Gambling for Love -- John Killick

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Gambling for Love 
John Killick
Australia’s first decimal currency bank robber 

Paperback, 350 pages
Published June, 2015
ISBN: 9781925138603
Price: $29.95

John Killick’s autobiography of childhood suffering, petty crime and gambling led to bank robberies, unrequited love, prison brutality and prison escapes (including the plucking of Killick from the exercise yard of a Sydney prison by a helicopter hijacked by his girlfriend). This is a love story by a bank robber.
-- Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer

I could not put down this book. In this love story, John Killick has shown man’s inhumanity to man yet, despite the brutality prison life, he shows great Aussie humour. -- Bobby Mackay (reader)

The best account of how a bank robber is made since I, Willie Sutton. -- John Kerr, Crime writer and author

From the Foreword

It is not often one gets invited to write the Foreword of an autobiography like Gambling for love. This is a rollicking yarn, the autobiography of one of Australia’s best-known criminals: John Killick. Like many men with charm, intelligence, humour and the gift of the gab, he was a ladies’ man but he had one great love in his life: Cathy. A message loud and clear comes from this book: Don’t gamble. Gambling cost John Killick everything: his first love, his freedom and the best years of his life.

It all started with a dreadful childhood with the associated pain, violence, lack of guidance and mentoring and the lack of exploitation of his talents. If John’s first bet on the horses had lost him money, things might have been different. If someone had actually taken John Killick under his or her wing early in his life, he could have been a useful member of society. Without the disadvantages of his early life, there is no doubt that John Killick could have been a great sportsman, chess player and articulate barrister.

However, it is not too late. John Killick is highly intelligent and is starting a writing career late in life after decades on the dark side. Former prisoners can change for the better and can still inspire and motivate those around them. Killick should be writing weekly columns or blogs and interacting with young people to show from first hand experience the consequences of gambling, drugs, crime and violence. He has realised late in life how he has wasted much of his life and wants to show people that, as a result of his gambling, grim experiences and prison isolation, there is no future in gambling and robbery. He should have been taught this while a teenager in prison rather than being bashed.

John’s life evolved from gambling to petty theft, imprisonment and all of the brutalities associated with prison life. There is another message in this book: prison is not a holiday. Don’t go to prison. The chances of being buggerised, bashed, brutalised, bullied, tortured, stabbed and killed are high. In John Killick’s time, prison was not for rehabilitation. It was for brutal punishment and retribution that could only lead to resentment, hatred and recidivism and it is only extraordinarily strong willed people like John Killick who could have survived decades of prison hardships half a century ago.

Petty crime and imprisonment in his formative teenage years and continual unsuccessful gambling evolved to numerous bank robberies, periods of imprisonment, escape attempts and the pain of a love affair that just could not be realised into a meaningful relationship. John Killick has done some pretty stupid things in his life and in this book explains the background to these actions. On a number of occasions, John Killick was Australia’s most wanted man with Australian police and Interpol searching for him.

One wonders how many children in today’s fatherless single parent drug-addled world of chronic unemployment will turn out? Already the prison population, as John Killick shows, has changed from old style crims to prisoners profoundly psychiatrically damaged by drugs. Decades ago, prisoners had a crim’s sense of ethics and morality, as John explains, but with most prisoners now druggies, no such honour amongst thieves exists. John shows that his disdain for homosexuals changes over time as a result of seeing their brutalisation in the prison system. His disdain for drug peddlers does not change.

Many years before I met John, he had been publishing short stories. He had been taught to write well by an outstanding person, the late Ian Mudie. Just think of what John Killick could have been if he had met Ian Mudie in his teenage years. On one of his periods outside, a former school and university friend contacted me. She was a Commonwealth Employment Services officer case managing John Killick and was charmed by this colourful bank robber larrikin. She asked whether I could help him to grow a writing career and, in the ’90s, I met John a number of times and tried to help him. A subsequent bank robbery and an escape from prison in a hijacked helicopter put a spanner in the works for a while but during incarceration, John and I kept contact by mail and later by telephone. And he kept reading, writing and improving his skills.

Price: $29.95

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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 28 May, 2015.

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