Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Juanita Nielsen

It must be time that this woman with a seventies beehive was dug up. But who knows where she is? She was presumably murdered back in 1975 by those associated with property developers who had grand, and I am sure very lucrative, architectural plans for Victoria Street in Kings Cross/Potts Point. I wrote a bit about her back when we were last in Sydney in early 2006.

Son of now dead Sydney 'colourful 'Cross identity, Abe Saffron', reckons it was one of his father's close business associates who did the final deed.

Perhaps her body went into the foundations of a property development, the third runway at Sydney airport, somewhere in the country near a main road, or as the latest suggests, Sydney Harbour.

Anyone my age and older would have a recollection of how corrupt Sydney was when New South Wales was under the rule of State Premier Sir Robert Askin. I might be sued if I suggested it was also very corrupt under the rule of Nifty Nev, Premier Neville Wran and as he is still alive, I won't. [note, verify Wran is still alive and did he and Jill separate?]

Juanita was against the re-development of Victoria Street in Kings Cross and Potts Point, the street where she lived. She led a campaign against the developers and brutal vested interests murdered her. Many of those who were involved or were witnesses or people of interest are now dead and more will die in the near future.

Before too many more of those who involved or may have been witnesses die, it must be time for some modern police investigative tecniques and forensics to be brought into play, perhaps under the authority of a Royal Commission.

Her death had been a concern of mine since I saw a tv show about her demise many years ago. After visiting Victoria Street and liking it rather a lot, it was well worth defending. It is a lovely and interesting street.

Of course she was a rich bitch, an heir to the Mark Foys deparment stores and and so could indulge herself in her protest movement, but she was also an interesting person in her own right.

This link is good ten minute read but well worth it if you want to understand more and what Sydney was like in the seventies and even eighties and of course about her. Our ABC did a bit on it in 2004. Put her name into google and there is plenty of stuff about her, including this
which will give you more on her background.

Yep, a full and proper inquiry is needed and some people, including cops, the rich and policians need to be held to account.


  1. Heaven help anyone who stands up to big money, and the same applies now as much as then.

  2. Hopefully not quite so blatant.

  3. Was there a film based on this case? I don't recall any one getting murdered. It was set in a heatwave, and as the temperature increased, so did the tension. Until the residents won the case, when a "southerly buster" came through at just the right moment to cool everything down.

  4. I think there was Ben and I saw it but my memory is confused by Judi Davis in I think Winter of our Dreams, around the same time. Maybe that was the movie.

  5. Anonymous12:06 pm

    Hi Highriser,

    Have you read the book "Killing Juanita" by Peter Rees. It is a fascinating book but also quite harrowing to read. I notice that Google books has scanned in the majority of this book if you can stand reading things that way.I would also like to see some resolution to the Melbourne Easey St Murders - another disturbing unsolved case.

    Google Books Killing Juanita

  6. Thanks Livv. I am not great at online reading but I will skim. I recall the Easey Street murders too. I believe Victoria does have an informal 'cold case' group of police.

  7. "Perhaps her body went into the foundations of a property development, the third runway at Sydney airport.." She was murdered or disappeared well before the 3rd runway was built. There is a great book on Askin by journalist David Hickie called "the Prince and the Premier".

  8. Yes, I know that Firehorse. I remember when the runway was built, so I am not sure why I wrote it. I have heard of the book.

  9. Anonymous2:10 am

    Juanita's remains will never be found. Her body was destroyed minutes after her murder at the Lido Motel, Roslyn Street.
    This is where she was lured on that fateful day. She didn't go to The Carousel to keep the "advertising appointment" that is central to the police version of events. This was a red herring, part of the cover-up, like the incongruous photograph of her "final sighting" which was designed to confuse those witnesses who may have seen Juanita on her final walk.
    Tony Reeves and I spoke to several of these in our long investigation. All said "no she wasn't wearing a red leather coat so I must have seen her on another day...."
    But we traced a female witness, one who knew Juanita well, who saw her two hours after the "final sighting" and dressed quite differently. This person had very good reasons for recalling the time and date, reasons I was able to confirm. The witness gave this info to the cops but the following day they released the incongruous photo..."They've ignored all I told them," the witness said. "Their version is all lies..."
    Juanita was murdered for what she was about to publish on organised crime and police and political corruption. Her death had nothing to do with the Victoria Point development: that was another red herring...
    For more background see:
    Then go to and you'll find my book The Nelson Conspiracy, which some might say is the the story of our investigation into the Nielsen Conspiracy...

    Barry Ward

  10. I just watched a vid. on utube
    lots of inaccuracies.

    My family lived in Brougham St. from 1940 until 1980. Being part of the Kings Cross 'neighbourhood'
    it was common knowledge that she was about to 'expose' curruption rather that anything to do with the Green Ban. 'knew too much' was the expression used. Most people who lived at the Cross knew about the corruption, it was a part of life. Juanita went against the grain of the 'silent' code necessary to 'exist' in this area.

    For example: The detectives were obvious in their takings of $90 per prostitute, per night in Bourke St., where I resided in 1973I could have proven it but, who would one tell .. the police ??

  11. Thanks Minerva. I have never been along Brougham Street. Must do so next time I am around there. They sure were interesting times.

  12. Further to my response above, readers who may care to know more of the true story should read a couple of recent blogs I've put on-line.
    This one is replicates the cover story I wrote for The Bulletin on the 25th anniversary of the murder. There was no response, legal or otherwise....

    Here's another

    My book on the subject is The Girl Who Knew Too Much, and is now available on-line via

    Barry Ward

  13. Juanita Nielsen was murdered for the corruption and organised crime that she was working on. This organised crime is still around today with her murderer still walking the streets. In the Cross Fire is based on the virtual true story of Juanita and why a brothel has problems opening in the heart of Kings Cross even today.

  14. Thanks Jennifer. I think it is important to keep up awareness of this case. No crime is insolvable given enough resources.

  15. Anonymous12:18 am

    Juanita was very smart,she had disappeared before,so she'd said with a wry smile, to Norway or some place, could have been Denmark, she had said, so long ago, it was.
    She saw disappearing always as an option she had said, when discussing her past. "New Horizons, always inviting" Juanita Was seen way after the kerfuffle, at least 1 year later, in Centrepoint. Staring in, wearing a wig high on her head, as she did, but of a different colour. There was no one, who looked even vaguely like her, impossible to muddle up with someone else, with her pale skin and unusual choices of clothing and upright stance and movement. Also the length of time she stood there,then when I came out to say Hello and catch up, she bolted like a startled deer, who had been caught in a headlight.Juanita wanted to see what we were up to, but didn't want to talk.
    So I would offer you guys another scenario. One that would include the lady handing over all she knew to the police, and in return, offered the only possible freedom for her, a faked death. So her old enemies would not come looking.
    The trouble with Juanita incognito, was that her distinctive fine features and height and choices would always single her out to people involved in fashion. Impossible to get wrong
    So if she was murdered. it was at least one year later.

    1. Thank you. Your theory is plausible and you know what your saw, but most evidence seems to point to an early murder.

    2. Anonymous9:01 pm

      Yes, After seeing her, I gave such a lot of thought about reporting the sighting and decided that if that was the way Juanita decided to get herself out of deep water, then she was doing so for a very sound reason, and everyone knew, who were part of the Sydney scene at that time, there were corrupt elements both sides of the law, back then.
      Even for someone like Juanita with such a strong personality, and a keen sense of justice, when enough was enough she was smart enough to walk away.
      The last thing I would do would be to add to her dillemma.
      I will tell you, I had spent a good deal of time with her on a variety of occasions, She was not a gossip and played things quite close to her chest, but on a couple of occasions her background and relationship with the Foys and a longing to change her circumstances did come out,
      and has for me played over in my mind, I did consider getting in touch with her business partner, but the more I thought of her standing there, in that unlikely looking wig, just standing there and peering in at me. But then taking off like a startled rabbit, when I could get out to come and see her. Then thinking of everything I had previously read, suggesting she was in real trouble, and remembering her comments about disappearing, and wanting to, I deccided I was on her side, whatever side that was, and stayed silent. It is many years later, and there must be some other sightings, or leads that can be followed up.
      Didn't it occur that the police info was a bit weird.


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