Who was involved with the disappearance of Juanita Nielsen

Allegations regarding disappearances of Juanita Nielsen and Donald Mackay

It is alleged that Fred Krahe became a criminal for hire after leaving the police force. Investigative journalists David Hickie and Tony Reeves name Krahe as the ringleader/organiser of a gang of “heavies” employed by developer Frank Theeman, who intimidated residents and assaulted protestors during the campaign against Theeman’s high-rise development in Victoria Street, Kings Cross in the early 1970s. In that context, there have been repeated allegations that he was involved in the 1975 disappearance and presumed murder of anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen.

There have also been allegations that Krahe was involved in the disappearance and presumed murder of Griffith, New South Wales anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay, in 1977, although the allegation about the Mackay killing was made by notorious Melbourne criminal James Frederick Bazley. Bazley is himself widely believed to have been paid to kill Mackay by infamous Griffith Mafia figure and drug dealer Robert Trimbole. Author John Jiggens claims Fred Krahe was responsible for dispensing, through his Fairfax Media newspaper connections, the rumour that Mackay had not been murdered, but instead ran away with a woman who was not his wife. Jiggens is also a strong proponent of the theory that Krahe murdered Mackay with Keith Kelly, and that Bazley was a patsy.

Defenders of Fred Krahe

Krahe’s memory has had some defenders. One of Australia’s prominent crime reporters of the time, Bill Jenkings, described his former source (and coworker at Fairfax Media) as a ‘clever investigator, who left no stone unturned in his quest to solve the most baffling of cases’, but that, ‘unfortunately, Krahe became far more famous for the crimes he was wrongly alleged to have committed himself’. Jenkings also refused to believe allegations about Krahe’s reputed partner in crime Ray “Gunner” Kelly.[15] In a 1981 letter to the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, Detective Ray Blisset (Queens Police Medal) wrote to express his ‘disgust at the obituary tendered for former Detective Sergeant first Class Frederick Claude Krahe’. He went on to say that during the years he served in the police force he had worked side by side with Krahe, and knew him as a great investigator of crime, and that ‘as a detective he had no peer.’ Blisset showed little regard for the journalists who publicised allegations against Krahe, writing that they should, ‘show respect for all the good he did and not rewrite scandalous rumours to satisfy some salacious minds’.

Lenny McPherson himself, giving testimony in 1983 at the Juanita Neilsen inquest, told the court, ‘I didn’t like Fred Krahe. He arrested me hundreds of times. If I had any information (on him) I would be giving it to you’. It was at this inquest that McPherson strongly denied telling two police officers, one Commonwealth, one New South Wales, that he’d heard that Krahe had murdered Mrs. Nielsen, an allegation that was quoted initially by journalists Barry Ward and Tony Reeves in an article in the National Times.

Lillian Armfield

Trailblazing Australian policewoman

Lillian Armfield was a trailblazing Australian police officer who played a pivotal role in fighting crime in Sydney during the early 20th century. Born in New South Wales in 1884, Armfield was one of the first female police officers in Australia.

Armfield began her career in law enforcement in 1915, when she joined the New South Wales Police Force as a Special Constable. She was not given a uniform, gun or badge. She quickly proved herself to be an effective and dedicated officer, and was soon promoted to the rank of Constable.

As a police officer, Armfield was known for her tireless work ethic and her commitment to fighting crime. She was involved in a range of high-profile cases, including the arrest of notorious criminals like Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh.

Armfield’s greatest contribution to law enforcement was her work in the area of forensic science. She was a pioneer in the field of forensic photography, and was one of the first police officers in Australia to use photography as a tool for crime scene investigation.

Armfield was also instrumental in the establishment of the Criminal Investigation Branch, a specialized unit of the New South Wales Police Force that focused on investigating serious and organized crime.

Despite facing significant challenges and discrimination as a female police officer in a male-dominated profession, Armfield was respected and admired by her colleagues and by the public. She retired from the police force in 1949, after more than three decades of dedicated service.

Today, Lillian Armfield is remembered as a pioneering and trailblazing figure in Australian law enforcement. Her legacy lives on in the many women who have followed in her footsteps, and in the ongoing fight against crime and injustice.

Sidney Kelly

“Squizzy” Taylor The King of Melboure’s Underworld

Joseph Theodore Leslie “Squizzy” Taylor (29 June 1888 – 27 October 1927) was an Australian gangster from Melbourne. He appeared repeatedly and sometimes prominently in Melbourne news media because of suspicions, formal accusations and some convictions related to a 1919 gang war, to his absconding from bail and hiding from the police in 1921–22, and to his involvement in a robbery where a bank manager was murdered in 1923.

Taylor enjoyed a fearsome reputation in 1920s Melbourne. A “spiv“, described as the Australian equivalent of the ‘American bootleggers’, his crimes ranged from pickpocketing, assault and shopbreaking to armed robbery and murder. He also derived income from sly-grog selling, two-up schools, illegal bookmaking, extortion, prostitution and, in his later years, is believed by some to have moved into cocaine dealing.

Fatal gunfight

John “Snowy” Cutmore

Taylor was wounded in a gunfight with a rival gangster, John “Snowy” Cutmore, at a house in Barkly Street, Carlton, and died at St Vincent’s Hospital, Fitzroy, on 27 October 1927. Cutmore, a standover man associated with the Razor Gang of Sydney, was also fatally wounded. Cutmore was an old foe of Taylor’s. The animosity dated back to the Fitzroy Vendetta in 1919 when Cutmore was a member of the rival Fitzroy gang. Well known to the police as a violent criminal, Cutmore had a string of convictions in Victoria and NSW for assault, stealing and resisting arrest. In 1927 Cutmore was living in Sydney, then the scene of a ‘razor gang war’ between opposing factions of the Sydney underworld. Cutmore joined standover man Norman Bruhn, also originally from Melbourne, in a notorious razor gang who stole the illicit gains of their underworld peers, knowing their crimes would never be reported to the police. Bruhn was murdered in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst in June 1927.

Barney Dalton

Barney Dalton RIP

Bernard Hugh Dalton (1891 – 9 November 1929) was an Australian pioneer rugby league player In the Australian competition – the New South Wales Rugby League. He was born in 1891 in Sydney.

Rugby league career

winger, Barney Dalton played for the Eastern Suburbs club side in the years (1910–12) and (1914–15) as a Winger. He was a member of Eastern Suburbs first premiership winning side that defeated Glebe in the final of the competition in 1911, and backed up the following season in 1912 as Easts took their second title.

The winger was also a member of the Easts‘ sides that won City Cups in 1914 and 1915. Dalton is recognised as the 43rd player to join the Eastern Suburbs club, playing 61 first grade games and scoring 16 tries.

His brother William Dalton also played with him at Eastern Suburbs.[1]

Criminal career

Barney Dalton became a gangland figure, and was reportedly mixed up with some of Sydney‘s most dangerous criminals in the 1920s. He was a member of Kate Leigh‘s razor gang during the Sydney gang wars that also involved Tilly Devine and Phil Jeffs.


Dalton was shot dead outside the Strand Hotel, on the corner of Crown Street and William Street, East Sydney on 9 November 1929 by notorious criminal Frank Green. He was 38 years of age.

His funeral was held at St Mary’s Cathedral on 12 November 1929, and attended by 200 mourners. He was buried at Botany Catholic Cemetery, now known as Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.

Dulcie Markham

The Angel of Death

Early life

Dulcie May Markham was born in the inner city Sydney suburb of Surry Hills on 27 February 1914 to John Markham and Florence Millicent née Parker.

She became one of Australia’s most notorious prostitutes and underworld figures. She became a prostitute when she was 15. and Sydney’s most extravagant gangster’s moll by the time she was 18. She was attracted to, and associated with, many major criminals of the era.

A Life of Crime

On 13 May 1931, in William Street, Sydney, stall keeper Alfred Dillon and 21-year-old gunman Cecil “Scotty” McCormack came to blows over the attentions of Markham and in the resultant melee, Dillon stabbed McCormack to death. She was present at the time. Markham and McCormack were planning to marry.

Her first marriage was to a sideshow worker and small-time mobster Frank Bowen in Brisbane on 4 March 1936. Two months later, aged 21, Markham (as Bowen) was in court accused of falsifying a telegram on behalf of her new husband.

By 1936, Markham was involved with Guido Caletti, another notorious Sydney gunman, the then-husband of Nellie Cameron, another prominent Sydney sex worker of that period. Caletti was shot dead in August 1939 in Sydney at a party he attended with Markham. Reportedly, Markham was grief-stricken at his funeral.

By December 1937, Markham had shifted to Melbourne and now had gunman Arthur Taplin as her pimp and lover. Taplin was subsequently shot dead later that year.

By mid-1940, the 24-year-old ‘prettiest and most notorious woman in the Australian underworld’ was romantically involved with 26-year-old Fred Erick James ‘Paddles’ Anderson, and once divorced, was going to marry him (being still married to Bowen); where she was also nicknamed the ‘Hoodoo Girl’ given of three previous lovers, one had been stabbed, and two shot. In the same year her first husband, Frank Bowen, was shot and killed in Kings Cross.

In 1943, Markham relocated to Queensland‘s Gold Coast to take advantage of the influx of American GIs. When picked up for vagrancy by local police,[5] ‘Pretty Dulcie’ protested that she lived with her current de facto husband, taxi-driver (ames Arthur Williams, and that while he gave her money and groceries, she was not involved in the local sex industry at that time, and was not aware of Williams’ involvement in the sly-grog or bootleg alcohol distribution networks that flouted wartime beer and spirits rationing mandates. She also used the pseudonyms and aliases: “Dulcie Williams”, “Dulcie Bowen”, “Tosca de Marquis”, “Mary Eugene”, and “Tosca de Merene” during that period. In September 1945, her then-boyfriend and leading Melbourne criminal Leslie Walkerden, was shot dead in Richmond, Victoria.

Markham had outlived most of her criminal contemporaries from Sydney’s tempestuous razor gang era. Markham’s funeral was held at St Patrick’s Catholic Church, Bondi and the eulogy was given by Detective Frank “Bumper” Farrell. She was cremated at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.

In 2009, Markham was one of the figures from that era featured in an exhibition about that era at Sydney’s Justice and Police Museum, entitled “Femmes Fatales: The Female Criminal.

Norman Bruhn

Norman Bruhn The Upstart

(2 June 1894 – 23 June 1927) was a notorious and violent Australian dockworker, armed robber and standover man with links to the criminal underworld in both Melbourne and Sydney. In September 1926 Bruhn relocated with his family from Melbourne to Sydney, where he attained a brief ascendancy by targeting the underworld vice trade, using violence and intimidation against cocaine traffickers, prostitutes and thieves. Bruhn’s criminal gang used the straight razor as a weapon of terror and are attributed as Australia’s first ‘razor gang‘, at the beginning of a period of gang violence in Sydney in the late-1920s known as the ‘razor gang wars’. His period of domination of the inner-city vice economy was opposed by the more established criminal networks in Sydney. In June 1927 Bruhn was shot twice in the abdomen in an inner-city laneway in Darlinghurst. He died in Sydney Hospital the following morning, refusing to name his assailant.

Bruhn’s life and times were portrayed in the television series on the Nine television network in Australia, Underbelly: Razor.[1]

Frank Green

Frank Green Obituary

Obituary (1905–1956)

Francis (Frank) Green, about 55, was stabbed to death shortly before midnight last night in his home in Cooper Street, Paddington.

Police found him sitting slumped over a table with a knife driven into his chest near the collar-bone.

They said he was once one of Sydney’s best known “standover” men but had lived quietly in recent years.

They said that over the years he had been knifed and shot several times.

He was a leader of the razor gangs and was once charged with murder.

Green occupied a comfortable ground floor flat with his wife in Cooper Street.

Police said he was stabbed while sitting down. He slumped forward over the table with his head on his arms.

A carving knife with a blade nearly a foot long had been plunged into his heart.

The table was set with glasses and bottled beer and biscuits.

A man and a woman were in the flat.

Detective-Sergeant J. Bateman ordered that no one should touch the body until scientific experts from the C.I.B. and a police doctor arrived.

Green, in the late twenties and early thirties, was a leader in Sydney’s underworld.

He was a gunman who was feared even by desperate criminals.

One of his main activities was leadership of razor gangs which were broken up by the late Commissioner of Police (Mr. J. MacKay).

Police said he had extorted money by “standover” methods from racketeers, gambling houses and houses of ill-fame.

He had been shot several times, and there were two or three bullets in his body which doctors left there because they feared their removal could cause his death.

Jim Devine

Tilly Devine’s husband Big Jim

Tilly Devine’s husband was named James Edward “Jim” Devine, who was a prominent figure in the Sydney underworld during the early 20th century. Jim Devine was involved in organized crime, particularly in the illegal sale of alcohol during the Prohibition era, and was a key figure in Tilly’s criminal empire.

Jim and Tilly met in the 1920s and were soon married. They had a volatile relationship, marked by infidelity and violence, but they remained together for many years. Jim was known for his quick temper and his willingness to use violence to get what he wanted.

Jim Devine was also heavily involved in the feud between Tilly and her rival Kate Leigh. He was one of Tilly’s closest associates and played a key role in the violent attacks and counterattacks that characterized the feud.

However, Jim Devine’s criminal activities eventually caught up with him. In 1934, he was arrested and charged with murder in connection with the shooting of rival gangster Norman Bruhn. He was acquitted of the murder charge, but was sentenced to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

Jim Devine served his sentence in Long Bay Correctional Centre in Sydney and was released in 1949. He lived out the rest of his life in relative obscurity, and died in 1965 at the age of 72.

Today, Jim Devine is remembered as a key figure in the Sydney underworld of the early 20th century, and as a man whose life was marked by violence and criminality. His story serves as a reminder of the dark side of organized crime and the high price that is often paid for a life of greed and corruption.


Razor Gang Wars

Immersive True Crime Drama

6.30 pm & 8 pm Thursday to Saturday from 31 August to 16 September 2023

In 2022 we premiered this immersive drama about the rise of Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh and the outbreak of the Razor Gang Wars in 1929.

This one-hour immersive drama played for one hour twice a night and featured a cast of twelve and a crew of four. We played 24 shows over four weeks and sold out by opening night. We had wonderful reviews and audience feedback. We partnered with NSW History Week and BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival, as we will again in 2023.


“Truly a historic Sydney experience that no one calls Sydney home should miss.”

Sydney Scoop

“Razor Gang Wars is a one-of-a-kind, not to be missed theatrical experience.”

Weekend Notes


Razor Gang Wars will play again for three weeks, opening at 6.30 pm Thursday, 31 August 2023, in the Crypt beneath St James’ Church, King Street, Sydney. An astounding place.

Bookings will open in May 2023. We’ll keep you informed via this e-news, our website and our Facebook group.

Learn more about the outbreak of the Razor Gang Wars here

and perhaps leave a comment or some of your knowledge on these terrifying tales from Sydney’s past.

Photo is actors in 2022 production playing (left to right) Kate Leigh (Deirdre Campbell), Tilly Devine (Alex Smith), the constable (your guide Kyla Ward), Guido Carletti (Steve Maresca), Nellie Cameron (Wendi Lanham) and Lillian Armfield (Donna Randall).

See more about our actors, creatives and crew here


Disappearance of Juanita Nielsen

Immersive True Crime Drama

6.30 pm & 8 pm Thursday to Saturday from 28 September to 14 October 2023.

Our new immersive crime drama will premier in the Crypt beneath St James’ Church at 6.30 pm Thursday, 28th September and run for two weeks. Booking will open in June 2023.

We’ll keep you informed via our e-news, website and Facebook group

The photo is the memorial to Juanita Nielsen at Foy-Smith Crypt in South Head Cemetery. One day her remains may be discovered and interned there. A sad place to visit.