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Kellett Street

Battle of Blood Alley
Phil Jeffs ignited the so-called 'Battle of Blood Alley' in Eaton Avenue, Kings Cross, on 7 May 1929. Jeffs had long been tempting fate by heavily cutting cocaine with boracic acid, while charging customers the full price of the pure drug. When one Woolloomooloo gang realised Jeffs was robbing them, they challenged him and his gang to a fight. Like some wild west showdown, the two heavily armed groups gathered for battle soon after 10pm, in Eaton Avenue, an ill-lit lane off Bayswater Road. Locals referred to it as 'Blood Alley' due to the many muggings that took place there. For a hair-raising thirty minutes, until the police arrived in force, the gangsters went at each other with guns, razors, clubs and boots. No brawler escaped unscathed.

Kellett St Brawl
On the night of 8 August, members of Tilly's gang armed with guns and razors converged on one of the Leigh stamping grounds, Kellett Street, Kings Cross, then a reviled strip row of hovels, dingy tenements and bawdy houses. Tilly's men's jibes and threats were returned by Kate's men. Bottles and rocks were hurled. By 10pm, a pitched battle between the drunk and seething gangsters now spitting and snarling at each other like alleys cats, was inevitable. The forty-odd mobsters of the Leigh and Devine crews tore into each other with razors, guns, fists, boots, bottles and rocks. More than a dozen, from both factions, were badly wounded but no one identified their assailant to the police.

Adapted from the award winning book Razor, by Larry Writer © 2001, Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd. Second edition now available with new material. Find out more >> about the bookBuy the book >>