Beneath the beauty of the Sydney city skyline is the unspoken past of the most notorius and violent eras of gang warfare which dominated city life in the 1920s and 1960s.
Born out of the illegal and devilishly lucrative cocaine trade, the weapon of choice in these times was the refashioned straight razor, after the 1927 Pistol Act prohibited unlicensed use of firearms.
Dark Stories brings to the spotlight some key figures in the syndicate of crime through these periods in the tales of some of the city’s most gruesome acts in the name of money, power and ambition.
As locals of the city, Pete and I take in the beauty of the city as the gloomy weather appropriately sets the tone for the maiden voyage of the True Crime Stories tour on board the Fantasea Joy. Fantasea Joy is the most intimate of their fleet’s vessels equipped with bar, partially covered sundeck, covered rear deck and open foredeck.
“This tour aims to provide a new way to enjoy Sydney Harbour by revealing the untold stories that are part of the city’s history, yet no one talks about them.” says David Dark, Director of Dark Stories, “Every point, every building, every angle you see on the Sydney Harbour is not only beautiful, but without exception, you are also looking at the site of a hidden history of incredible true crime stories you know nothing about.”
It’s the first time we take in the city harbour since lockdown and there’s a compounded feeling of curiousity as our view of it changes as our hostess Emily, begins with stories that tie to each vantage point of the ninety minute route.
“The Harbour has witnessed all types of unlawful history, so the tour should be seen as a series of criminal vignettes covering the full spectrum of Sydney’s crime history.” describes Dark. ” Guests will not only see the beautiful locations, but they will discover the dark history underlying all that beautiful scenery and really learn something about the city they never suspected.”
As the vessel navigates the shores of the city’s most affluent suburbs, Emily begins to peel back the layers revealing the large cemetery our city is thanks to its sordid history. This Fantasea tour breaks from the standard harbour tour with locals, thriller enthusiasts and historians in mind.
There’s alot of content packed into the hour and half trip as Emily ploughs through stories of gang rivalry, adultery, murder and betrayal. The maximum capacity is 90 and so expect an extension to normal bar wait service as the one bar services the whole vessel.
Though there are ties leading in to each story as the vessel passes each stop, some might question the cohesiveness of the storytelling, but rather should be digested and seen more like a collage of criminal highlights in the city, forever tainting the view of some iconic landmarks as untold stories are revealed.
The True Crime Cruise runs every weeekend from 6pm, departing from Wharf 6 at Circular Quay Terminal.