top of page

"You are a pest and must be suppressed"

At the tender age of 19 years old, James 'Red' Maloney was already a nuisance to the constabulary in Fitzroy, Victoria. On one particular weekend in October, 1935 the young man, well-known for his boxing ability, was arrested and charged with six offences due to his drunken behaviour.

He was fined the princely sum of 27 pounds, having assaulted two policemen while resisting arrest. The judge did not mince his words, not only saying that Maloney needed to be suppressed but that he was a pest to the community and not worth feeding in gaol.

James 'Red' Maloney. Courtesy Arnold Thomas Boxing Collection.

Red was a member of the Maloney family that had ties with the gangland activities of Melbourne in the 1930s. He became well known in the boxing circuit when he debuted in January of 1932 beating featherweight Joe Regan at the Fitzroy Stadium. He went on to win his next bout against newcomer Terry Putt who was knocked out in the match and never fought again.

Out of 69 bouts in his career he won 39, lost 23 and drew 6. He was a regular at the Fitzroy Stadium but sometimes travelled to Sydney or Perth. His career spanned eight years with his last fight in May 1940 after four losses in a row.

A month after his last fight, Red was caught up in the murder of John Charles Abrahams, 29 of Fitzroy. In the early hours of a Sunday morning the two men were leaving Abrahams' sister's boarding house, after playing cards since 11pm the previous night with a group of men. As they walked out, two men appeared. A shot was fired and Abrahams fell to the ground with a bullet in his throat.

Red had run to the car to arm himself with its starting handle, but when he turned, they had run off. He drove Abrahams to hospital but the young father died shortly after. A man was eventually charged with Abrahams murder and Red gave evidence at the inquiry that followed.

Red Maloney's final resting place. Courtesy Findagrave.

Despite his wild ways and run ins with the law, Red married Grace Olive Bamford in 1942. He died in 1980 and was buried at Altona Memorial Park by his children Lorretta and Evelyn.


  • Morton, James and Lobez, Susanna 'Gangland Australia: Criminals to the Carlton Crew', Melbourne Univ. Publishing, 27 Nov 2014

  • 'Alleged Illegal use of car', The Horsham Times, Tuesday 11 June, 1935, Page 5

  • 'Sequel to Weekend Disturbance', The Argus, Wednesday, 23 October, 1935, Page 5

  • 'City No 1 Pest', The Herald, Tuesday 22 October, 1935, Page 10

  • 'Red Maloney', BoxerList, accessed 18th June, 2022, • Red Maloney boxer • (

  • 'Man attacked in street', Border Morning Mail, Monday 17 June, 1940, Page 3

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page