Subculture-the Melbourne Underworld

Subculture-Melbourne Underworld

A subculture is the cultural values and behavioural patterns distinctive of a particular group in a society or a group having social, economic, ethnic or other traits distinctive enough to distinguish it from others within the same culture or society.1

Many subcultures keep themselves to themselves and don’t have a large impact on the community as a whole; the Melbourne Underworld doesn’t fit this bill.   A tangled web of drug trafficking, murder, money laundering, prostitution, extortion, fraud and insider trading surrounds the Melbourne Underworld.

The Melbourne underworld began on the Melbourne waterfront after World War Two where the Painters and Dockers Union exercised a large amount of control over the workers.2   The union had complete control over all criminal activity that passed through the docks of Melbourne, predominately drugs, and they took a substantial cut of any profits made.   The Union expanded their activities so that they had control over the Melbourne Markets as a distribution point for illegal substances.

The union broke up in 1984 however rather than stem the flow of drugs the break up led to an outbreak of violence as different families fought for control of the drug market.   The families soon expanded their activities to include protection rackets, nightclubs, prostitution, illegal gambling and armed robbery as a way to supplement the income gained from drugs.

The main families in the Melbourne Underworld include: The Williams Family, The Fabian Family, The Painters and Dockers (made up of old members of the union), The Moran Family, The Honoured Society and The Carlton Crew.3   The violence and fighting amongst these families has escalated over time and between January 16, 1998 and February 7, 2006 29 murders related to gang activities were carried out.4

The families in the underworld are generally made up of close-knit immigrant groups; an example of this is The Honoured Society, which is...