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By Sophie Cunningham

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They had to repay the money that was used to bring them out. Whether they grew the produce or they sold it through the markets, they all paid tribute. indd 50 Melbourne background of who they were dealing with or how the system worked. Italiano died (of natural causes, in bed) in 1962 and was replaced by Liborio Benvenuto. Around this time Angilletta had, unwisely, started a group called La Bastarda in opposition to the Honoured Society. It was Benvenuto who allegedly ordered Angilletta’s murder and those that followed.

In the end the bats were driven out of the gardens by high frequencies of noise, and these days they roost in Fairfield Park. indd 56 Melbourne were memorialised in Shane Maloney’s The BrushOff, when the novel’s hapless hero, Murray Whelan, is interrupted by bat activity late one night: Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens are approximately the size of Uganda. At the best of times, finding your way out takes a compass, a ball of twine, and access to satellite navigation … Here and there we stopped, pressed against each other in beds of flowering succulents, stamen brushing pistil, inhaling nectar.

Occasionally the street is graced by the presence of a tawny frogmouth that makes an appearance outside the pub, perching next to the dangling pair of sneakers. The prevalence of similar dangling pairs all over Fitzroy may evidence the suburb’s history as a drug trouble spot – or it could just be a lark. From the forties, the Fitzroy Council was, reputedly anyway, stacked by John Wren’s men. Wren was a boxing promoter, the one-time owner of illegal betting shops and the powerful supporter of Melbourne’s inner-suburban and Catholic Labor politicians.

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