Fast facts Starts 7 October, 2020

3 weeks


1-2 hours per week


FREE - Certificate for US$49



About this course

Delve beyond true crime podcasts, books and television series

Crime holds a special place in Australian history, having facilitated colonisation, provided its most celebrated anti-hero in Ned Kelly and been used to sell millions of newspapers, books and movie tickets. Drawing upon a rich array of digital history resources, this course offers you a guided tour of the origins of Australian underworlds and of the study of the history of crime and punishment.

This course will allow you to develop deeper understanding of the underworlds you will encounter in podcasts, televisions series and books. You will develop a sense of the processes which occur when someone becomes entangled with the legal system, and you will know where you can go to find out more about an offender and a crime for yourself.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to the major trends in the history of crime and punishment in Australia
  • Examination of the different ways in which people engage with, and study, crime
  • How British law was adapted to New South Wales and other Australian colonies
  • The impact of digitisation and online sources on the study of crime

What you'll achieve

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Demonstrate accessing digitised primary sources on the history of crime
  • Reflect on society's fascination with past crime
  • Evaluate information, ideas, and arguments about the history of crime
  • Identify the methods used to record the appearance of those taken into custody

Who is the course for?

Recommended for learners age 15+

This course is for anyone interested in history, criminal law, true crime and crime fiction. It would also suit those who are interested in researching crimes and criminal offenders.

Meet the instructors

Associate Professor Nancy Cushing

Associate Professor Nancy Cushing

Dr Nancy Cushing is Associate Professor in Australian history in the School of Humanities and Social Science at the University of Newcastle.

Related degrees

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.