Crime & Grime in York, Clarence & Kent

Tuesday 27 April from 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Enter into the strange world of Sydney’s past for 4 unique historical experiences in one exciting package.


Our wonderful guides and historytellers will take you on a 4 hour odyssey through the back streets and bars of Sydney. Explore (and enjoy a drink or two) in hidden dens and heritage courtyards. Relax and revel in the atmosphere as lesser known histories of the area are revealed. 


Join us at Papa Gedes with Jo Henwood storyteller extraordinaire for Hatches and Dispatches – stories of abortionists, midwives, poisoners, secret babies, and baby farmers in the back alleys of early Sydney.


Max Burns-McRuvie at SILY bar reimagines the multicultural metropolis of the gambling houses and opium dens of the 1870s and 1880s.  Debauchery and prostitution meet racial prejudice, squalor and corruption in this evocation of ‘fan tan hells’ and ‘poppy dreams’.


History with a bit of burlesque?  –  enter the ‘wake’ at The Barber Shop and be entertained by femme fatale husband poisoner ‘Dorris Donnit’ aka Sophie Cook aka Legs 11.11.


Slip into the deep-set velour booths at the Prince of York for revolving historical yarns from City of Sydney Historians Lisa Murray and Laila Ellmoos. Hear about where the dead were buried; historical plagues; what was on the colonial plate and tales tall and true from another time.


4 hidden bars | 100s of stories | free cocktail and bar snack

Hidden Histories is an exciting collaboration between the HHA and YCK Laneways, a consortium of small bars clustered around York, Clarence and Kent streets in Sydney.

Tickets: $40

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Jo Henwood presents 'Hatches and Dispatches: Stories of abortionists, midwives, poisoners, secret babies, and baby farmers'

At Papa Gede's

Keeping body and soul together was a bit of a battle in the back alleys of old Sydney.  Midwives, mothers, and medicos holding on to what lives they could, while squalor, crims and quacks were dragging them out.  Join us for some tales of potions, pestilence, and sheer bloody murder in the most congenial of settings. 



Jo Henwood is an Accredited Storyteller with the NSW Storytelling Guild, Tour Guide, Education Officer, museum theatre creative, workshop leader, public speaker, and co founder of the Australian Fairy Tale Society.  She has a Master of Cultural Heritage, and qualifications in library science, museum studies, tour guiding, and gifted education.  



Sophie Cook aka Legs 11.11 as 'Dorris Donnit'

At The Barber Shop

Legs 11.11 brings to life Dorris Donnit, a femme fatale of the 1950s representing the suburban women who poisoned their husbands in post-World War II in Sydney. Enter her husbands 'wake' at The Barber Shop & she will indulge you with her (fake) mourning. She will sing you a ditty, express her deepest regrets & do a dance of death to honour of her 2nd late husband Norman "Norm" Cameron & possibly her first, Jack Johns. 

Sophie Cook is an actress, MC & performance artist. She has 20 years of experience in theatre, television & performing at festivals. 
Legs 11.11 has performed at many venues and events including The Australian Burlesque Festival, Gorelesque Festival, Midsummer Festival, Rainbow Serpent Festival, Subsonic Music Festival, Wollombi Music Festival, Regrowth Festival, Burning Seed Festival, The Jurassic Lounge, The Burlesque Ball, Mr Falcons, Cabaret Sasquatch, The Rocks Market Bizarre, Cabaret Le Queer, Classy As Fuck, Rule 34, Pacha, Shiptease, Pretty Peepers, Hellfire & The Naughty Noodle Fun House. 



Max Burns-McRuvie with 'Shadows of Sydney: Gambling haunts, Doss Houses and Opium Dens' 

At Since I Left You

Reimagining the delightful debauchery and smoke-filled squalor of Sydney's exotic underworld, Max Burns-McRuvie will welcome his contemporary audience back to the bustling streets of Sydney in the 1870s and 1880s. Illustrating an era when racial prejudice against “Celestials” was rampant and corruption was common-place, Max will evoke the atmosphere of colonial doss houses, brothels and grog shops that existed alongside the gambling haunts and opium dens in Sydney’s multicultural metropolis. 



Max Burns-McRuvie is a Sydney historian and owner of Journey Walks, a start-up that hosts history, crime and culture tours of the city. Presenting as The Historyteller, Max is also the host of several events that fuse tastes and tales in heritage locations such as ‘History through Whisky’, ‘Rum, Rascals & The Rocks’ and ‘Sin & the City’.  


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City of Sydney historians Dr Lisa Murray and Laila Ellmoos invite you to 'Choose your history and find the mystery'.

At the Prince of York

In this special in-conversation event, hear about death and dying, and find out where the dead were buried. Discover the history of infectious disease in Sydney and early quarantine measures. Explore the ways that people lived on the waterfront in past times: where they lived, what they ate, what they wore and how they worked. Pick a story to hear tales tall and true from another time ranging from boarding houses to street life and the history of public toilets.



Dr Lisa Murray is a public historian and currently works at the City of Sydney Council where she heads up the history program. She is an award-winning author, a curator of physical and digital exhibitions, and producer of walking tours, activations, podcasts and smartphone apps.


Laila Ellmoos is a professional historian who is passionate about communicating history to a wide range of audiences through exhibitions, talks and the written word. She is a historian at the City of Sydney, and a long-standing member of the Professional Historians Association of NSW & ACT. 


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