The larrikin is the colonial equivalent for the English rough and the American hoodlum or rowdy. In Australia the larrikin has become an institution and a most undesirable one, while in our own colony the genus is •unfortunately by no means unknown. With us, however, larrikinism is comparatively undeveloped ; the larrikin exists, but he is altogether a milder type of larrikin than the young ruffian so designated on the “ other side.” And it is not only in the small upcountry townships of Australia that the larrikin is to be found. Even in Melbourne itself, he flourishes to an alarming extent. Speaking on this subject, a recent issue of the Ararat Advertiser says that “ things are coming to such a pass that anyone who desires to _ keep his life and his purse must remain indoors at night. Words fail to give an idea of Melbourne at night. If things go on as they are going respectable people will be compelled to carry firearms.” A nice state of things truly; and yet this is but a solitary comment on the amount of ruffianism existing in the Victorian capital at the present time. The Australian papers teem with cases of damage to property and injury to the person, caused by the larrikin. For larrikinism is a comprehensive term, and includes numberless offences, rangingfrom petty larceny to manslaughter. It was only the other, day that Judge Williams, of Victoria, who has on many occasions expressed his determination to put larrikinism down, and who has certainly been as good as hi;| word whenever he has had the chfmce, sentenced a larrikin at the Supreme Court in Melbourne to ten years penal servitude. Learning the magnitude of the evil, one is not surprised to hear that the Victorian Government has under its consideration the punishment of larrikinism by the lash, and if Victoria sets the example,
New South Wales (where larrikinism is also rampant) will be pretty sure to follow suit. For our part, we are surprised that this means of checking the evil in question was not resorted to long ago. Many persons entertain the absurd prejudice that the use of the lash is brutal and degrading. But the brute must be treated brutally. He must be made to feel a little of the suffering he has so mercilessly inflicted on his victim. Your rough, or larrikin, is an abject coward at heart; fine or imprisonment he can bear with indifference. They come naturallv to him. But corporal punishment he shrinks from. We must confess that we have not the slightest misplaced sympathy for the larrikin, and we sincerely trust that the punishment of the lash, which was mainly instrumental in suppressing the garotte scoundrels some years ago in the Old Country, may lie introduced for the special benefit of the larrikin into these colonies.
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Larrikinism., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 534, 14 January 1882
Larrikinism. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 534, 14 January 1882
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