who risked their lives to help the infected. Her fate sparked a furore — and foreshadowed what awaited many Australians in 1919.


1918.12.29 - The Sun headline - Goblin of Horror