Our site still under threat by pathetic anoms

Struggling with attack


i HAVE THE ENTIRE SITE SAVED UP TO THE DAY…Sorry about caps I look down to type.

Our 3 sites are



aussiecriminals.wordpress.com (this one is free forever unable to be stolen)



The Great Bookie Robbery took place in 1976

Defence barrister Philip Dunn on Australia’s most notorious robbery

The Victoria Club in Queen Street where the Great Bookie Robbery took place in 1976.

Olivia Lambert news.com.au

IT WAS a crime of greed, maybe even one of revenge.

But it was one that was planned for months and pulled off so meticulously, nobody was ever convicted.

The Great Bookie Robbery is one of Australia’s most notorious crimes, where six bandits filled totes with millions of dollars in just minutes. It was even the basis for a 1986 television miniseries.

Still nobody knows what happened. The money was never found and the thieves either disappeared or were killed.

The closest this crime got to being solved was the arrest of bandit Norman Lee, the only gang member to face court over the robbery — but he was acquitted.

It’s been 40 years since the brazen crime and Lee’s solicitor at the time, defence barrister Philip Dunn, QC, reveals what he knows, what questions still remain and his sneaking regard for their bold heist.


It was autumn in Melbourne, April 1976. The city was no doubt windy and cold with amber leaves cluttering the gutters.

Six men gathered a couple of weeks before Easter and plotted to steal from bookies who were sorting money to give to punters.

“The men who executed it were not only experts in their particular trades, but brave and bold in what they did,” Mr Dunn said.

It was in the days when bookmakers did all their business in cash at the Victoria Club on Queen Street. Bookies would secure their money on the third floor of the Victoria Club before it was picked up by the National Bank. It was a prime opportunity to steal.

In the weeks prior to the robbery, one of the bandits bypassed the club’s security system and removed a number of bolts from the fire escape access door.

He cut them in half and lightly glued them back together, so the bandits could just push the door to gain entry to the building later on.

Six weeks prior to the robbery, they tampered with the elevators so they would continuously jam and get stuck between floors.

Nobody would be able to go up or down the lift while these men committed their third-floor robbery.

It was April 21, the day they finally pulled off the heist.

They hid while waiting for the Armaguard truck to deliver the cash to the building.

“The truck actually got a flat tyre on the way and they were 15 minutes late,” Mr Dunn said. “The bandits were actually very bold and brave because they were waiting, ready to go, and the truck didn’t come.”

Once the money was delivered, the bandits stormed the building. They were masked and some were armed with M60 machine-guns.

A scene from a TV miniseries based on the robbery.

A scene from a TV miniseries based on the robbery.Source:Supplied

“They made a lot of noise and made people lie on the floor, there were more than 100 people in the building when they raided it,” Mr Dunn said.

“There was little conversation but there was one thing said that gave people a clue about who they were.”

Among the hostages was prize fighter Ambrose Palmer and while the bandits were yelling at everybody to get down, one turned to Palmer and said “that means you Ambrose”.

“That meant the bandit was either from Melbourne or he was a person who went to the fights,” Mr Dunn said.

In less than 10 minutes they had escaped with millions of dollars.

The exact amount stolen was never known, but it has been said it could have been as much as $15 million.

Lee was the only person arrested after he used new bank notes that had only been delivered to the bookie club.

In the end, however, there wasn’t enough evidence and police could not prove a link between the robbery and the fact Lee was in possession of the notes.

“It didn’t mean he did it, it just meant he had the money,” Mr Dunn said. “He was pretty bold, when police went to the dim sim factory where he worked they wanted to look at the safe but he refused.

“The police got a safe cracker and cut it open and when they opened it nothing was inside. He was just one of those blokes who didn’t want to help.”

Police display guns used in the robbery at Victorian Club, Queen Street.

Police display guns used in the robbery at Victorian Club, Queen Street.Source:News Limited


Nobody quite knows how the gang, Raymond “Chuck” Bennett, Norman Lee, Ian Carroll, Laurence Prendergast and Brian and Leslie Kane, smuggled the money out of the Victoria Club.

Mr Dunn said he heard two stories about what happened to the millions.

“One is that money was removed in a laundry van,” he said. “The other, I heard they actually rented another office in the building and moved the money upstairs and left it there for several weeks, but who knows? They were smart guys.”

Despite defending Lee during his court case, Mr Dunn said he was airtight about what happened.

“Norman Lee wouldn’t have told a priest in confession what happened,” he said. “That’s how it was in those days.”

Lee’s parents made dim sims and spring rolls and there was a rumour among those in the underworld that several people who went missing, were put through Lee’s dim sim machine and later eaten by those who attended the footy.

“That’s part of the rumour mill in Melbourne’s underworld,” Mr Dunn said.

Over the years there have also been many rumours about what the gang did with the money they stole.

“Some said a couple of bandits went to Manila and opened up some bars there,” he said. “Others believed some of the money was wisely invested.”

Norman Leung Lee, a member of the gang who committed the Great Bookie Robbery. Picture: Kaine Pinder

Norman Leung Lee, a member of the gang who committed the Great Bookie Robbery. Picture: Kaine Pinder Source:News Limited


Lee was shot dead in another brazen robbery at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne in 1992.

He was trying to intercept millions of dollars being transported. He was killed by police during a shootout.

Leslie was allegedly killed in 1978 by Bennett, the mastermind behind the Great Bookie Robbery. Bennett was accused, but later acquitted.

Bennett was then believed to have been shot by Leslie’s brother Brian — the other Kane bandit involved in the bookie robbery — in 1979 outside a Melbourne courthouse.

Brian was shot by two masked men while at his local drinking spot, the Quarry Hotel, in 1982. Carroll was also shot dead in 1983.

Nobody knows what happened to Prendergast, he went missing in 1985 and has never been found.

“He could be an old man now sitting in front of a radiator in winter having chicken soup,” Mr Dunn said. “There are few people who can reminisce about the good old days.”

Ian Carroll, believed to have taken part in the Great Bookie Robbery, was murdered in 1983.

Ian Carroll, believed to have taken part in the Great Bookie Robbery, was murdered in 1983.Source:News Limited

Brian Kane was shot dead by two masked men at the Quarry Hotel.

Brian Kane was shot dead by two masked men at the Quarry Hotel.Source:News Limited


“Those were the days when crime was crime,” Mr Dunn said. “They were bandits and not drug addicts.”

As an older criminal barrister, Mr Dunn said he looked at those days and in a funny way, had a sneaking regard for those old-fashioned villains who didn’t just rely on drugs or guns.

“They plotted and planned their activity like a heist movie.”

Being one of the most notorious crimes in Australia’s history, Mr Dunn said nobody had come close to pulling off something of the same scale. But he said it was a lot harder to catch crims back then.

“In those days the underworld had a code of silence,” he said. “These days, drug addicts will snitch on one another as soon as a policeman says boo.

“Law enforcement also uses a variety of modern technology now to track people’s movements and find out what they are doing. That was never possible 40 years ago.”

Despite being Lee’s solicitor, Mr Dunn said he doesn’t really remember him as a person.

“I remember him as an old-fashioned crim who wouldn’t betray anybody and wouldn’t say much of anything to anybody and lived in code of the underworld as it then was,” he said.

Defence Barrister Philip Dunn, QC, represented Norman Lee during the Great Bookie Robbery trial. Picture: Rob Baird

Defence Barrister Philip Dunn, QC, represented Norman Lee during the Great Bookie Robbery trial. Picture: Rob Baird Source:News Limited

Who wants to be a unpaid crime blog reporter/contributer?

Not real journo’s who still have a job, maybe cadets (but not good for resume…mmm)

Maybe old school scribes who wish they could stay in the game!

How about folks like me with no relevant qualifications but gives a toss about the crimes in their communities?

The pay-off is a verdict like today GBC cowardly wife killer.

People like me? You relate to how I write?

Hey cant spell well, 2 finger typer…So am I YES…Our stuff gets checked before we post.

Sounds like you?

GOOD keep reading

This site has had massive coverage lately (I cover non famous crimes too)

I’m thinking along the lines of a Co-ordinator in each state

That co-ordinator runs that states crimes and has authors who get the stories up.

What do you think?

Sound good, bad, troublesome, confusing?

All I want is to give the best coverage of what is going on in our communities.

The community expectations has/have?  outgrown my skills honestly…

Each state, minimum deserves better coverage. The good people email me why haven’t you covered this rape, or that kidnapping, or the death of a cousin in my indigenous community.

You could help us!

Time for a REMINDER about behaviour on this site…


Hi folks, It has sadly come to my attention once again that the behavior of some people on this site have shown disregard for the guidelines I have tried to set, and or casually choose to ignore them, in particular, during my many absences of late, as I attended to my young baby son who has been in hospital after being born premature last month. he came home yesterday and we have been getting settled.

I have to say, I started this blog so I could highlight and discuss things that interested me, and of course others. It became successful as many many others popped in and shared the same ideas as I did.

Now having said that, I have to say, unfortunately I do not care whether you have been here for months and made 2 thousand comments, or one day and made 5. I will NOT tolerate the bad language, the bully tactics of some who like to dominate the discussion, and those who are quite  impolite in disagreeing with another contributors point of view.

How often have I politely said, it is how you say something that is important, not so much WHAT you have to say. As far as I am concerned it is not too much to ask on a community blog where we gather with common interests.

Because I want this to be read tonight, I am going to post it now, but shall be adding to it.

Those people I speak of in the above sentences, expect to hear from me over the next 24 hours, because you will find yourself banished from the place and I will block every comment you make to go directly to moderation, where it will sit, until I personally read it. Like a child would be treated who does not know how to behave.

I have put thousands and thousands of hours into this site over 2 years or so, and WILL NOT have anybody, no matter who they are, or what they have done here, to ruin it for everyone else, OR for the people who will come in the future.

This blog is not for “A self selected few” to take some sort of control over what can be discussed and which opinions are to reign supreme. You can always go start your own blogs…

To be frank I am quite upset at the moment because some who have been around for a while should know better. Forcing me to get rid of you is something I will SADLY do if I have to.

Finally, and most regrettably, I also have to add, just because someone has very kindly made a donation to my site, (for which I honestly am very grateful).

It does not give he or she any extra rights or privileges here. We are all equal and any assumed extra power or status or “Weight” on any opinion or topic would be incorrect and unfair  (for want of a better word, I’m not in a good head space ATM). I hope I have conveyed that clearly enough.


You have all be warned


Owner and operator of Aussiecriminals



Your offers for help have amazed me guys!

Hi everybody, hope you all had a great Christmas and have good plans for a fantastic safe (HOT new years eve) New year.I am so happy some of you have put your hand up to help out here and build on what I started and make it a real community. I have been a little indulgent in taking a few days off with the Melbourne Boxing day test on and a recovering from too much everything at Christmas but am nor rearing to go again. I was actually so tempted to jump on and post stuff that was “Shitting me” but thought the country will survive a few days without my insignificant input…

So I have saved all your details and will be getting back to you all in the morning with some great ideas and plans for 2011. What a way to kick it off with the news of the new year. Look out for an email and details on getting signed up as a  wordpress member, as it seems that is required to be a contributor/author here at wordpress. The great thing about that is it enables you to do stories/updates/feedback via email, iphone, the web, any computer etc. So whenever the need arises you can jump on and do your thing.


Thanks guys and gals, looking forward to all your obvious expertise. Making this place a better more switched on place…

I am Looking for Contributors for 2011

Some of you may or may not know but I run this website totally on my own for no pay or reward other than helping expose those who need exposing and highlighting things I see happening in our community that I feel are worth bringing to attention…

I love working on the site but I am struggling to keep up, yet I’m very keen to make it bigger and better in 2010.

So How would you like to help expand and build this website.? I am looking for contributors to help with new stories and researching special cases, reviewing books or movies maybe?

Are you willing to get involved? Let me know what you would be interested in, and leave a comment in the form below

You can remain as anonymous or as open as you like all I ask for is a commitment to the cause and accuracy in your contributions

If you want to help in another way you could “Buy me a beer” by clicking a link (not yet operational) and donating a dollar and help get the site fully hosted so we can post full video, audio and other media and documents rather than using you-tube etc.. They have already deleted my account for copyright on news stories…

(not operational just yet!)


All the best for Christmas, stay safe, be merry, and for those of you who were not so good this year, there is always next year!



Such Is Life-Ben Cousins

My Say

Are the Victorian Police serious? They would have to start arresting people by their thousands, not to mention all the TV crowd.Maybe they should roll up to the Logies and do drug testing and sniffer dogs, on Australia’s night of nights? Ben Cousins is showing a lot of courage in doing what he is doing.The doco is giving us a rare insight into the elite athlete/celebrity lifestyle. So many have something to answer for over Ben.The West coast Eagles for starters, his club, how the hell they never knew, even protected him from drug testers. His father, who seems really loving and concerned for his son.If he wanted to, he could of gone to the media to save his son years ago, but didn’t.Exposing him obviously was not as important as his football career…

Ben Cousins at training for the Tigers 2010

UPDATE 9.35am: VICTORIA Police has vowed to investigate any illegal drug taking screened in Ben Cousins’ tell-all documentary but hasn’t seen anything to warrant a probe yet.

The first part of controversial documentary Such Is Life aired on Channel 7 last night.

The opening instalment topped last night’s television ratings, drawing a whopping 1.99m viewers, making it the most-watched program nationwide.

A police spokesman said that “any evidence” of illegal drug use screened in the documentary would be investigated.

But it was believed no drug taking screened in last night’s episode was committed in Victoria.

“At the moment, there is nothing in the Channel 7 coverage to indicate he has committed any offences in Victoria,’’ the spokesman said.

“If material comes to light through tonight’s program or it is revealed that Cousin’s drug use was in Victoria, we will investigate and act accordingly.”

More than 780,000 Melbourne viewers tuned in, the most from any capital city.

The documentary has already drawn plenty of comment and criticism, with footy icon Ron Barassi saying West Coast has “a lot to answer for” over its treatment of Ben Cousins.

Six-time premiership player Barassi said he had taped the documentary and hoped to watch it in the coming days.

When asked if he thought West Coast failed its duty of care to Cousins, Barassi said: “From what one hears, I think West Coast (has) a lot to answer for’’.

Ben Cousins and Chris Judd 2006 Grand Final

“Surely they must have known he was on drugs.

“It was not just one player from what I understand.’’

Youth worker Les Twentyman was not impressed by the documentary, saying it showed a far more glamorous life than the harsh reality of drug use.

“That was like watching Bambi compared to watching documentaries we made 10 years ago,” Twentyman said.

He said it portrayed “Hollywood style drug use, that’s not the reality to what we deal with, it destroys lives, Ben’s life hasn’t been destroyed”.

Twentyman also said the Eagles have a lot to answer for and he has “grave concerns” for Ben after he retires from footy this weekend.

Retiring Richmond veteran Cousins is in a race against time to play his last game against Port Adelaide on Sunday.

He left the field late in the third quarter against St Kilda with soreness high on his left leg and could not go back on.

Cousins said he expects to undergo a fitness test later in the week to determine if he can play.

Barassi said how Cousins motivated himself after football would depend on how much pride the Brownlow medallist had in himself.

“He has a chance to turn things around if he wants to keep going on this path to recovery,’’ he said.

Child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg said the structures in Ben’s life will be important to stop him relapsing.

He says it’s a matter of managing the illness and not trying to cure it.

“He is suffering a disease that is resistant to treatment and subject to relapse,” Carr-Gregg said

Carr-Gregg says Ben’s ability to stay off drugs after retiring from football will be just as hard as when he first came off drugs.

“It think it will be enormous, I think it will be his greatest challenge ever,” says Carr-Gregg.

“I do believe when you see the whole thing it will be a useful tool for young people … I don’t think it normalised, sanitised or glamourised drug use at all.”

He says people should wait to see the whole documentary before making a judgement on it.

AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said the league would not comment on the documentary until it had been shown in full.