True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers

True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers

Every country has true crime stories and Australia is no exception. Crime stories are immortalized in our movies and books. Of course there are many crimes but non seems to horrify and intrigue people more than serial killers. Australia has had, and probably currently has, it’s fair share of these gruesome criminals. Here are some good stories Aussies abroad can share with their friends.

It is estimated that there could be 1-2 serial killers operating throughout Australia at any given time.

Australia has had many serial killers with records dating back to the 18th century. A serial killer is defined as a person who has murdered three or more people for abnormal psychological gratification.

Here at Ozzies Abroad, as part of our series True Crime Stories Australia we give you serial killers. Not for the fainthearted.

The Snowtown Murders

The Snowtown murders also known as the “Bodies-in-Barrels Murders” refers to the gruesome crimes that saw eleven victims tortured and disposed of in South Australia.

True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers

Between 1992 and 1998 John Bunning led a small group of men who said they targeted “homosexuals and pedophiles” or “the weak”. The torture included the use of hammers, pliers, syringes, cigarettes, rope and electrical shocks. They cut off body parts and even cooked and ate one victim. Most of the bodies were disposed of in makeshift barrels.
Police took notice that many people had gone missing which eventually led to the arrest of four men.

There was a year long trial and Snowtown actually experienced a rise in tourism. Local shops sold bad taste gifts of miniature barrels with “Come to Snowtown-You’re in for a Barrel of laughs”. People of Snowtown have tried to change the name of the town but with no success.

The house where John Bunting lived, committed the crimes and buried two victims in the backyard has actually been sold twice since the murders. Obviously at a discounted price.

A film based on the true crime story “Snowtown” won many Australian film awards including best film and best director. I watched it and it’s a bit hard to watch but good luck if you want to see it. The book “Snowtown” by Jeremy Pudney is a more factual account.

The Granny Killer

I personally remember the granny killer when I was growing up in Sydney. Not far from my neighborhood, six elderly women were brutally bashed to death over a fourteen-month period.

True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers

The crimes left fear in the streets of Sydney’s North Shore. The events took place over 1989 and he was finally arrested in 1990.

His name was “The Granny Killer”, “The Monster of Mosman”, John Wayne Glover. Glover was a hard-working Four ‘N Twenty pie salesman, married for twenty years with children. Glover seamlessly returned to his normal life after each murder.

His murders had tell-tale signs, each victim was a wealthy elderly woman, suffered hammer blows to the head, were ritually strangulated with their own pantyhose then tied in a bow, legs spread apart and their shoes neatly placed next to their body. Police later learn that the elderly women represented his mother and mother-in-law.

He would stalk and surprise his victims by following them home and ruthlessly attacking them from behind near the vicinity of their front door. Attacks would normally take place between 3pm and 6pm on busy weekdays.

Police started with over 740 victims but eventually narrowed it down to six with Glover one of them. The case captured the attention of investigators from around the world and it was Sydney’s first case of serial killings.

Glover was under surveillance and finally arrested in the bathtub of his final victim, unconscious from overdosing on Valium and with his wrists slit. A previous suicide note was discovered with the words “No More Grannies”.

Glover was sentenced to six terms of life imprisonment, never to be released. Police have other cases with similar tell-tale signs but he committed suicide by hanging himself in prison in 2005 before police could question him..

The Backpacker Murders

Ivan Milat is the killer of seven people between 1989 and 1993 in the Belanglo State Forest situated South of Sydney. The victims were young backpackers, three Germans, two British and two Australians. A film named “Wolf Creek” was loosely based on the crimes of Ivan Milat and what has become to be known as the “Backpacker Murders”.

True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers
Wanna Lift?

Ivan Milat was one of fourteen children and raised in rural New South Wales. He had a fascination with guns from an early age and was reputed to always be on the wrong side of the law with charges on burglary, car theft, assault and armed robbery. Milat has always said that he’s innocent of the backpacker murders but police suspect that he’s guilty of more unsolved murders.

One of his victims, British Joane Walters received a knife wound to the lower spine and it’s believed she was paralyzed while Milat continues to sexually assault her. Another victim Caroline Clarke received over 10 gunshot wounds to her head and multiple stab wounds.

True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers

They were attacked in the Belanglo State Forest whilst out jogging.

The second set of bodies were Australians James Gibson and Deborah Everest. They had been missing since 1989 and their bodies were badly decomposed when discovered in 1993. They had similar wounds to Joane Walters and Caroline Clarke confirming police suspicions that they had a serial killer on the loose.

Other victims were German nationals Simone Schmidl, Anja Habschield and Gabor Neuvebauer. Anja Habschield’s skull was decapitated with a sword or machete. All victims were sexually assaulted and shared similar tell-tale signs.

Milat was identified by UK national Paul Onions in a video-line-up. Onions narrowly escaped Milat at gunpoint by running away and waving down a passing car. Police obtained their warrant on Milat and raided his home, they found a stockpile of evidence including many personal effects of the victims. Milat was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences for each murder. It is suspected that Ivan Milat did not work alone in at least two of the murders. There is countless book’s and literature on Milat as he is studied internationally by investigators. The most popular read is “Sins of the Brother” by Mark Whittaker and Les Kennedy.

There You have It

There you have some true crime stories from Australia. Now you can share some stories with your friends whilst traveling. Australia is a safe country of course but danger lurks in any corner of the globe. Hope you enjoyed our article and we would love to hear from you so get vocal with some comments section below.

If you enjoyed this article read True Crime Stories Australia: Bank Robbers

See Ya!


6 Replies to “True Crime Stories Australia: Serial Killers”

  1. Wow, I never believed that Australia could have so many serial killers in recent years. Guess I should postpone my vacation to Australia in order not to get stabbed in the back by some crazy serial killer. Hahaha. Anyway, really interesting and I like the fact that you went into details with your post. I thought that I was reading a crime novel.

  2. Are trying to scare away people from coming to Australia?
    LOL 😀
    Well, I guess there are sick people everywhere…
    You always need to be super careful, avoid as much as possible risky situations with people you don’t know.
    And sometimes the people you do know, or you think you know, are not less dangerous than strangers…
    Let’s wish all of us a safe life!
    Thanks for the interesting article!
    (now I will not sleep at night…)

    1. Sorry Anna, didn’t mean to keep u awake at night 😉 I think people are generally fascinated by serial killers. I’m glad you found the article interesting.

  3. Hi Dave, I won’t be hitchhiking in Australia after reading your post, that’s for sure. Serial killers have fascinated people for many years, and your account of Australia’s murders is very chilling indeed. I guess one would just like to find out why someone ends up killing several people. Any thought on that?

    1. I don’t know Anita. I guess because they are psychopathic nut cases. Don’t let that deter from traveling because there are nut cases everywhere. If you liked our article on crime stories in Australia then have a look on our article on Bank Robbers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *