In the early 90s, three children went missing from the same street over the course of four months. If it had happened in Sydney, we’d never hear the end of it, but because the kids were Indigenous, and lived in Bowraville, one of the state’s poorest towns, barely anyone has heard of the case. More than twenty years later, the white man responsible for the children’s murders has never been convicted. This week we look into the Bowraville murders, to try and figure out exactly why justice has never been granted to the families of Colleen Walker, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux.
On September 13, 1990, sixteen-year-old Colleen Walker went missing from The Mission, the Aboriginal part of the town of Bowraville in New South Wales. A month later, four-year-old Evelyn Greenup went missing from the same street. Four months after that, sixteen-year-old Clinton Speedy-Duroux went missing as well.
Rather than assume a serial killer was on the loose, Bowraville police were apathetic, telling the families of the missing children that their kids had probably gone “walkabout”.
When the bones of two of the children were found in the same stretch of forest, seven kilometres away from the town, it was clear that foul play was involved. What followed was a slapdash homicide investigation by inexperienced detectives, the creation of a task force, two trials, multiple inquiries and attempted government intervention – and a killer still walking free.
Our main source this week was the government inquiry, released in 2014. Be warned, she’s a chunky read https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/inquiries/2131/Bowraville%20-%20Final%20report.pdf
These are the submissions presented to the inquiry from the victims’ families. You may cry. https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/other/7740/2%20May%202014%20Redacted%20transcript.pdf
For some good investigative journalism, we present this article from the Monthly. https://www.themonthly.com.au/monthly-essays-malcolm-knox-mission-bowraville-murders-2786
You can listen to the Bowraville podcast on your favourite podcast app, or listen to it on your browser if you’re old and haven’t quite worked out this whole podcast thing yet https://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/bowraville
For some more insight into the legal issues of this case that we don’t fully understand ourselves, head here https://sydney.edu.au/news-opinion/news/2018/09/20/how-the-law-failed-the-victims-of-the-bowraville-murder-case.html