By Paul B. Kidd   

Adelaide — Australia's City of Corpses

Map of Australia with Adelaide locator.
Map of Australia with Adelaide locator.

Laid-back Adelaide, the capital of South Australia with its population of one million, is small in comparison to most of the other capital cities of Australia. Rich in culture and beauty, Adelaide and its surrounding districts are responsible for some of the finest wines in Australia.

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Throughout Adelaide, seemingly on every corner, are houses of worship of all denominations. For this reason Adelaide is referred to as the City of Churches. And they have never had to canvas for business. South Australians are notoriously reverent.

Adelaide's Skyline
Adelaide's Skyline

But there is an inexplicable dark side to Adelaide. Some are now choosing to call it the "City of Corpses." And it is not hard to understand why. Per capita Adelaide and environs has recorded more of Australia's most notorious crimes than any other Australian capital city. In the annals of Australia's most horrific crimes, laid-back Adelaide's sinister past (and present) makes other cities look like Camelot.

Here's just some of Adelaide's appalling track record of carnage in modern times;

1958: Rupert Max Stuart rapes and murders nine-year-old Mary Olive Hattam at Thevenard.

Rupert Max Stuart
Rupert Max Stuart

1966: The three Beaumont children aged 4, 7 and 9 are abducted from Glenelg Beach.

Glenelg Beach
Glenelg Beach

1971: In South Australia's worst mass murders, ten members of the Bartholomew family, comprising of eight children and two women, are shot to death by a man at Hope Forest.

1972: Homosexual Adelaide University Law lecturer, Dr. George Duncan is thrown into the Torrens River and drowns. Two Adelaide vice squad detectives are eventually charged with the death.

1973: Schoolgirl Joanne Ratcliffe, 11, and Kirsty Gordon, 4, disappear from Adelaide Oval while attending a football match and are never seen again.

Adelaide Oval
Adelaide Oval

1976-77: In Australia's worst serial murders, seven women aged 15 to 26, go missing in and around Adelaide over a 51-day period from Christmas 1976. Their skeletal remains are discovered in the Truro district in the Adelaide foothills several years later in what becomes known as The Mass Murders of Truro. James Miller is sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for his part in the murders.

James Miller
James Miller

1979: David Szach murders his lover, lawyer Derrance Stevenson, and conceals the body in a freezer in Parkside.

1979-83: Between 1979 and 1983 in what would become known as "the Family Murders," five men are abducted, drugged, held captive, sexually assaulted, hideously mutilated and murdered.

1984: Sexual sadist Bevan Von Einem is tried for the horrific torture and murder of a 15-year-old youth. Later, Von Einem is charged with numerous other horrendous crimes relating to the "Family Murders."

1994: A letter bomb kills Sergeant Geoff Bowen at the Adelaide offices of the National Crime Authority.

1999: In "the case of the casked cadavers in the crypt," six bodies are found in casks filled with acid in a bank vault in rural Snowtown, which leads police to the discovery of another five bodies buried in and around Adelaide. Four men are charged with murder.

Of these cases there are four that are deeply etched into the annals of Australia's most notorious crimes. They are; The Truro Murders, The Snowtown Serial Murders, The Missing Beaumont Children and The Family Murders. The Truro and Snowtown Murders are already covered in The Crime Library.

The mysteries of the missing Beaumont children and the Family Murders could have been linked by the sinister activities of a monster.

1. Adelaide — Australia's City of Corpses

2. The Missing Beaumont Children

3. The Family Murders

4. The Tall Blond Man

5. More Murder Charges

6. The Case for The Crown

7. Resolution to the Beaumont Children Mystery?

8. Committal and Dismay

9. The Author

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Archibald McCafferty
The Truro Murders
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Ivan Milat The Backpacker Murders

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