Posted in The Betty Shanks Murder

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.

Join up Facebook, 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. 

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

AN OBSESSION WITH BLOOD: The Betty Shanks Murder

Posted by Jack Sim on 13 September 2012

Locals become obsessed with Blood...

During the research of WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? numerous people contacted Ken Blanch and Jack Sim to report relatives, friends and local people who they claimed were wearing, in the possession of, or were observed destroying bloodstained garments – most commonly shirts.

For reasons which remain obscure, Brisbanites have been obsessed with linking their relatives to the Shanks murder. Also strange has been the number of individuals who seem to have delighted in claiming that bloodstains on their clothing were from their involvement in the murder of Miss Shanks.  As well as those possessing bloodstained garments, literally dozens of people claimed to have possessed letters detailing confessions from members of their family, estranged husbands and jilted lovers. What is truly bizarre is that most of these people who claim to have possessed such documents chose instead to burn, tear-up or destroy material which could have helped police solve this dreadful crime.

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  


Posted by Jack Sim on 12 September 2012

The crime which is still remembered ...

Watched by locals, parents and children, Seven News Brisbane Journalist Peter Doherty today interviewed author Ken Blanch about his recollections of The Wilston Murder at the place where the tragedy happened.

Several people were eager to share their own versions of what happened in the quiet suburb six decades ago, telling Ken and Jack Sim who was also interviewed, who they thought responsible. It seems everyone has their own belief as to who committed the unthinkable in such an unlikely location.

Sixty years ago, Ken, then a journalist at The Brisbane Telegraph newspaper, attended the now infamous crime scene soon after the discovery of the body.

During his interview Ken explained how the cowardly attack on a beautiful young person changed Brisbane forever.

Peter Doherty presents his popular weekly “Flashback” segment during Seven News every Sunday evening - raising awarness of Queensland's fascinating past. The segment filmed today will air this coming Sunday, 16 September 2012.

Watch “Flashback” Sunday, 16 September 2012 to mark the 60th anniversary of the crime that changed Brisbane...

WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive? will be officially released on Wednesday, 19 September 2012 and launched live on Brisbane’s 4BC radio at 2pm by Ken Blanch

Click here to purchase Ken's book WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive?- $27.95 RRP

Live on the Northside of Brisbane? Support your local retailer and buy it from these recommended book sellers:

Angus & Robertson - Brookside - Brookside Shopping Centre

Dymocks - Chermside - Chermiside Shopping Centre

Thomas & Daisy Boutique - Shoes, Fashion, Gifts & Coffee - 1 Daisy Street, GRANGE 3856 2226



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

The Wilston Murder Covered in Local Press

Posted by Jack Sim on 11 September 2012

Readers living in Brisbane's northern suburbs will find a story on The Wilston Murder in their local Quest newspapers tomorrow (12/9) written by journalist Taryn Davis. 

Taryn, Editor, City North News, recently interviewed Ken Blanch about the crime which impacted so terribly on what was then a typical working class community, and about a lifetime of reporting on the dark side of Brisbane. 

Miss Davis, whose family still live in the area, was well-aware of the case. Like most who grew up at Wilston, she learned early on about the murder of Miss Shanks.

Taryn had the privilege of also meeting and interviewing local chemist shop owner, Mr Huxham, who was believed by many to be the murderer of Betty Shanks. Mr Huxman, now deceased, lived to be over 100 years of age, was thought to be responsible by local gossips. He could not have been involved as he was speaking to a customer, another local, outside his shop as the tram carrying Betty arrived at the Terminus. Police never regarded him as a suspect but that still did not stop housewives and those who should have known better from spreading the lie that he was involved in what has become Brisbane's most enduring homicide.

Huxham was not alone in attracting scurrilous comments. Local police officer Alex Stewart who found the body of Betty Shanks was virtually run out of the police force for failing to investigate the screams he heard the night before. Even now, in 2012, the most likely person for Jack Sim and Ken Blanch to be told was responsible for the murder is Constable Stewart.

One local in particular, whose comments to the inquest in 1953 should have aroused suspicion, seemingly went unnoticed by gossips and investigators alike. In his REVISED EDITION of  WHO KILLED BETTY SHANKS? Is the Wilston Monster Still Alive?, Ken Blanch examines this person of interest...

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

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  
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