Friday, May 29, 2009

Murder!

Brisbane has often been described as just a bigger country town, and it certainly had that sort of a feeling in the fifties and early sixties. Back in those days, people often left the house without locking the door, and children were allowed to play in local parks without adult supervision. Some people say that Brisbane changed forever after a violent and still unsolved murder occurred in Brisbane's northern suburbs in 1952. Public servant and part-time student Betty Shanks caught the tram home to her suburb of Grange one Friday night in September of that year, but never reached her house. On the morning of Saturday 20th September, her strangled remains were found in the yard of a house just down the hill from the tram terminus in Days Rd. This is a newspaper photograph of police at the scene on that day.

(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #199191)

Former Courier-Mail journalist Ken Blanch, who had reported on the murder for the paper at the time, revisited the mystery when he released his book "Who Killed Betty Shanks?" in 2006. Blanch remains intrigued by the mystery, and although several suspects were eliminated over the years, he still feels that the murderer may be caught one day. The house where Betty Shanks's body was discovered has changed a little since the day of the tragedy over fifty-five years ago.
(Photo: © 2009 the foto fanatic)

These days it seems as though murders are an almost daily occurrence in our news media, and I sometimes avoid the news because it can become too depressing. Wouldn't it be great if there were some way to revert to a time when a story of such violence was the rare exception rather than the rule?


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tff

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