39. “Like a Flying Kangaroo”
The Crutchy Push’s crutch fu enabled them to rule the streets of Melbourne from 1895 to 1905. They earned their way with strong armed robberies and extortions, demanding drink, food, and money, from pubs, shops, and members of the public. They viciously defended their turf against rival gangs, and encroached on the turf of others with impunity.
They Crutchies Push took on all comers – including the cops. In 1898, the one legged gangsters were involved in a sprawling brawl, and when the police arrived to quell the disturbance, the Crutchies turned on them as well. Their leader, Valentine Keating, knocked down a constable, but when his colleagues tried to arrest, they were astonished at just how fast a one legged man could move. As one of them testified in court about his failure to catch Keating: “he was off like a flying kangaroo – although he goes on crutches”.