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CRANKY BELLA Melbourne’s greatest pickpocket

From the goldfields to the top echelons of Melbourne’s criminal elite, Cranky Bella was an expert in her underhanded craft.

Ellen Anstead was born in Ballarat in 1854 among the tents and shaft mines that littered the area. When the surface gold ran out, the town plunged into a post–gold rush depression, and Anstead’s family disbanded. At just seven years old, she was handed over to a local family

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