Inside the Old Melbourne Gaol the dim lights flicker and cold winter air seeps in through the walls. Here is just the place you might find a criminal like Squizzy Taylor.
Locked in a cell.
Underbelly Squizzy is coming to Channel Nine and at the Old Melbourne Gaol you can get a behind the scenes look at the life of the notorious Melbourne gangster on whom the series is based – Squizzy Taylor. Props and costumes from the series tell the story of his life. His rise and his fall. His crimes and the women who loved him.
Beginning on the ground floor the exhibition starts with a snap shot of the life and crimes of Joseph Leslie Theodore “Squizzy” Taylor, aka “The Turk”. You are then taken into the world of Squizzy Taylor through a location map of the Melbourne haunts and the props from the series.
Below you can see the hot spots around Melbourne where Squizzy’s life unfolded. The numbers on the map correspond to the action that took place. I found it useful to get a visual bearing of what happened before finding out more.
Under the map is a glass case enclosed with the props from the series – champagne bottles, crystal glasses, money, diamonds…you get the idea.
The real highlight of the exhibition is seeing the costumes worn during the filming of the series up close. Below, you’ll see the beautiful dress worn by Elise Jansen, “Lorna Kelly”, in Episode 4 of the series.
Heading up the stairs, in ten cells on both the North and South side of the first level, Squizzy Taylorand the other people from his life are on display through the costumes from the series. Accompanying the costumes is information about the people and events, but also, for those watching the series, snapshots of the actors wearing the costume during the filming.
A costume that caught my attention was the blood spattered suit that Jared Daperis, “Squizzy Taylor”, wore during a shootout with his enemy Snowy Cutmore in Fitzroy.
The costumes of the women in Squizzy’s life are another great feature of the exhibition. The costumes and stories come to life inside the cold cell walls. Below you’ll see the amazing dresses worn by Camille Keenan, “Dolly Grey”, who was his de facto wife and “good-time girl”.
The Squizzy Underbelly Exhibition is a real treat for those who love their crime history and those who love vintage fashion.
It was fantastic to look at the amazing 1920s era costumes up close.
If you want a more in-depth understanding of Squizzy’s life as you wander the exhibition, you can take out an Ipad for $5 that comes packed with information such as original press clippings from the 1920s, pictures of Squizzy’s gang members, Squizzy’s criminal record and a video commentary.
Yet just knowing you are in the heart of Melbourne, where it all took place, inside the walls of the Old Gaol, puts you on edge.
In a good way.
The Underbelly Squizzy Exhibition runs from 1 July – 1 September 2013 at the Old Melbourne Gaol.
Disclosure: I received a ticket to view the Underbelly Squizzy Exhibition from the National Trust of Victoria.