Posted in Murder Trails Series

CRIME SCENE PHOTO: Was Betty's Killer A Local?

Posted by Jack Sim on 9 September 2012
CRIME SCENE PHOTO: Was Betty's Killer A Local?

Was Betty's Killer a Local?

There are many reasons to believe that the person (or maybe persons), who attacked Miss Shanks was a local, someone living close to the corner now made infamous. Ken Blanch raises such a horrifying prospect in his newly revised book:

There was another curious aspect to the murder. Although a large number of households kept dogs in those days, and there was no restriction on them wandering at large, not one witness heard a dog barking. It seems incredible that a stranger skulking in the shadows and launching a maniacal attack upon the victim would not have excited at least one or two dogs into voice. Does the absence of any such canine reaction indicate that the attacker was well-known to the local dog population, which therefore ignored his presence and activities?

Detectives interviewed hundreds of people in attempt to ascertain the movements of every man, woman and child in the Wilston/Grange area on the night of the murder. In the CRIME SCENE photograph above, Detective Sub-Inspector Tom Martin (left) leads a group of detectives as they talk with young Marie Patton at the crime scene. Detective Senior Sergeant Jack Mahony has his back to the camera, Detective Sergeant Norm Bauer faces it. Reporter Ken Blanch stands partly obscured beside Miss Patton. The grounds of the Wilston State School are behind them. Picture taken on Sunday, 21 September 1952.

Join Ken & Jack Sim on a special CRIME TOUR in October based on The Wilston Murder.

This is no morbid outing - this tour is only for those with a geniune interest in this case. Join Jack's VIP Mailing list on the home page of this website. Seats are limited. How to book will be announced later this month.

Posted in:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  


Posted by Jack Sim on 8 September 2012

It was a ride that ended in death...

In 1952, the year of the crime, most Brisbanites did not own their own cars, instead travelling to and from the city on these beloved vehicles.

On the night of the murder, passengers on board Tram 434, on route to the Grange Terminus, recalled seeing a young woman board at a tram stop at Windsor. This stop, now used by passengers waiting for Brisbane City Council buses, still exists in its original state, sixty years later.

A example of the type of tram taken by the victim survives at the Brisbane Tramways Museum at Samford. The Museum preserves, displays and conducts tours to tell the story of the River City's once extensive tram network. 

Take the Tram as part of The Wilston Murder Crime Tour...

Join Jack Sim and Ken Blanch in October 2012 as they host a special crime tour based on this perplexing cold case. Visit 5 historic sites associated with  this dreadful crime. Details to be announced soon

Join Jack's VIP Mailing List on the home page of this website for details. Seats are limited. Stay tuned.





Posted in:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  

Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? The Betty Shanks Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 7 September 2012
Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? The Betty Shanks Murder

The killer could be living among us...

'I think there is a strong possibility that the horrible murder of Betty Shanks in September 1952 could still be solved' Ken Blanch said when interviewed last week. 

'There is no reason to suppose that her hitherto unidentified attacker is not still alive and living in our community.

The law places no time limit on the apprehension and punishment of criminals and Betty’s killer if identified could still face a jury and punishment.

As has been said many times, someone still living somewhere knows the murderers’ identity. It is not too late to turn him in.'

Hear Ken's thoughts on Breakfast with Spencer Howson on 612 ABC Brisbane - Wednesday 19 September 2012 - the 60th anniversary of this dreadful crime. 

WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? has over 50 photographs sourced by Ken Blanch and Jack Sim from a variety of archives, libraries and private collections. This book is available online and at Dymocks and Angus & Robertson Bookstores.

Posted in:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  


Posted by Jack Sim on 6 September 2012

Murder in the Shadow of the Bauhinias

The crime scene as it appeared sixty years ago...

It is hard to imagine a less dramatic location for an attack on a decent, hard-working young woman. 

The two blossomless bauhinia bushes, which figured in the dreadful attack, were originally planted by the Brisbane City Council as part of a beautification scheme.

The shrubs survived for many years on the footpath and were still there in 1972 for the 20th anniversary; by then they had become old and twisted trees.

Every year, across Brisbane, when the Bauhinias erupted into gorgeous flowers, residents remembered the crime. 

Ken Blanch will be being interviewed at the crime scene Wednesday, 12/9/2012 at 11.00am by Peter Dougherty from Seven's "Flashback". 

Watch "Flashback" during Seven News on Sunday, 16/9/2012 to see the interview with Ken Blanch and learn more about why this story must continue to be told.

If you would like to meet award-winning journalist Ken Blanch come to one of his instore signings or please support our research into Brisbane's criminal history and purchase a copy of WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is The Wilston Monster Still Alive? - either on this website or at Angus & Robertson, and Dymocks Bookstores.


Posted in:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  

SHE WAS ONE OF US: Betty Shanks

Posted by Jack Sim on 5 September 2012
SHE WAS ONE OF US: Betty Shanks

She was one of us...

Long ago a lovely person was lost to us. One of us. A Brisbane girl whose name has sadly become associated with a terrible crime, but she was not a victim.

Had she lived, she would soon turn 83 years old, surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grand children.

Betty was unusual for her time. She loved to study and may well have risen to become a lawyer or even eventually gone into politics.

Central to the lives of many, not least of all her mum and dad, and younger brother Alan, Betty’s wage sustained the household. She was needed, respected and loved.

Brisbane in 1952 was different to today – traffic was minimal, there were far fewer cars, the city was more laid back, quieter, reflecting its status as the biggest country town of a state of such towns. People had time to think and read. There was no rush. Computers, mobile phones, portable music and devices did not exist. People thought about each other, they talked face-to-face. Rock 'n' Roll was yet to happen. The Second World War was over but biggest concern was the threat of communism - the 1950s equivalent of terrorism - even so most Brisbanites simply went about their business.

However, one Friday evening, in a quiet Brisbane suburb, this all changed forever.

The murder of Betty Shanks was the crime which turned Brisbane into a big city, where violent crime was "normal".

One of the three oldest cold cases under investigation in Australia, and Brisbane’s greatest unsolved murder-mystery, the brutal killing of Betty in 1952 has baffled generations of detectives and locals alike.

Ken Blanch is appearing at several bookstores over the next few weeks to sign his book:

Dymocks Carindale                            Thursday 20/09/2012     4pm - 9pm     

Angus & Robertson - Brookside      Saturday 22/09/2012     10am-12.30pm

Dymocks Chermside                         Saturday 22/09/2012      1.00pm - 4pm 
Angus & Robertson - Ipswich           Saturday 29/9/2012       11.00am - 2.30pm      

A Lot of Books - Ipswich                    Thursday 4/10/2012      11.00am - 1.00pm      



Posted in:True Crime StoriesThe Betty Shanks MurderMurder Trails SeriesKen Blanch  
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