Join author Dr Rachel Franks to discuss the ultimate outsider, the public hangman Robert ‘Nosey Bob’ Howard, who was shunned by respectable Sydneysiders.

Dr Franks will be joined by host Sunil Badami for a lively Q&A session. Floor talks during the night will feature the story of husband-poisoner Louisa Collins, who was executed by ‘Nosey Bob’ in 1889.

This evening will include the once criminalised activity of fortune telling. With fortune tellers and psychics some of society’s biggest outsiders why not unpick your destiny with insightful tarot card readings or relax with a drink as you explore the Justice & Police Museum after dark.

Explore the debunked science of phrenology with Curator, Nerida Campbell, and learn about the Museums’s gruesome collection of executed prisoner’s deathmasks. Get hands on and do a phrenological reading to discover if this pseudo-science can uncover hidden vices or untapped talents.


Rachel Franks holds PhDs in Australian crime fiction from Central Queensland University and true crime texts from the University of Sydney. A qualified educator and librarian, her extensive work on crime fiction, true crime, popular culture and information science has been presented at numerous conferences as well as on radio and television. An award-winning writer, her research can be found in a wide variety of books, journals, magazines and online resources. She is the author of An Uncommon Hangman: The Life and Deaths of Robert ‘Nosey Bob’ Howard (NewSouth, 2022). Read more.

Sunil Badami is a bon vivant, raconteur and flâneur. He’s also a writer, academic and broadcaster — as well as having been a trainee circus clown in England and sous chef in a pub on the Isle of Man, managing a sex shop in Kings Cross, working for Corrective Services NSW and becoming the last Grand Champion of Temptation (formerly Sale of the Century), one of Australia’s longest-running and richest quiz shows. Sunil has long explored the shadowy alleys of the city’s underbelly, having extensively researched Sydney’s crime history from the 1920s to the 1980s. Read more.

Nerida Campbell is a curator with Sydney Living Museums who has a fascination with the darker side of history. Her recent exhibitions have explored the Underworld of the Roaring Twenties, the work of undercover cops and the stories of NSW’s most intriguing female criminals. Read more

Booking essential

General: $30

Member: from $5 (includes a free drink)

Ticket includes museum entry.

18+. This is a licenced event.

Members enjoy a 20% discount on event tickets

When & Where

Friday 3 June 2022 5PM–8PM

Justice & Police Museum

Corner Albert and Phillip Streets, Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW 2000
+612 02 9252 1144

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An Uncommon Hangman