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Title: "True Blue" Crimes and Other Infamous Aussie Yarns
Contributor(s): Scott, John  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2011
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Abstract: Australians have an insatiable appetite for true crime. In terms of books alone, the true crime genre accounts for approximately half a million book sales annually in a continent inhabited by 22 million people. Monitors of Australian book sales also indicate that sales for this genre have increased in recent years. In 2006, true crime sales increased by 65 percent. Interest in true crime has not been restricted to book sales, the genre ubiquitous on free-to-air and pay television broadcasting. A notable production was the Underbelly (2008) television miniseries, focusing on Melbourne's gangland wars in the years 1995-2004. This series was a significant critical and commercial success, giving rise to imitators, sequels and prequels. The recent film Snowtown, based on eleven murders which occurred in South Australia between 1992 and 1999, has also achieved critical and commercial success. Interest in true crime can also be gauged through increased visitor numbers to various historical attractions in Australia. In 2010 eleven convict sites were added to the World Heritage List. Attractions with a more contemporary focus, specifically targeting the true crime market, have also attracted significant local and international interest. For example, since it first opened in 1991, the Justice and Police Museum in Sydney has increased visitor numbers annually, with visits in 2010 totaling over 75,000 people. The above noted, as interest in true crime grows, Australian crime rates appear to be subsiding. Australian Institute of Criminology data indicates that Australia, not unlike many other developed Western nations, has experienced significant declines in most categories of crime over the last decade. However, historians, such as Flanders and Wittenburg, have documented how the true crime genre has thrived in periods during which the incidence of serious crimes have declined. So what drives the popularity of true crime? These three recent books, all focusing on a specifically Australian experience of crime, offer some clues. Drawing from these works, this review will examine the enduring popularity of true crime in Australia by highlighting key contemporary and historical themes specific to the Australian experience. Among other things, the true crime genre in Australia highlights how the space of national mythmaking has shifted from the colonial space of the outback to the post-colonial spaces of beach and suburbia. In these spaces Indigenous experience is marginalized or distorted. True crime also highlights thematic concerns central to Australian post-colonial texts which express a sense of discomfort - isolation and disorientation - with being in the Australian landscape.
Publication Type: Review
Source of Publication: Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies, 17(2), p. 112-124
Publisher: Georgia Southern University
Place of Publication: United States of America
ISSN: 1073-1687
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 160204 Criminological Theories
160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
940403 Criminal Justice
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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