Murdered nurses: Inquest exposes city's dark underbelly

Sydney nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans.
Sydney nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans. State Coroner’s Office

THIS week's coronial inquest into the murders of Sydney nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans in 1974 proved a shocking eye-opener and a window to criminal activities in Toowoomba in the 1970s.

Like many Toowoombaites, I am left wondering what the hell was going on in our Garden City of the time?

Having grown up in Toowoomba in the 1970s, I well remember the murders as would every other person living in the city at the time, unlike what was told to the inquest by some who claimed they hadn't heard of the killings until years later.

It was the news of the day.

What I hadn't realised until this week was the culture of violence that existed, and, for some reason, was tolerated.

If witness Trevor Hilton is to be believed, at least one group of thugs was assaulting people in the main street and grabbing girls, bundling them into cars, driving them into the bush and raping them.

"Everyone in the town knew what was going on," he told the inquest.

"I don't know why it wasn't stopped in them days?"

Why indeed!

Trevor Hilton at the inquest into the unsolved murders of nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans.
Trevor Hilton at the inquest into the unsolved murders of nurses Lorraine Wilson and Wendy Evans. Bev Lacey

Some might simply dismiss Mr Hilton's claims as the ramblings of a former criminal who had done jail time for drink-driving offences and had convictions for assault himself.

But since hearing his evidence, I have spoken to quite a few people older than me who told me they well remember such things going on, or at least to have heard of such things going on.

And, from what I have since heard, a number of different groups of men could have been involved.

If that is the case, and so many people knew about it, what were the police of the day doing?

Why didn't victims come forward to police?

Did the thugs hold so much terror over them that the victims were too frightened to come forward?

Well, The Chronicle is offering those victims a chance to come forward and tell their story.

Their anonymity will be respected if that is their wish.

If this period of our history was as dark as was painted through the inquest this week, it's time it was addressed.



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