Tough men, hard times: policing the depression installation view Photo © Jenni Carter for Sydney Living Museums

Tough men, hard times: policing the depression

The Great Depression forced Sydney’s police to confront strikers, eviction-rioters, the disaffected, hungry and homeless as well as extremist political groups that urged revolutionary action.

Police spies infiltrated ’communist’ cells while raids on the quasi-fascist New Guard exposed a plot to overthrow the government. Under tough leader W J Mackay police subdued Sydney with the baton and fired on striking miners in the northern coalfields. Yet paradoxically the police were also involved in administering the ’susso’ or ’food relief’ that kept many from complete starvation. The exhibition explored the conflicts and tensions of this most brutal of periods through artefacts, documents, photographs, political cartoons, and depression era ’survivors tales’ on film.

24 February 2007 - 10 February 2008
The exhibition explored the conflicts and tensions of this most brutal of periods