Introduction to a Robbery and Mayhem.

My latest series was difficult to write in many ways. It is possibly the fact that it was true. As I dug up the bones of long buried facts and replaced the flesh the reconstructed body was quite haunting. Anyway I told you that. But I enjoy the writing of it and so I intend to run another story with similarly lengthed episodes. Those of you who are welded on followers will have read it before. There a many of you who have not. So here are a few notes to begin with.

I joined the Army. That is a fact – I actually did join the Army. I already knew about the Robbery. That is a fact. Then I imagined myself solving one of the unsolved elements of the robbery. From then on it is all fiction except that some of the characters are based on fact. It’s a bit like buying a block of land and building a house. First there is the solid concrete foundation. Then you sit on the trunk of a tree that you cut down to make room for the house. From then on the creation derives from your imagination.


The following is a blatant copy and paste from the internet.

The Great Bookie Robbery was a crime committed in Melbourne  on 21 April 1976.

A well-organised gang of six stole what is widely believed to be from $14–16 million (in 2011 the equivalent of $88 million) from bookmakers in the Victoria Club, which was located on the second floor of a building in Queen Street, Melbourne. The true figure for the amount stolen has never been confirmed, as the Victoria Club quoted the missing figure to police as only $1 million to avoid the attention of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The gang included Raymond “Chuck” Bennett, who is believed to have been the mastermind, Ian Carroll, Laurence Prendergast and Norman Lee. They rented an office several floors above and hid the money in that room’s safe before coolly walking out of the building and onto the street days after the event.

The identity of the robbers was widely known in the underworld and so Bennett became the target of standover men, who included Brian and Leslie Kane, and corrupt police demanding part of the proceeds. The Kane brothers were particularly violent psychopaths who wanted ‘their cut’ and were willing to torture, mutilate and kill to get their own way. After being told that the Kanes intended to kill him, Bennett, Prendergast and Vincent Mikkleson killed Leslie Kane on 19 October 1978 and went into hiding. The three were later arrested for the murder but as the body was never found, the charges were dismissed. With Brian Kane threatening to kill him, Bennett was arrested on a minor charge in 1979. While being escorted by police from the courthouse holding cells to the courtroom, he was taken up a flight of stairs into the path of a man, disguised as a barrister. The man shot Bennett several times in the chest. Bennett tried to flee but collapsed on the courthouse steps and died a short time later. Although Brian Kane was suspected, circumstantial evidence suggested a conspiracy to kill Bennett, which included senior members of the Victorian Police, most notably Brian Murphy with whom Bennett had a long-standing feud.

No one has ever been arrested for Bennett’s murder, which was, in effect, an execution.

The money was never recovered and although Norman Lee was charged, he was later acquitted. None of the other members of the gang was ever convicted. Prendergast disappeared in 1985, and apart from Lee, the rest of the gang had all been murdered by the end of 1987. In 1992, Lee was killed by police during a heist at Melbourne Airport.

Lee’s lawyer, Phillip Dunn, QC, later revealed the details of the crime, including the identities of all those involved.

As no one was ever jailed or convicted, the Great Bookie robbery technically remains an unsolved crime.

The facts can be check by anyone. Here is the link. But you don’t need to check because you just read it.

At RAEME (Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers)Training Centre in Wodonga junior officers and Warrant Officers live in normal suburban houses in a normal suburban area – all your neighbours are Army. One day three or four families were enjoying a barbeque and one of the fellows there, who worked in Armaments wing told me a bit of a story about how the robbers acquired a machine gun to use during the robbery. He told me how it was done.

All that is the foundation. Everything up to that day at the BBQ is fact as I remember it. After that I let my imagination run riot. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, · Creeps in this petty pace from day to day. (MacBeth)

I hope you enjoy it.

11 thoughts on “Introduction to a Robbery and Mayhem.

  1. — “As I dug up the bones of long buried facts and replaced the flesh…”
    I wonder how many others have a memory from years past that suddenly, unexpectedly resurfaces bringing with it vivid images of times gone.


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