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Juanita Nielsen, suburban news publisher foul murder 30 years ago

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Juanita Nielsen was a stylish Potts Point/Kings Cross heiress and local publisher murdered in July 1975. It is generally assumed it was criminal elements doing the bidding of high density urban developer interests reacting to her crusading for the bohemian heritage character of her suburb.

A book asserting this scenario was released in early 2004 perhaps in anticipation of this years's 30th anniversary of her death. See the book cover pictured. As such she has become the patron saint of urban heritage activists as evidenced by this link from Green Party MP Lee Rhiannon:

Click here for Green MP's Juanita Nielsen Memorial Lecture series.

Barry Ward now based in the UK, and another working journalist colleague of his, investigated the case at the time over several years - with many bruises and much legal duress for their trouble - and continue to promote the view that the otherwise plausible 'crook developer' version was a corrupt police red herring.

Ward argues in recent correspondence to ecology action he has the evidence to prove police foul play and has published on this fairly well known public affairs web site in Australia in latish 2004:

(Barry Ward has also penned a rather grim 'fiction' crime story with the usual disclaimers of resemblance to reality with a central character 'Anita Nelson'. The first chapter is an attention getting shocker. Not suitable for children.)

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Ecology Action have been contacted 30th June 2005 by Peter Rees author of the book above to reject outright Barry Ward's thesis, arguing with great concern and obviously emotionally and professionally invested in his truth, that developer(s) really did do it.  He points out "Killing Juanita was awarded the Ned Kelly Award for True Crime  Writing 2004".
 
Peter Rees writes us for general information, at the risk of provoking more discussion:
 
"Comments on your site about my book, Killing Juanita, have been drawn to my attention.

I am rather surprised that you have chosen to give publicity, without having read the book, to views that are based on pure fantasy. [EAS: we happily defer to other more expert writers, we haven't read his book for time, no gratis review copy]

 

I’m perplexed by the suggestion that my book is based on a false premise [a term EAS have deleted from a picture caption as indeed too loaded] to benefit the NSW police. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

If you had read the book you would realise this.

 

If you had read the book, you would have noted that I reveal a scenario whereby the cover-up of Juanita’s murder went to the very top of the NSW police – that is, the police commissioner himself.

 

As to suggestions that Juanita was not killed because of her opposition to Victoria Street, and that evidence exists to prove this, I think it would be beneficial to produce such evidence, or else spare your readers from this fallacy.

 

Alleged dossiers on corruption that Juanita was alleged to have had DO NOT EXIST.

 

They never did. Juanita’s partner, both business and personal, David Farrell, never saw them. According to David, they discussed everything that she was doing in relation to her activities, yet she never mentioned them to him. Why have they not turned up?

 

This was, I suggest, a red herring that served the killers well. It took the focus away from them and Victoria Street, and away from the Carousel Cabaret where she disappeared.

 

Likewise the allegation that she never went to the Carousel Cabaret but to the Lido, which was another club close by, was also a claim that benefited the killers.

 

I find it amazing that some people who should know better appear to have a vested interest in not wanting this crime solved, but rather to justify old discredited theories they’ve clung to for far too long.

 

I have spent the past 30 on this case, conducting my own inquiries with Arthur King, who was himself kidnapped in Victoria on behalf of the developer Frank Theeman.

 

Articles we wrote led to the federal Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Crime Authority to conduct a long inquiry into the relationship between the National Crime Authority and James McCartney Anderson, the manager of the club where Juanita disappeared, and friend of the late developer Frank Theeman, against whom she was principally campaigning in Victoria Street.

 

Their report makes interesting reading. After considering a vast volume of evidence and interviewing many of the people involved, the committee reached a similar conclusion to mine.

 

(The National Crime Authority and James McCartney Anderson report is available via:

 

http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/report_register/byKeylist.asp?id=454

 

I recommend it for a good understanding of this case.)

 

The evidence and witnesses that I uncovered during my inquiries forced the NSW police to reopen the investigation last year.

 

Apart from Jim Anderson who organised the killing for the benefit of Frank Theeman, others involved are still alive.

 

Rather than sniping from the sidelines, I think it would be a good idea if everybody who is interested brought pressure on the NSW police to solve this scandal instead.

 

Peter Rees

Author, Killing Juanita"

 
Well, thankyou Peter! Actually we here feel fine about airing Ward's view as an early player in the controversy,  which links we first saw via ezine Crikey.com.au from memory, because Ward tells us in correspondence from abroad he had to leave Australia to save body and soul from violent forces and we felt alot of sympathy for that explanation of his journey. Also it seems significant to EAS that crook dangerous police feature in both the Rees and Ward gospel versions. Ward says equally disparaging things about Rees and Arthur King regretably, so there is quite a bit of pride in this argument but not from EAS.
 
Our principal has met Arthur King when he was a staffer with anti corruption and poltical giant John Hatton MP now retired, as a temporary staffer fro Clover Moore MP around 1992. Arthur struck me as a credible hard working personality too making Ward's criticsims confusing. (I remember well Arthur saying kindly in those hectic environs "brevity is golden", so true working for a cross bencher.)
 
And another motive here at EAS is to get the discussion going on Juanita's anniversary.
 
Especially when one hears, as we do from first hand accounts, the famous govt  busting Qld Fitgerald Inquiry detected the scourge of organised crime there followed a trail from a franchise operation out of organised crime in Sydney and NSW of the 1970s if not before.
 
On the other hand who could be surprised as Rees says that developer violence and police corruption were merged in Juanita's case. I stumbled on another possible source in all this last year namely a reputable real estate agent who happily volunteered to this writer he was a junior employee for the developers implicated in some way with the Nielson controversy who might have more information to offer as a useful witness? I doubt he would have mentioned it to this overt greenie if he had anything to hide.

We at EAS offer our suspicion that like the elephant and the blind man fable Rees and Ward are likely both right from different perspectives,  but with inevitable corrections and clarifications in a yet to be finalised synthesis, if ever.

In any case the 30th anniversary memorial of Juanita Nielsen's death 4th July 2005 is a very fitting time to celebrate her courage and convictions in support of free speech and the public controlling their urban environment and against corruption. There is no doubt she died as a martyr and an inspiration to independent press like our delivery runs for City Hub and Sydney City News. Pictured above is her family crypt which has fallen into some dis-repair apparently though her memorial cross is quite good with actual date of her disappearance. It should be noted her body was never found leading to many lurid stories of burial in building concrete foundations etc

Last updated 1st July 2005.

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