World War Two on the streets of Surry HillsMurders Most Foul Historical Tours

feature image
feature image
feature image

World War Two on the streets of Surry Hills

While the Australian Diggers were battling in New Guinea, the gangsters in Surry Hills were battling each other for control of the lucrative vice marketing feeding the US Servicemen. Join a walking tour of Surry Hills and discover the lost (censored) history of when WW2 came to Surry Hills.

During World War II, approximately 1.5 million US servicemen travelled through Australia. The slums of Surry Hills became one of the most popular destinations for these servicemen seeking sly grog, brothels, drugs and a market to sell stolen weapons and cigarettes. This sparked a renaissance in the underworld of Surry Hills; everyone wanted a piece of the action. The gangs made money hand over fist but spilled a lot of blood in the process. It ultimately ended in one of the most bloodthirsty gang wars in Sydney’s history.

Meanwhile, the US Military Police were enforcing strict Jim Crow-era segregation on the African American servicemen in Sydney. Making them stay within a ‘coloured-only zone’ found in Surry Hills and East Sydney. Those who tried to escape it were severely punished.

Join historian Elliot Lindsay on a walking tour of WWII-era Surry Hills and discover where it all happened, then finish at the historic Shakespeare Hotel on Devonshire Street.

Event dates

Event Details

88 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, New South Wales

We will meet front of the Royal Exhibition Hotel in Surry Hills (Corner of Devonshire Street and Chalmers Street). 1 minute walk from Central Station Exit 6, Chalmers Street.


Sat 20 April - 11am to 1pm
Wed 24 April - 11am to 1pm

Entry fees:
Adults $ 40, Children $ 30, Concession $ 35, Members $ 30
Prebooking required
Attendance limit:
Less than 50
Onsite facilities:
Other things
you need to know:
One small hill. Walking on public footpaths and sometimes on quiet streets. Bathroom stops are available.