Two Up and the Great Water Escape

Have you ever played a game of two up? With the exception of Broken Hill, this coin tossing game can only be legally played in NSW on Anzac Day, Victory in the Pacific Day (15 August) and after 12 noon on Remembrance Day (11 November)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald of August 21st, 1933 the police found an illegal two up school in an empty paddock at the end of Luland Street, Botany. When the police raided the site around 4.30pm they arrested ten men, but some thirteen escaped across the Cook’s River which back then – before the expansion of Sydney Airport – flowed right beside Botany.

Most men escaped in rowing boats but two men actually swam fully clothed across the river to Kyeemagh. Looking at the landscape around Luland Street today, it’s hard to believe such a story could happen. Foreshore and Southern Cross Drive now allow cars to speed where once there was water.

Luland Street (marked in red) and its surrounds, 1889
Close up of the Botany map from Atlas of the Suburbs of Sydney, ca 1885-1890, City of Sydney Archives
Luland Street and its surrounds, 2012
Google Maps
Former Mayor of Botany, Francis Joseph Luland, whom the street was named after
City of Botany Bay Library & Museum

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