Real Crooks Are Never In Prison by Lawrence McCrabb

Real Crooks Are Never In Prison presents an Australian road trip like no other. The publication display’s Lawrence’s point of view in regard to the still present visual identity of colonialism, monarchism and nationalism on the Australian flag. A flag that has traumatic colonial representation and is still displayed despite this.

“Growing up in a colonial town, denial is forever present in our Australian identity. I grew up without knowing what this flag represented.

In 2021 I left Mparntwe (Alice Springs) to embark on an Australian road trip. That country, and the local mob left a life-long impression on me. The struggle for justice, truth telling, repatriation and community control were thoughts I constantly had while driving these long stretches of highways. Every town I passed had monuments, pubs, trucks, cars, servo’s, businesses, houses and even horses where the Australian flag was flown. Not the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Flag.  

We travelled north then south, east then west. Across Australia with some of my best mates. Every town we went too there were flags everywhere. I wanted to make a statement and a body of work that could be understood by all. Regardless of wealth, status or class. A simple and classless idea that should be shared like the fuel between friends on a long drive and spark a much larger conversation.

I set out to make something as disorganised and messy as our trip was, that would crease, be drawn on and then fall apart. And for those who have it to treat it like I did, to throw it in the back of your car and leave it on the corner of the road when your done. Maybe someone, somewhere will pick it up and think about what needs to change no matter how tarnished it may be.”

The book was originally made from divider folders found at a tip. The images were scanned along the road at various stops. Printed in various shops, stuck in taken out then re stuck in all over the country.
A little barely readable map shows the way.

The images in this book create a simple and abrupt visual message that can relate to many people around Australia and the world. It is in many ways a comment on the weight the flag bears for so many, and seeks to question whether this flag upholds the values that many Australians hold.


108 Pages 
210 x 297mm
Colour Indigo Printing
Unbound, single fold.
ISBN: 979-8-89034-985-9
Printing : E-Plot
First Edition of 100
Photos: Lawrence McCrabb
Lyrics: Greg Barnes

Released on May 18th for the NGV Art Book Fair.

MOM operates on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge them as the traditional owners of the land and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.