The elderly woman, if you noticed her at all, could be your grandmother, inching slowly along the shaded path with the help of a black walking stick.
We’re waiting for her at a bench in New Farm Park in Brisbane’s inner-north. Young professionals in lycra powerwalk the riverside track. Purple electric scooters whiz by kicking up fallen jacaranda leaves in their wake.
And through this fizz of 21st century life, she moves at her own pace.
This is Dorothy Edith Knight, 80, a small-framed pensioner who lives happily with her long-time husband Brian in an apartment fresh with the smell of brine from Moreton Bay, north of the Brisbane CBD.
Dorothy’s is a quiet existence, only punctuated by trips to the doctor for her various medical conditions.
The thing is, Dorothy has been here before, at this bench. Last time she was here, she was wearing a wire — the first person in Queensland to ever do so.
She was here as a young sex worker at the epicentre of a police sting designed to entrap a corrupt Queensland police detective with a reputation for extreme violence.
Undercover cops posing as gardeners and hiding in vans watched her every move.
Back then, the city was teeming with crooked cops, and she put her life in danger at this very spot to bring down one of the worst of them. The stress of the operation was so great she fainted as undercover police led him away.
This is the first time she’s been back to the park — 15 inner-city hectares of poinsettias, Moreton Bay figs and rose beds — in exactly 50 years.
But the fallout from that day has altered the rest of her life, she told the Dig: Sirens Are Coming podcast.
“I’ve been nervy the last couple of days,” Dorothy says when we meet.
Her voice — and those of many other sex workers who tried to stand up to the might of corruption in the Queensland police force over the decades — had been lost and her story forgotten.
Shadows on the Sunshine State
Sleepy Queensland was never the same after the Second World War. Under Commissioner Frank Bischof’s protection, police corruption in the Sunshine State ran wild in the 1950s and 60s.
Bischof, known as the Big Fella, was crowned Queensland Police Commissioner in 1958, by which time he had honed his skills for graft and making a quick quid.
He gathered some like-minded young acolytes: police officers Glendon Patrick Hallahan, Tony Murphy and Terry Lewis, all in their late 20s and early 30s.
They were Bischof’s bagmen. They investigated threats to his corrupt system of kickbacks they called The Joke. They compiled secret dossiers on politicians. They skewed court cases and silenced critics.
These men became known around town and beyond as the Rat Pack.
And one of the easiest income streams for Bischof and his men was weekly bribes from the city’s sex workers in exchange for protection from prosecution at a time when sex work was illegal.
If any sex worker decided to work outside The Joke, they could expect to suffer the consequences. But initially, most of the sex workers complied.
At the time, Dorothy Edith Knight worked at the police’s favoured watering hole, the National Hotel, sometimes securing up to five clients a night.
She’d drink a scotch to smooth the nerves and take half a Purple Heart — a popular stimulant in mid-60s London nightclubs that soon arrived in Australia — then charm potential clients at the bar before heading upstairs to the pub’s guest rooms.
“Word got around … if you wanted a girl, well, go to the National,” Dorothy says. “I used to spend so long in my bloody bedroom getting myself ready. And I even had a special makeup light thing, I paid a lot of money for it. I’m short, [so] I wore very high heels … and I had very long hair. I was very, very fussy about my hair.”
But working came at a price. One sex worker in particular — Shirley Brifman — became a favourite of the Rat Pack. She worked in brothels and the city’s seedier hotels, including the National Hotel.
Shirley handed over enormous sums to Detective Tony Murphy — for his car, for his kid’s tutoring — and to Detective Hallahan. The money kept them in fine clothes and expensive colognes.
“He [Hallahan] would have got a terrific amount,” she later recalled. “He stayed at my place. He got an allowance for staying there from the department. If he wanted money any time, he was sure I would give it to him.”
Shirley was in their pocket. She even lied for the Rat Pack at the National Hotel royal commission in Brisbane in 1963-64 — the first ever royal commission into police misconduct in Queensland.
After the inquiry found no misconduct by police, Shirley moved to Sydney on the advice of the Rat Pack while the dust settled, stayed on, and established herself as the Emerald City’s premiere madam.
It didn’t mean she left her Queensland friends behind. She became a spy of sorts for the Rat Pack, ingratiating herself with Sydney’s underworld and corrupt police. She headed up the Rat Pack’s new Sydney franchise, and acted as a conduit between the two cities.
Her Kingsford home in Sydney became an underworld clearing house — a den for corrupt cops and criminals to meet on mutual, safe territory, and a place to stash and sort through stolen jewellery and other goods.
Hallahan was often in town, making new friends with the likes of feared Sydney detective Fred “Froggy” Krahe, and sharing the spoils of police-sponsored crimes. On first meeting Brifman in Sydney, Krahe had warned her: “If you repeat one word of what we have said here today to the Queensland police … I will shoot you stone dead.”
She didn’t listen, and she made a tactical error.
She must have thought she was an equal player in the game.
The Rat Pack makes an offer
Back in Brisbane, Dorothy had also made a close friend in the Queensland police. None other than Rat Packer Glen Hallahan. He was the youngest Rat Pack member and, at the time, the most famous — a celebrated Queensland detective solving high-profile cases.
“Oh, his manner was impeccable,” Dorothy explains in the new ABC podcast, Dig: Sirens are Coming. “[An] absolutely impeccable man, truly. You could fall for him just like that — very, very, very much so. I hung off every word he said.”
Dorothy first met Hallahan when he visited her in the Brisbane prison where she was serving a short stint for passing forged cheques. The dashing detective took an interest in her case and her prospects, and returned to visit several times. In this way, the Rat Pack cultivated young women like Dorothy as potential money-makers.
Later, Hallahan made her an offer. For a weekly bribe of $20 — about $300 today — he would protect her from prosecution. Dorothy became a part of his sex worker stable. Looking back, she says Hallahan saw her as his property.
Though she enjoyed the company of this flawlessly groomed and well-mannered man, she was starting to hear about a darker side to Hallahan. Violent and ruthless, Hallahan was a man of few words. His nickname was “Silent”.
“People talk, and especially if they’re having a drink, they talk. And I started to hear all this business about these robberies … he was really mixed up with a lot of bad people,” she says.
By 1971, both Shirley and Dorothy’s relationships with members of the Rat Pack began to fray.
Shirley was charged by New South Wales police with prostitution-related charges — a first in her career — and was briefly imprisoned. After complications with her bail, she was finally released.
She had been paying corrupt Queensland and NSW police for over a decade to protect her from prosecution. And here she was facing a prison sentence.
“I was wondering what would happen to my children,” she told a newspaper reporter at the time. “That’s the first time I’ve ever been in jail and it was a real eye-opener for me.”
Soon after, Shirley made a life-altering decision. She turned on the Rat Pack in the most public way possible. She decided to blow the whistle.
On June 15, 1971, Shirley appeared on the respected This Day Tonight current affairs program on the ABC. She revealed that she had perjured herself at the National Hotel royal commission in Brisbane several years earlier, and had been paying off police for more than a decade.
She would subsequently tell police all about the Rat Pack and their corrupt counterparts in the Sydney police, plus suspected murders and a host of other crimes.
Shirley’s daughter, Mary Anne Brifman, would later tell me: “She actually believed them to be her friends … My mother was a very important part of that team.
“Why would she think she could tell on them and not get hurt?”
Shirley’s public confessions sent shockwaves throughout Queensland and NSW, from respective premiers’ offices to the living rooms of everyday punters.
She left the ABC studio that night with a target on her back.
Meanwhile, back in Brisbane, Dorothy was wrestling with an unhappy relationship with her then-partner, plus creeping doubts about Detective Glen Hallahan. Her life was filled with men pushing her around and telling her what to do, and her patience was running thin.
Then she received a knock on her front door from two detectives.
“[They said] ‘We’re from the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU).’ I said, ‘What the hell is that?'”
The CIU was a squad of honest officers formed by new police commissioner Ray Whitrod, who was appointed in 1970 after Bischof retired with mental health issues. Their mission was to dismantle the Rat Pack and clean up the force.
On the back of Shirley Brifman’s allegations that she perjured herself at the National Hotel inquiry, Detective Tony Murphy was himself charged with perjury.
Now, it was time to get Hallahan. And the CIU sought Dorothy’s help to bring him down. They sat with Dorothy in her kitchen for hours and told her the full story of Hallahan and the depths of his suspected corruption. That her charming Glen had a reputation for extreme violence.
She agreed, and an old-fashioned sting was put in place. Dorothy would meet Hallahan at a prearranged time at the park bench in New Farm Park and hand over her weekly kickback payment in cash. The CIU would be watching and waiting in a caravan not far from the park bench.
When Dorothy sat down, she was shaking with nerves and the thought that Hallahan’s sharp eyes would spot the matchbox-sized listening device hidden under her clothes.
“He said to me, ‘You don’t seem yourself today. Are you not well?'” Dorothy recalls. “I said, ‘As a matter of fact, I haven’t been well all night.'”
Dorothy handed over the money, and Hallahan tucked it into his top pocket. Then she knew she had to get away.
“All I could think about is ‘How am I going to get up off this [bench] and walk from here? There’s no way in the world I’m going to be able to do it,'” she says.
Hallahan did not know that the gardeners mowing the grass behind them were undercover police. As Dorothy walked away, they pounced.
“He wouldn’t have had any idea that I was going to set him up, not a clue,” Dorothy says now. “That would have shocked him. Oh, he wouldn’t have seen that coming.
But Dorothy didn’t see his face, as shortly after walking away, while the cops swarmed, she fainted.
The trap went to plan. Hallahan was handcuffed and taken away. And Dorothy had just made an enemy out of a powerful man.
While Hallahan was being taken down in New Farm Park, Shirley was living not far away in a police safe house with her four children and husband, Sonny.
She was a nervous wreck. She had been giving formal statements to police for months following her bombshell appearance on This Day Tonight, naming names and ratting out her police mates.
She was set to be the chief witness at Murphy’s perjury trial set for April 1972. Without her testimony, the prosecution case would collapse. She suffered a near-fatal drug overdose and was telling friends and family that her old mates in the Rat Pack were out to get her.
Weeks later, on March 4, 1972, Shirley Brifman was found dead after another drug overdose.
She was 36.
Shirley Brifman’s death
On the evening before she was found dead, Shirley was pacing through her darkened police safehouse in the Brisbane suburb of Clayfield in the city’s inner-north-east.
She was on edge.
Apart from her husband Sonny and the children, there was someone else sleeping in the house that night. Mary Anne’s boyfriend. He asked for a pseudonym to protect his identity — so we’ll call him Graham.
Graham was half asleep on a couch in the front foyer of the flat when he was disturbed just before midnight.
“Have you ever got the feeling when you wake up that someone’s watching you?” he says.
“I woke up and there stood Shirley. She just stood there … beside me. She was really kind of frightened. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ She said, ‘Oh, nothing,’ and she walked away.
Graham says a few minutes later someone came to the flat and talked to Shirley for about 15 minutes. He could not tell if it was a man or a woman.
Mary Anne Brifman also confirmed that a visitor had come to the flat. She said she saw the visitor give her mother what looked like an amber vial of what she assumed were drugs.
Mary Anne says her mother had had many overdoses before that night, but this time “they” delivered drugs that would finally get the job done. Mary Anne believes Shirley feared if she didn’t kill herself, her children would be harmed.
Mary Anne was convinced Tony Murphy was behind the delivery of the drugs. Tony Murphy’s wife, Maureen, has always vehemently denied this allegation, and maintains her husband was in Sydney on the weekend Shirley died.
“She couldn’t take anymore, really,” Mary Anne told me. “If she didn’t do it, they’d do it for her in a bad way. When she put her arm around me [the night of the visitor] it was an odd thing for her to do. It was like she was saying goodbye.”
The next morning, Mary Anne found her mother dead in the spare room of the flat. An autopsy revealed she had died of barbiturate intoxication. Police recommended that an inquest would serve no purpose. This was just a drug overdose.
Shirley Brifman, police whistleblower, was now silent.
As Shirley was being buried in Cairns, Dorothy was fearing for her life and having to place her trust in the police — an institution in which she had recently made powerful enemies.
The sting against Glen Hallahan had failed to stick any charges to the Rat Packer, and police had learned there was a real and tangible threat to Dorothy’s life.
She was guarded in her own home before being moved into a police safehouse.
“Can you imagine? I mean, it was 24/7, and every eight hours there was a different person in my house … not outside my house, inside my house,” Dorothy says.
Dorothy didn’t feel safe, but life had to go on, and she still had to make money.
When she got home from work, the police assigned to protect her would question her for hours on end, drawing out as much information as they could about the brothel kickback scheme.
Dorothy says the cops used dirt they had on her, including unresolved charges from earlier years. She remembers one officer who was especially cruel.
“I was terrified that there were times when he was going to hit me and hurt me and do stupid things, like [he] got hold of a bloody lamington one day and squashed it all over my face,” she says.
Dorothy felt cornered, like she’d hit rock bottom. So she decided to make a run for it. She waited until one of her guards was in the bathroom, then stole his gun, put it in her bag and jumped out the window.
“Don’t ask me why I went out the window,” she says. “I mean I could have opened the friggin’ front door, he was in the toilet. But not me — I got out the window and hurt my bloody leg.”
It was only a brief reprieve. With no plan of where to go or what to do next, Dorothy wound up at a bar, where she sat at a table and took the gun out of her bag.
Instead of taking her to the police station, the police called an ambulance. She was given sedatives and driven back to the safe house.
As time went on, there would only be more complications. She started an affair with one of the officers at the safe house.
“[It] shouldn’t have happened. And he knew it and I knew it,” she says. “We talked and said, ‘Look, this is going to go absolutely nowhere.’
“And of course, the next thing I bloody fell pregnant and that was … that was awful.”
She says they made a hard decision. If you sought an abortion in Queensland in the 1970s, an option was a clandestine booking at a cheap motel. That’s what Dorothy did. But the procedure didn’t go as planned.
“I started to haemorrhage a few days after and I got back in touch with him and I said, ‘What am I going to do? I can’t go trotting off to the bloody hospital,'” Dorothy recalls.
She blames the termination for health complications she suffered later in life.
“Years later, when I started having this urine problem, I went to a specialist on the terrace and I did this special test and this doctor said to me: ‘You’ve had a few abortions, haven’t you? You are extremely scarred down there, and later on in life you’re going to have a lot of urine infections and problems.’
“Well, never a truer word spoken.”
After leaving the safe house Dorothy worked for a while as a cook and in odd jobs. Making so many enemies had made Queensland feel like a claustrophobic place to live.
She still kept a handful of her sex work clients, but it wasn’t the same as before.
In the coming decade, with Dorothy out of the picture, and Shirley Brifman’s reign as Queen of Vice over, another sex worker took up the crown.
And the Rat Pack would come to wield more power than ever before.
A new Queen of Vice
Simone Vogel had worked the streets of Sydney’s Kings Cross since she was a teenager, and had become a close associate of gangster Joe Borg, who ran a number of bordellos in Darlinghurst.
When Borg was killed in a car bomb in mid-1968, Vogel fled north and settled in Brisbane. She briefly worked out of a known “house of ill repute” in the inner-city, but before long her business flair took over and she was soon running her own parlours.
By the mid 1970s, she had a small empire. Vogel single-handedly turned the Brisbane sex scene from a cottage industry into a full-blown money-making machine. Utilising all her expertise from Sydney, she opened massage parlours or “health studios” with themed decor, expensive fittings, booze and food.
The Queen of Vice may have changed, but The Joke remained.
To the horror of the CIU and Dorothy, who’d risked her life to nab him, Hallahan’s corruption trial fell over, and he was only found guilty of minor administrative offences.
Hallahan resigned immediately from the police force, but not his criminal activities.
He briefly hooked up with Vogel. And the members of The Joke paid attention to this up-and-coming entrepreneur.
Vogel thrived only after funnelling tens of thousands of dollars per month to the corrupt cops of the Licensing Branch.
Through 1977, Vogel, who was newly married to a Gold Coast plasterer named Stephen Pavich, confided in family and friends that she wanted to get out of the vice trade.
By then she was living comfortably in a canal-front home at Broadbeach Waters on the Gold Coast, drove a Mercedes and was entertaining many of the coast’s high-flyers and celebrities. Her cover for all the cash coming from her massage parlours was that she owned a string of hairdressing salons.
Perhaps she’d tired of her grubby dealings with corrupt police and felt it was time to enjoy the fruits of her labour.
Whatever the reason, word got around that Simone Vogel was thinking about retirement.
That was a serious problem for the masters of The Joke. Firstly, Vogel made them vast amounts of money. And secondly, she knew the corruption network inside out.
One honest member of the Licensing Branch, Kingsley Fancourt, briefly interviewed Vogel in the mid-1970s and believed she was on the brink of telling all she knew about corruption in the Queensland police force.
“She was a well-spoken woman,” Fancourt says. “She conducted herself in a very stately manner. I actually got two statements out of her.
“I was starting to … get information. It was well known she was going to start name dropping and all the rest of it.”
On Friday, September 16, 1977, Simone Vogel received a phone call at one of her parlours. Someone arranged a meeting with her “at the same parking spot as before”, according to one of her workers who overheard the conversation.
Vogel then hastily arranged $6,000 in cash to take to the meeting — roughly equivalent at that time to a police officer’s annual salary in a bag. No one knows who she met or where.
But Simone Vogel never returned. She vanished into thin air.
Her disappearance was reported to Roma Street police headquarters in Brisbane two days later.
Detective Keith Smith happened to be working his shift that day. And what appeared to be a missing persons case soon turned into a possible murder investigation, given her connection to the corrupt Licensing Branch and their underworld ties.
“She could bring them all down at any time,” Keith told me. “I think she might just have had a gutful and said, ‘I’m getting outta here,’ but they said, ‘No, you can’t go.’ She’s not allowed just to walk away. She knows too much.”
There had recently been change at the top of the police force. Rat Packer Terry Lewis was Queensland police commissioner, having ascended to the top in November 1976 after Ray Whitrod was successfully ousted.
Keith Smith was put in charge of the investigation, and soon came to the conclusion that the Licensing Branch may have had a hand in Simone’s vanishing.
He felt compelled to share his suspicions with his then boss, Tony Murphy.
“In those days I had a great deal of respect for [Murphy],” says Smith. “That’s how I came to make the stupid mistake of going in and telling him that there might have been police involvement in corruption in the massage parlours. The biggest mistake I ever made.”
Murphy took Smith off the case and replaced him with two new detectives who had access to his records while they reinvestigated Vogel’s case.
Four years after her disappearance, a coronial inquest failed to unearth any new evidence as to how Vogel vanished or her whereabouts.
In their 22-page report written in March 1981, Murphy’s new detectives wrote they suspected Simone’s husband, Stephen Pavich, organised her murder. They included details of how Pavich had physically and mentally abused Simone for years.
However, the coroner did not find enough evidence to recommend charging Pavich with murder, and returned an open finding.
Keith Smith mulled over the Vogel case well into retirement.
“Nothing more has ever happened to the inquiry,” Smith says. “There was never any fresh evidence brought forward. It just died.”
Vogel joined the tragic list of sex workers who never lived to tell their tale.
After 45 years, it remains a cold case.
The Rat Pack meets their match
In 1987, 10 years after Simone Vogel’s disappearance, and almost a quarter of a century on from Shirley Brifman giving evidence to the National Hotel inquiry, The Joke remained in full swing.
Rat Packer Terry Lewis was still commissioner. Murphy retired in 1982 but was still powerfully connected to his old colleagues in the force.
And the National Party’s Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen had been premier of Queensland for almost 20 years.
But a perfect storm was on its way.
ABC Four Corners investigative journalist Chris Masters had been lurking around Far North Queensland and Brisbane in late 1986 after a tip-off about Queensland corruption.
Over several months, the journalist gathered evidence and interviewed whistleblowers about police corruption and its links to organised crime.
When his epochal report, The Moonlight State, went to air in May 1987 all hell broke loose.
With Premier Bjelke-Petersen out of the country at the time, acting premier Bill Gunn pledged a royal commission into the show’s allegations. Tony Fitzgerald QC was appointed as commissioner.
Crooked cops and politicians expected the inquiry to run out of gas in a few weeks. They were wrong. They could not have foreseen that one of the first witnesses — an educated woman who went under the pseudonym of Katherine James — had a story to tell that would blow the inquiry apart.
James came from a good school in Brisbane. She was a highly intelligent woman, who by her late teens owned and ran a massage parlour, and then became a serious player in Brisbane’s vice scene.
She took the torch from Simone Vogel, and was just as canny in her business dealings. She spent time managing the city’s two major vice consortiums.
But James wanted more. She wanted to run her own parlour as an independent operator outside the control of the vice consortiums, which fiercely protected their stake in the industry.
James spent a fortune setting up her parlour — Xanadu, in South Brisbane — and paid corrupt police a huge sum for the green light to operate, then was double-crossed. The cops took the cash, but the parlour was never permitted to operate.
By the time the Fitzgerald Inquiry came around, she was ready to blow the lid on the entire operation of The Joke. Shirley Brifman. Dorothy Edith Knight. Simone Vogel. Now it was time for Katherine James.
Of all the generational sex workers who had tried to stand up and expose police corruption, she was potentially the most lethal to their empire.
She knew their dirty system inside and out. She’d managed it for the underworld vice consortiums, and dealt personally with the main players in The Joke. She knew where the money trails led, and was brilliant with figures.
“Katherine knew what happened to women like her who stood up to coppers … and that she could now face the same fate for speaking out,” says Nigel Powell, a former Queensland policeman and whistleblower who knew James from his time working in the Licensing Branch in the late 1970s.
“That’s what happens when you hang around and you try to inform on bent coppers, bent police, bent politicians, bent lawyers, bent judges.
“Had she not come forward, that whole commission would have wrapped up within six months to a year. They had nobody.”
James produced a witness statement for the Fitzgerald Inquiry that, in essence, laid bare the internal workings of the entire corrupt system. She gave evidence wearing a disguise and protected by a screen to hide her identity. What she revealed to the court was explosive and its impact immediate.
“She gave very detailed evidence about the operations of the system,” says Margaret Simons, a journalist who was in the courtroom when James gave evidence.
“For the first time, we were hearing evidence from somebody who’d worked in the system. So it was really a matter of pulling at a thread on the frayed edge and watching the whole fabric unravel.
“Katherine James gave direct evidence of wide scale misconduct and corruption, with specific names attached to specific allegations, and that was hugely significant. It was the first breach of the dam wall of silence.”
The corrupt police named by James fell like dominoes, grasping at indemnities from prosecution. In quick succession, the allegations before the inquiry reached the office of Commissioner Terry Lewis.
He was suspended from duties on full pay, and later sacked. Lewis was charged with 23 counts of perjury, corruption and forgery, and sentenced to 14 years in prison. He was also stripped of his knighthood by the Queen.
Dozens more police and politicians were convicted at subsequent trials and jailed.
And Premier Bjelke-Petersen was ousted by his party and tipped from the premiership, before facing perjury charges which were dropped due to a hung jury.
In his final years the former premier asked for $353 million compensation from taxpayers for the pain and suffering he alleged he received at the hands of the Fitzgerald Inquiry — a request rejected by the Queensland government in 2003.
James, meanwhile, was another sex worker who dared to take on the might of the system. She did not pay the ultimate price, but she lost her life as she knew it.
She was immediately placed in witness protection during the inquiry — Queensland didn’t have a witness protection program until Katherine James — and has since lived her life in rural Queensland.
Her identity is still protected. And while she has gone on to lead a fulfilling life, the shadow of The Joke still hangs over her.
As for Dorothy Edith Knight, that other great survivor, she was excited when the Fitzgerald Inquiry was established, and was fully prepared to get up in the witness box and tell all she knew about Glen Hallahan and his fellow grafters in the 60s and early 70s.
“We had enough to, well, put me on the stand, for starters,” she says. “I did expect to be called up.”
But it never happened.
The great survivor
For Dorothy Edith Knight, that singular moment in New Farm Park during a muggy late December in 1971 changed her life.
She spent 14 months in witness protection after entrapping one of the most dangerous corrupt police officers in Queensland history, then saw the case fall over.
“If I’d known what I was about to get into with that sting operation, I never would have done it,” she says now.
She had risked her life to get Hallahan, put her future health in jeopardy, and her story was consigned to history and forgotten. It was as if it never happened.
Dorothy believes she deserves recognition for assisting Whitrod’s Criminal Intelligence Unit all those years ago, and some form of financial compensation for the hardship, both physical and mental, that followed.
But her efforts have come to nothing. In a response to questions from the ABC, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll says senior police had investigated a compensation request made by Dorothy in December 2019 and determined there was insufficient support for her claim.
It is a painful legacy. Women like Shirley Brifman, Simone Vogel and Dorothy Edith Knight were exploited because they were sex workers. They each played a part in organised crime, and also profited from it.
But bit by bit, they helped expose the hypocrisy and corruption of the men who maintained that Queensland was a God-fearing place of law and order.
They revealed the lie at the heart of Queensland’s systems of power, and exposed themselves to considerable danger to do so. Some of them are no longer alive to tell their side of the story.
Glen Hallahan is dead. So is Tony Murphy, Frank Bischof, and a swathe of underlings in the police force that did Bischof’s bidding. And many of the good cops, too, like Keith Smith, who passed away just weeks after being interviewed for the Dig: Sirens Are Coming podcast.
But not Dorothy Edith Knight.
She is one of the last living witnesses to this extraordinary era. And she would like some belated justice.
“What I’m disappointed about is that nobody’s listening to me,” she says.
“I really would like to be heard. I would really like somebody to say, ‘Well, you know, she did do the right thing. She tried hard, and she suffered for it.'”
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