Hello, hello...I'm looking for a good Australian mystery or conspiracy theory from around the 1950s and 60s that I can use in a short story. Nothing potentially offensive like the Beaumont children...more along the lines of Harold Holt's 'disappearance'.

Any suggestions?

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I don't know that they get any more colourful than Harold Holt's disappearance. (I love the irony of the fact that they named a swimming pool after him).

In the 50's and 60's. Well there was the Woomera rocket range. The town was established in the late 40's and was the site for rocket testing throughout the 50's and 60's. NASA was very active there. Vast areas around the town were restricted until the early 70's. There's a website about the place. http://www.woomera.com.au/history.htm that might be worth pursuing.

Of course there was the endemic corruption within police and legal circles up until the early 80's. It reached very high up indeed. Until the 70's casinos were illegal in Australia and illegal gambling and prostitution formed a bit part of it.

Also in the late 60's and earlyy 70's Sydney was the R & R destination for many US military doing a tour of duty in Vietnam. King's Cross was the centre of the nightlife - that's around the time when heroin took off in this country. I don't know if they are conspiracies as such but they might be the basis for one.
Does this have to be Australian, or can you transfer a Canadian or American mystery to Australia?

I did find this page at Wikipedia during my random web travels, you might find something useful there.
thanks so much for your responses, sunnie and DR. you've given me some ideas. DR, yes, i'm setting the story in melbourne so i need something aussie. thanks again.
Hmmmm.... Australia, Melbourne... something to do with koalas.....

Jacqui - in the 1950s you've got Eric Cooke serial killings in Perth, or I think, the Victoria Market Murders were in the early 1960's. If you were prepared to stretch the dateline a tad 1972 was the Faraday kidnapping - particularly in light of Lindsay Thompson dying not so long ago - plus there was the Ansett Flight 232 hijacking the same year, and the Whiskey Au Go Go in 1973.

Regards Karen C
Thanks, Karen. Gives me heaps to think about. I actually sat next to Lindsay Thompson at an MCC lunch one day. I was there because a good mate of mine had been invited and his wife didn't want to go. Lindsay was as deaf as a post and couldn't quite understand that i wasn't married to my mate but was there as a friend. He asked me what i "used to do"...you know, because i was married, i couldn't possibly be working. Gotta laugh. Anyway we managed to have a great chat about the Faraday kidnapping which I vividly remember from my childhood.
Oh and Karen just reminded me. It's a bit later than your time frame but in the late 1970's a young pilot named Frederick Valentich disappeared over Bass Strait shortly after reporting there was an object flying very fast very close to him. He was never seen nor heard from again. Conspiracy theorists had it that he was taken by aliens.

The story stayed in the headlines for weeks.

Faraday came very much to mind as I just drove through there a few hours ago on a long round trip back from the airport - he did an astounding thing that day, and then didn't he step up again years later when one of the kidnappers tried it again in Gippsland or somewhere....) shakey memory sorry. I remember the Faraday one very vividly, having gone to a country school in the middle of nowhere, it was a major topic of conversation for quite a while. Actually, thinking about it - didn't Gabrielle Lord base Fortress around the events?

I personally know of a couple of conspiracy theories that my octagenarian aunt has told me about which took place in those decades. She had a very long career as a real estate agent at a time when women were very rare in that type of work. Firstly she told me that she once went to a restaurant in the late sixties and was sitting at a table next to a very long table full of young people and an older man with a thick Rusian accent. She over heard ( or was eaves dropping) what the Russian man was saying. He was arranging and organising protests and all the younger people were in on it. Is it possible that all those protests that happened in the 60s & 70s were a communist conspiracy? Perhaps they were behind the protests in the USA too. A lot of those protests were anti- war & had an impact in the Vietnam withdrawl. Secondly, and I know this sounds far-fetched, but my Auntie Jenny also believes that vegemite is really made of Mount Gambier rock. She told me she once went to a vegemite factory and all these rocks were getting crushed up in to a powder to be be made into Vegemite.


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