Tilly Devine, also known as Matilda Mary Twiss, was a notorious Australian underworld figure in the early 20th century. Born in England in 1900, she emigrated to Australia with her family as a child.
Devine became involved in prostitution at a young age and eventually rose to become one of the most successful brothel madams in Sydney. She also became involved in organized crime, particularly in the illegal sale of alcohol during Prohibition.
Devine’s criminal activities brought her into conflict with rival gangsters, including Kate Leigh. The two women engaged in a bitter and violent feud that lasted for years, with both sides using hired thugs to attack each other’s businesses and homes.
Despite her criminal activities, Devine was a prominent figure in Sydney’s social scene. She dressed in the latest fashions and was often seen in the company of wealthy and influential men.
Devine’s criminal empire began to unravel in the 1930s, when she was arrested and charged with a variety of offenses, including assault, prostitution, and illegal gambling. She spent several years in prison before being released in 1939.
Devine died in 1970, having outlived many of her rivals and outlasted the era of Prohibition and organized crime in which she had thrived. Today, she is remembered as one of Australia’s most infamous underworld figures.