Both Kate and Tilly live high.. Parties, charities, jewels, and furs not to mention fines and bribes and the rising costs of henchmen cut into their wealth. The newspapers estimate Tilly has the most dough and both make ten times what the prime minister does. The 50’s swing around and in true Al Capone style so does the taxman. First Kate gets hit, but she can’t pay. The government sues and panicking, her friends who have lent to her sue her too. She declares bankruptcy in 1954 faces humiliation in court. In 1955 the 6 O’clock swill finally ends and with it Kate Leigh’s Empire. She is left renting out vegetable and fruit carts. Tilly fairs better with one empty house and one seedy brothel to her name.
Arthritic and destitute Kate Leigh comes off society’s radar. Living with past regrets and complaints about how she had been given a raw deal in life she suffers a stroke early in 1964 and slips into a coma. Her dogged old ticker keeps pounding away even though her brain is dead. She dies the following Tuesday. Some reports say she chokes on her own cursed tongue. Kate gets a grand farewell party.
Tilly isn’t so lucky, outliving everyone and outliving her era new crime lords Abe Saffron and Joe Borg are making names for themselves. In 1968 Borg is blown up in a car bombing in Bondi. Tilly faces threats when another bomb comes her way, possibility by the same killers. So she up and quits the crime business for good helped along by a repeal of the law that set her up in the first place. Regrets set in along with stomach cancer. In November 1970 she has a stroke and dies.
Tilly and Kate’s successors bibliography:
1950s: THE RISE OF MR SIN [Abe Saffron]
1990s: THE RISE OF THE GOLDEN BOY [John Ibrahim]
Tilly Devine ran dozens of brothels and was known as Queen of the Bordellos.
Kate Leigh ran scores of Sly Grog shops offering liquor, gambling, and cocaine, she was known as the Snow Queen.
Nellie Cameron was Tilly’s star prostitute and was escorted by many notorious gangsters. Most died, so she was known as the Angel of Death.