Sydney's criminals had always kept hand guns and knives in their
armoury, but after the Pistol Licensing Act of 1927 dealt an automatic
prison term to anyone with an unlicensed firearm, many outlaws began
carrying a cut-throat razor, honed sharp.
Norman Bruhn was a gunman, thief, standover man and pimp feared for
his garroting skills: one hand tightening a leather thong around the
spluttering purple victim's neck, the other rifling his pockets. He was
thirty-two when he arrived in Sydney from his home town Melbourne, in
November 1926, with his wife of six years, Irene, and toddler sons.
Within months he was the number-one criminal in Kings Cross and
Darlinghurst. Bruhn's gang included John 'Snowy' Cutmore , George
'The Midnight Raper' Wallace and Frank 'Razor' Jack Hayes.
Cutmore's go was standover thuggery, dope-peddling and sly-grog
selling. He was renowned for viciousness. In 1919, still years before he
turned up in Sydney, he slowly, deliberately, battered a trussed-up rival
with an iron bar, stopping only when his victim neared death.
George 'The Midnight Raper' Wallace
Wallace earned his nickname by sexually assaulting hookers who
refused to pay him a cut of their takings. He would often slash their
faces for good measure.
Razor Jack Hayes
Razor Jack Hayes was a scoundrel. He gave his occupation as
salesman and a successful racecourse punter. What he did best,
however, was wield a razor. He was also handy with his fists and was
into anything illegal.
The razor is more effective than the
revolver as a cash extractor. The sheen
of its bright blade close to the cheek puts
deadly fear into the heart of the victim...
Razor gangs are terrorising the
underworld of Darlinghurst, that region of
bohemia, crime and mystery. The razors
its members carry in their hands are
feared far more than the revolver of the
ordinary crook. Men who will defy the
black muzzle quail before the bright
blade held threateningly to their cheek.
But even with their faces slashed open,
victims refuse to speak when questioned
by police. They know too well the fate
that awaits them once the gang learns
that they have allowed resentment to
get the better of their discretion. So they
remain silent, and prefer to attempt
revenge in their own way. It's all an
underworld affair, to be settled in the
underworlds' own drastic way and that is
why a deep veil of mystery shrouds a
carnival of blood-letting. Men have
pledged themselves to 'get' each other
and there are at least two men who,
should they meet face to face in their
peregrinations, will stage a combat that
should be short, sharp and utterly
Truth Newspaper, 1927