The Blue Anchor Push was a gang of local youths who were the cause of much trouble in Northcote in the early part of the 1900s. When, on 25th January 1917, Gustave Gibson was arrested for brawling in High Street, the police claimed he was the leader of the gang, stating that they were
“a crowd which caused more trouble to the police than all the other lads in Northcote put together.”
Gibson was found guilty and faced either a £2 fine or seven days imprisonment.
On 23rd June the Blue Anchor Push was again before the magistrates when a plain clothed police arrested Leslie Norris, Harold Abraham and Clarence Prowse for offensive behaviour. Norris and Abraham were both fined 40/-. Prowse, a first time offender, was let off with a warning.
Gibson was again brought to the attention of the magistrates in November 1917 when, in conjunction with Albert Arthur Street, he was charged with assaulting Constable O’Sullivan. Constable O’Sullivan had been responding to a call that up to 50 youths had been misbehaving in High Street South, Northcote. On his approach the crowd scattered with O’Sullivan giving chase.
Down by the bank of the Merri Creek O’Sullivan apprehended one youth but was approached by several other members of the gang. It was then that Gibson struck O’ Sullivan - the police alleged he used a knuckleduster during the attack – leaving the policeman with multiple cuts and bruises.
Gibson and Street were subsequently arrested but managed to produce witnesses to say that they were both home at the time of the offences. They were found not guilty, however Gibson was charged with being in possession of an offensive weapon - the knuckleduster - and fined £5.
The Blue Anchor Push were not the only gang in Northcote at this time, the Northcote Leader reported that members of the Blue Bird Push were found guilty of squirting water at passers-by in High Street.
It was not always just mischievous pranks. In January 1919 a large battle broke out in Fairfield between the Fairfield Park push and the Harper Street push. Both sides were armed with pickets and other weapons. The local police lacked the numbers to stop these battles and Council was forced to ask the Police department for reinforcements to help combat the gangs.
At the same time that the Fairfield Park and Harper Street pushes were battling in Fairfield, members of the Imperial Push were mugging passers-by in High Street. Harold McTavish, a member of the Imperial Push, earned himself a £3 fine for insulting behaviour at the local Magistrates court in the same month. In May 1919, Stanley Medley, another member of the Imperials was arrested for throwing stones during the Northcote-Footscray football match at Northcote Park.
(1917, March 3). Northcote Leader (Northcote, Vic. : 1882 - )
(1917, June 6). Northcote Leader (Northcote, Vic. : 1882 - )
(1917, November 3). Northcote Leader (Northcote, Vic. : 1882 - )
(1919, January 25). Northcote Leader (Northcote, Vic. : 1882 - )