From the creator of the Walkley Award-winning podcast comes the story of a small Australian town, the murders of three children and a desperate fight for justice.
A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted.
More than two decades later, homicide detective Gary Jubelin contacted Dan Box, asking him to pursue this serial killing. At that time, few others in the justice system seemed to know – or care – about the murders in Bowraville. Dan spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawyers, police officers and even the suspect involved in what had happened. His investigation, as well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the authorities to reconsider the killings. This account asks painful questions about what ‘justice’ means and how it is delivered, as well as describing Dan’s own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line.
Praise for the Bowraville podcast:
'It is a gripping true crime tale and an essay on racism; a challenge to the lies Australia tells itself about its treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people told through the voices of three Aboriginal families who have been indisputably let down … The podcast has galvanised the public in a way that two decades of print and television reporting on the Bowraville murders have not.’ The Guardian
'A masterful example of crime reporting which forensically details the worst of human nature, inexplicably compounded by the gross negligence of the only people who could provide justice. It’s stirred thousands, including the prime suspect, to re-engage with the case after trusting the journalist to take them to dark places.’ Walkley judges’ comments
‘Outstanding.’ Leigh Sales
‘Moving, brilliant.’ Annabel Crabb
'If you haven't listened to Bowraville by Dan Box, then you should.’ David Campbell
“Between every line of every page rests Dan Box’s big burning heart and a vast journalistic mind that never ever stops digging for answers. And the cruelest find of all might be to know that justice is not the same thing for everyone in the lucky country. Microscopic in detail, epic in importance. A heart-breaking, gut-punching masterwork of long form journalism. It’s wholly impossible to put it down but every Australian needs to pick it up. The next time you hear someone undermining the value of investigative journalism, please feel free to throw this book at them, hard, avoiding the eyes.”
“This is an exceptional book that will force you to re-examine your belief in longstanding legal principles. And there is the paradox of the journalist determined to maintain his objectivity in searching for the truth who realises the further he searches, the more he has become a campaigner for the families and is even, to his dismay, a potential unwitting player in criminal proceedings.”
Martin Leonard, The Australian
“This book has no neat ending; the victim’s loved ones get no closure. A killer still walks free, despite the campaigning of the families, the hard work of advocates within the justice system, and Box’s efforts to draw the case back into the public eye. But this book is an admirable gesture in acknowledging how these children and their families were wronged, and why we must always strive to do better by the marginalised people in our community.”
Ellen Cregan, Readings
“Bowraville is undeniably an important book – not only because it does what any good true-crime book should do: showing us how crimes are really investigated and tried, debunking the television myth that all murders are solved instantly. Bowraville also shows how – even when the police are sympathetic – the system can disadvantage Aboriginal people, not just because of mutual distrust, but because of cultural differences that hinder communication and understanding. Early in the book, Box mentions that he decided to investigate the case because of a belief that the Bowraville murders should be as well known as the Beaumont murders. He’s right: every Australian should read this book.”
Stephen Dedman, Australian Book Review