Valentine Keating and the Crutchy Push


Inspired by true events.

The more I discover, the more I feel that I am Randy, but instead of telling the story of Ernest Hemingway, except, I am telling the story of Valentine Keating.

Born in 1878. Son of Irish parents who had come to Melbourne to escape the potato famine. Found selling matches on Collins Street and was made a Ward of State with his brother and sent to a boys home. Ran away from the Boys Receiving Home and was on the run for 3 weeks. Started building up a reputation by stealing items which included oranges, trousers and a coat. Was a witness in a wilful murder trial of his fellow gang member, who was charged with killing the Crutchy Push’s gang leader. Became leader of the Crutchy Push. The gang ran around Melbourne using their crutches as weapons to stab people they didn’t like in the groin. He got 5 years jail after assaulting a police constable. In jail was brought up on charges of making ‘two toilet brushes without authority’. Opened a sly grog shop. Worked for Ted Whiting (Squizzy Taylor’s nemesis). Married a young woman just months after his long time girlfriend died as one of the Spanish Flu. Had a kid. Got charges dismissed on receiving stolen sly grog. Got arrested at a party for riotous behaviour. A year before he died was found drunk behind a car early in the morning. Contracted Tuberculosis and died in 1930 at the age of 50 years old. 

I. Am. Not. Making. This. Shit. Up.



The idea of being chased by a gang of thugs down a dark alleyway is one thing, but discovering that the entire gang is on crutches, with legs missing on several of them is even more terrifying. The Crutchy Push was a Melbourne fang who terrorised the city at the turn of the 20’th century, and proved themselves a force to be reckoned with. 


Most frequent questions regarding this book

In regards to the story of Valentine Keating and the Crutchy Push, inspired by means that I have written a story that is based on truth.

While I have had to take some creative licence when it comes to the order, omitting or combining charges to create a cohesive narrative, when possible I have kept to the facts as the evidence shows.

Cripple, defined by Macquarie Dictionary

1.  someone who is partially or wholly deprived of the use of one or more limbs; a lame person.

Though considered offensive now, my intention is to accurately portray the way it was being used at the time. In the historical context of the novel, cripple was used widely to describe Valentine and members of the gang. A newspaper headline referred to them as ‘Melbourne’s Cripple Gang of Hooligans’.

Primary sources include: Government and Police Gazettes; Trial and Prison Records; Newspaper Articles; Births, Marriages and Deaths Records and Electoral Rolls.

Secondary sources included: History Books and Articles.

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