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Ronald Joseph Redmond (above) was, in 1974, a Detective-Sergeant 2nd class in the Qld Police Force living with his wife Fay in a somewhat modest 3 bedroom brick flat at number 5/9 Rossiter Pde, Hamilton (pictured below).
The austere brick unit, sandwiched on the second floor of three in a plain brick dwelling of the type popular at the time, but now near universally loathed, sat a stone’s throw from the historic Hamilton Hotel, one of the favoured watering holes of my youth, and a mere hop, skip and jump from the Eagle Farm racecourse where Redmond’s former boss – the soon to be disgraced one-time Police Commissioner Frank Bischof – and Mavis Lewis, mother of his future boss and also to be disgraced Police Commissioner Terry Lewis, used to frolic among the beautiful and rich and famous, and the desperate and doomed and down and out, of a Saturday afternoon.
All men and women are equal above and below the turf, although some are more equal than others, in life if not in death at least.
At the time-hallowed track mere metres from Redmond’s claustrophobic brick flat’s door the thief and the thief’s mother would launder they and their family’s ill-gained wealth, changing the dirty used banknotes in their pockets – the currency stained with blood and graft and sex and cum and drugs and crime and betrayal and broken lives and a whole lot more besides – into crisp smelling new notes cleaner than the signature line on a verballed police statement of the type that sentenced so many innocent men and women to the a cell at Boggo Road Jail and an entree to the bowels of hell.
The flat (pictured above) owned by the Redmond’s was an adequate type of abode for a young couple on a copper’s single wage, but nothing to write home to Mum about, and worth only about $375 000 in today’s currency.
Police wages in those pre-EBA days were much lower than they are in 2016, but for the purposed of comparison, based on today’s rates Redmond at the time was earning about $85 000 a year in 2016 dollars, just a couple of hundred dollars a week above the Aussie average wage, so the purchase price of the flat was unquestionably within the couples means, provided they chose to live a quiet and relatively austere life.
Just a decade before, Ron and Fay – who, in the custom of that era, was a stay at home Mum dependent upon her bread winning spouse – had lived in a relatively ramshackle 3 bedroom suburban home in Camp Hill, in Brisbane’s South-East. Their house of that era in the early days of what would prove to be Ron’s stellar but controversial police career was worth about $500 000 odd in today’s money, although as it was snapped up a couple of years ago by property developer who also bought the surrounding properties, and flogged them off as a sub-dividable package, it is difficult to put an exact price on the place.
By 1968 however, Redmond and his wife had stepped up somewhat in the world, and with Ron’s promotion to Detective they moved to Clayfield, a much-desired location on Brisbane’s northside, about 10 minutes from the city’s CBD. There they living in rented accommodation – or perhaps a police house, take your pick, the land search will tell us the full story – at number 54 Bonney Avenue, a comfortable home in which they remained until about the middle of 1972, when they purchased the flat at Hamilton.
The Redmond’s move to Clayfield, innocuous though it may seem, is where it gets interesting. Very, very interesting indeed.
For guess who lived just across the road in a small flat at number 79 Bonney Avenue? And who died there on the 3rd of March 1972?
None other than a woman named Shirley Margaret Brifman.
The star witness in the case against the alleged ringleader of ‘The Joke’, the mastermind of Queensland crime, Mr Anthony ‘Tony’ Murphy himself. The senior police officer, soon to become Assistant-Commissioner, whose potentially career-ending criminal trial on perjury charges was abandoned just weeks after Brifman’s death.
Tony bloody Murphy. The enigma. Ron Redmond’s mate. His presumed paymaster in the great corrupt game.
Why hasn’t anyone ever told us before that a prominent police officer – a man who was just a decade later to become the Assistant Commissioner to the deeply corrupt Terry Lewis, and later to succeed him – lived just across the road from the notoriously murdered brothel madam?
Can anyone in the world explain to us readers why this highly material fact has never before been disclosed?
You can’t can you? Nor can anyone else. Or no-one is willing to anyway, and that my friends is exactly the point.
Here is what happens.
Shirley Brifman dies.
The investigating police say she ovedosed on heroin, even though it was well known that she was terrified of needles. No syringe, spoon, vial or spike is ever found.
Murphy’s perjury charges are dropped.
By 1977 Ronald and Fay Redmond had moved to their newly purchased home at number 46 Windermere Road, Hamilton, one of Brisbane’s most prestigious suburbs. Their new gigs was a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom mansion that sprawled over more than 300 square meters, and featured lush gardens centered by a large in-ground salt water pool.
The Redmonds are not known to have won the major prize in Queensland’s Golden Casket lottery during the period between 1974 and 1977, although a cynic may suggest that they had perhaps have had a windfall of an entirely different kind.
In 2015 the property the Redmond’s purchased in the wake of their one-time neighbour Shirley Brifman’s death was sold for more than $2 million dollars.
It was described in the sales brochures as
Drawing inspiration from the earthy elegance of French manors, this exquisitely restored residence is the epitome of timeless design over 344m2 of flowing, versatile living spaces. Generous outdoor areas provide multiple living and entertaining options while a fully contained living area, study and beautiful saltwater pool ensure comfort and convenience.
All owned by a simple ‘honest’ copper who lived right across the street from Shirley Brifman’s death scene, seemingly without a single soul realising it. Funny that.
Something is very rotten in the State of Queensland my friends.
Maybe it always has been, and its simply a fact that up here in the Sunshine State the more things change, the more they inevitably stay the same.