Peter Doyle’s books include The Big Whatever (2015) and the City of Shadows: Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1948. He is currently completing a book of forensic photographs to be called Suburban Noir. He is an associate professor of Media at Macquarie University.
All essays by Peter Doyle
Before there were call centres, help desks, delivery bikes and Uber, before labour hire firms and all the rest started offering young people new ways of working long and hard for doubtful return, before the term ‘gig economy’ had come into being – before all that the one way to make a quick, modest dollar was to drive cabs on the night shift. It was a Sydney thing.
The Last Boogie Woogie
Richard tells me I should meet this old guy he knows, Jimmy Somerville, a strong union man, living legend – he remembers everything, Richard says – including that famous night during the war when tenor player Merv Acheson shot a bloke on stage at the 2KY Radiotorium over a missing shipment of illegal whisky.
Stranger In The House
The Slasher case begun in early 1956, when a cluster of disparate reports of prowler activity, break and enters and assaults on sleeping women were registered in the Kingsgrove and Beverly Hills area. The attacks increased in number, then dropped off, then spiked again in late 1958, and continued until an arrest was made in April 1959. The Sydney papers, particularly the afternoon tabloids Sun and Daily Mirror went large on the ‘Kingsgrove Slasher’ case right from the beginning, and much to the annoyance of police, that term stuck. The perpetrator, one David Joseph Scanlon, was ultimately charged with eighteen counts of break and enter and assault. The trial was a media sensation, and Brian Doyle, arresting officer and leading prosecution witness, went from being an obscure suburban detective to a national media figure.