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STUDENTS RECREATE CRIME: Betty Shanks - The Wilston Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 14 September 2012

Brisbane Crime Inspires Local Filmakers...

Two young filmmakers have been inspired to document the tragic story of Miss Betty Shanks.

Director, Becky Newman and Producer, Maya Weidner, are studying Advanced Production at QUT under lecturer Dr Sean Maher.

Jack Sim had the opportunity to ask Becky what it was about this case that led her to want to create a documentary:

Well, I live around the area where it happened. My family has always been interested in history. We are members of the local historical society and we all enjoy learning and knowing about the past. A number of years ago my mum bought Ken’s book and she loved reading it. My dad knew all about the crime. When I reached that age when you start going out my father warned me to ‘be careful, you don’t want to end up like Betty Shanks' (common advice given to young women years ago). It was one of those well known stories around Brisbane. When I was looking for idea for my university project I remembered the story and we started putting together a plan, scripts etc. It seemed like the perfect project. I really felt I could relate to Betty - she was close in age to me, was studying, and seemed a very real person, not just someone in the past. She was an average, ordinary girl not unlike myself.

Miss Newman hopes that viewers of the documentary, to be screened in full at a special event at the State Library soon, will learn of a tragic moment from Brisbane's past, now largely forgotten. 

Becky would particularly like the crime to become known to a new generation of Brisbanites:

Up until recently Maya and I were just about the only people our age who knew about the crime. We realised we were the only ones. We learn so much about other crimes, in other places, but little about our own town. I hope that people around my own age will see our work and that it will spark an interest in our own local history and why we are important, explain where we came from, and why we are the way we are.

Miss Weidner enjoyed producing the documentary, which included nighttime shooting at the Brisbane Tramway Museum. 'It has been a great experience, to try to accurately recreate an era long gone, but still ensure a story that connects with a modern-day audience, especially people our age.'

Author Ken Blanch is eagerly looking forward to meeting the two young women whom were in part inspired by his book:

I am 84 and have spent my career trying to impart to others the importance of documenting facts, and passing on the past - both the good and bad aspects of it. It makes me very pleased that these talented young students see the value of our past, and in particular, want to bring a tragic yet important event to new audiences, through the latest technology.

Watch "Flashback" this Sunday, 16 September, on Seven News. Journalist Peter Doherty will report on the 60th anniversary of the Wilston Murder including a preview of "Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder" and interviews with Ken Blanch and Jack Sim about WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is The Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION.  

To follow “Betty Shanks:The Wilston Murder” join Bec Newman’s Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/BettyShanks1952

Join up Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JackSimPresents, Jack Sim’s VIP Mailing List, or follow this blog to be advised of the full screening of “Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder”  at the State Library soon.

...And please support our historical research and buy WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? REVISED EDITION by Ken Blanch. Betty was one of us. Her story must be told. 

Author: Jack Sim
Tags: True Crime Stories The Betty Shanks Murder Murder Trails Series Ken Blanch
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