The Land Down Under’s Heroic Female Detective

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Organized crime ran unchecked during the 1920s in Sydney, Australia. Unlicensed bars throve, drugs were sold without fear of the law, while prostitution and protection rackets multiplied.

Organized crime ran unchecked during the 1920s in Sydney, Australia. Unlicensed bars throve, drugs were sold without fear of the law, while prostitution and protection rackets multiplied. There was also widespread gang violence, and bloodied bodies littering the streets were a common sight during what was known as the “Razor Wars”. Into that chaos stepped Australia’s most heroic female cop, Lillian Armfield (1884 – 1971). She had worked as a nurse for years, then surprised everybody by switching careers to become a Special Constable in Sydney’s police.

Heroic People Who Deserve to be Way More Famous
Lillian Armfield, seated center, with her parents and relatives in 1910.
The “Special” in “Special Constable” was not a good thing. Lillian was “special” in the sense that she was given no weapons, no uniform, no handcuffs, and only limited powers of arrest. Those restrictions were only imposed on women employed by Sydney’s police. Despite those limitations, Lillian left her mark with deeds that tamed the chaotic crime scene. She broke Sydney’s gangs, wrecked the drug trade, and earned a reputation as one of the city’s most formidable and intimidating cops.
                                                                                           Courtesy : History collections
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