“Partnership” is a frequently used term in community development practice. Partnerships conjure images of citizen participation, empowerment and the possibility of enhancing grass-roots democracy. An Australian crime prevention project (Waratah Crime Prevention Project), based on the concept of partnerships was developed with senior police, educators, local government representatives, court networks, and nine community groups. A myriad of community based crime prevention initiatives were designed and developed by the community groups, and implemented across the region. Valuable lessons are reported, concerning the application of partnership theory in this community development project. Lessons learnt include the ramifications of inequitable power relations between senior partners and community groups, and the effect of critical organisational cultural differences between the partners that impeded the progress of the project. It was found that “a willingness to partner” is a necessary precondition for partnerships to succeed. Attention is drawn to the need to teach partnership skills before similar projects are commenced.