Larrikins and Laneways: Cocaine Charlie

In 1918, Melbourne was celebrating the end of WWI, unaware an insidious new war on home turf had just begun. That’s when a new drug – cocaine – first came under the nose of Melbourne police, introduced by a prostitute from Sydney. And the mastermind of the cocaine trade was Charles le Marchant, a longtime opium addict who had honed his criminal skills as a teen gang member in Chinatown. Read more about Melbourne's dark past at


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