John Wren: Gambler: His Life and Times

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Author: Niall Brennan
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His telephone number was scribbled on the wall in the Premier's Department. A Prime Minister, an Archbishop, and ex-Labour Government Treasurer and countless politicians, racketeers and petty thieves sought his help. 'The Man We All Know' was, to the Australia of the 1890s and early 1900s, far more than just a successful gambler and one of the nation's wealthiest men. A powerful, behind-the-scenes figure in numerous plots - political, underworld, wherever men and money mixed. John Wren was an Irish-Catholic of mixed allegiances:  a bussinessman, a 'sportsman', a champion of the Labour Movement. In later years, his exploits were to form the cental theme of Frank Hardy's explosive novel, Power Without Glory.

Despite the ministrations of Parliament and the redoubtable Sergeant O'Donnell of the Victorian Police Force, Wren flourished. This is his story. It is a big, brash slice of Victorian Life in Australia.

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