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Rachel Franks - Robert Howard: A Colony's Noseless Hangman

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Robert Howard: A Colony's Noseless Hangman

Robert Howard (1832–1906) used to be a household name. Today, the noseless hangman – better known as ‘Nosey Bob’ – who sparked fear and fascination everywhere he went is largely forgotten. In this forum, Rachel Franks will detail how the longest-serving executioner for New South Wales, is central to understanding changing attitudes towards capital punishment in Australia. Nosey Bob is a compelling figure in the story of Sydney. More importantly, he is a critical chapter in the history of how generally enthusiastic spectators at early executions were overtaken by campaigners for the abolition of the death penalty.

Dr Rachel Franks holds PhDs in Australian crime fiction from Central Queensland University and true crime texts from the University of Sydney. A qualified educator and librarian, her extensive work on crime fiction, true crime, popular culture and information science has been presented at numerous conferences as well as on radio and television. An award-winning writer, her research can be found in a wide variety of books, journals, magazines and online resources. She is the author of An Uncommon Hangman: The Life and Deaths of Robert ‘Nosey Bob’ Howard (NewSouth, 2022).

Pub talks – $15 (includes one drink), 4 pm Saturday, 6 April 2024. Book through Humanitix or pay at the door. Eftpos and cash are accepted.

Payment can be made at the door or you can book in advance online.

Enjoy interesting conversation along with good food and drink at Gardners Inn, Blackheath, the oldest continuously licensed hotel still trading in the Blue Mountains. After the talk stay for a meal at one of the best Pub Food locations in the area, their Beef & Guinness Pot Pie is a signature treat.


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