Melbourne: Gangsters, Brothels and Lolly Shops Tour

5 / 5

7 Reviews

Melbourne: Gangsters, Brothels and Lolly Shops Tour

From US$ 27.17 per person

Take a 2-hour walk through Melbourne’s former seedy underbelly, an era when Melbourne’s downtown crime district was run by women. Learn about the battle for supremacy, and madams who stood their ground against gangsters such as Squizzy Taylor.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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COVID-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
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Duration 2 hours
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Live tour guide
Wheelchair accessible


  • Explore the streets and alleys of Melbourne's former slums & brothel district c. 1870s to 1930s
  • Stop outside the home, brothel and gang headquarters of Australia's most famous gangster Leslie 'Squizzy' Taylor
  • Discover buildings which were lolly shop (candy store) brothels 100 years ago
  • See former opium dens and cocaine cafes and learn about the people who frequented these premises
  • Visit the last remaining single storey cottage in Melbourne's back lanes
Full description
Take a walk through downtown Melbourne and learn of an era in which there was much more on offer at the local confectionery store than just lollies and soft drinks. Explore Melbourne’s underworld circa 1870s-1930s, an era in which Melbourne’s downtown slum district, ‘Little Lon’, was mostly run by women. Learn about the battle for supremacy, madams who stood their ground against well-known gangsters such as Squizzy Taylor, and an all-female crime syndicate known as ‘The Combine’. Stop outside buildings which were once brothels and sly grog shops (speak easies), and hear the stories of what occurred within their walls and on the streets and laneways around them. You can also see examples of former opium dens and all night cocaine cafes, and learn of the characters who frequented these establishments. You will hear of shootings, bombings, bashings, brothels, robberies, opium, cocaine and sly grog (speak easies), on a tour designed and delivered by writer and historian, Michael Shelford.
  • Free tour booklet containing photos of the characters featured on the tour
    COVID-19 precautions
    Safety measures in place
    • The number of visitors is limited to reduce crowds

    Select participants and date



    Prepare for the activity

    Meeting point

    282 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000.

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    Important information

    Know before you go

    • Wear comfortable shoes for walking suggested
    • Sunscreen and weather protection are recommended according to conditions
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    5 / 5

    based on 7 reviews

    Review summary

    • Service
      5.0 / 5
    • Organization
      5 / 5
    • Value for money
      4.2 / 5
    • Safety
      5 / 5
    Sort by

    The guide is so knowledgeable, there were so many interesting stories about people from the area. He takes you on a walk within a group of blocks which used to be the ‘slums’ of Melbourne.

    November 24, 2019

    November 10, 2019

    Guide immensely knowledgeable, really knew his stuff. He brought all those wonderful characters to life. Weather was freezing and rainy but that was just Melbourne.

    November 9, 2019

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    Product ID: 186522