Kenneth Albert Bulworth was a big man in the community in the early days of Flemington. Not exactly a popular or well-liked man, but a very, very respected one. Mostly because he was nearly seven feet tall and widely reputed to be the most ruthless and vicious of the various crime lords in the area.
Ken began his career as a standover man, mostly serving as muscle for protection rackets, but he had ambitions. He quickly took over the small gang that he started with, and over time, forged a large criminal syndicate out of the various gangs and independent criminals operating in his area. Those who did not work for him directly were usually still obligated to pay him a percentage for the privilege of operating in his territory. In gold rush era Melbourne, this made him a wealthy man, but not so wealthy that he didn’t still want more.
In the winter of 1860, he heard the first rumours regarding the race that would become the Melbourne Cup, to be held at the nearby Flemington Racecourse, and decided that he wanted a piece of that action. Over the next year, he and his followers fought a bitter turf war with the syndicates that controlled the races and the highly lucrative gambling that went with them. By August of 1861, three months before the race was to be run, victory was in his grasp, and he planned his final strike.
But Ken Bulworth was betrayed by the man known to history as “Faceless” McGee (a name referring to how he looked after Ken got word of his betrayal). When he went to meet his men at their staging area, he was instead set upon by his enemies and taken prisoner. He was never seen alive again, although his true fate remains a mystery. It is widely believed that the night before the inaugural Cup was run, he was executed by being dragged around the track behind a certain racehorse (the one he had intended to have win the race had his fix gone to plan).
However, the questions surrounding his disappearance only added to his reputation, particularly in the south part of Flemington he had called home, and for years afterwards, mothers would use him as a boogeyman figure, scaring their children with just three words, words that would in time rename the area: “Ken’s in town.”
Suburbs near Kensington: