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The Whiskey AU Go Go Massacre

Murder, Arson and the Crime of the Century

(15 customer reviews)
Authors: Geoff Plunkett
Crime, Murder
C Format

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This is a work of non-fiction. The quoted conversations are taken verbatim from police eyewitness statements, court transcripts, coroners’ reports and other archival material. Unless otherwise stated, the narrative is based on the original police murder investigation

The Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub massacre was a defining moment in 1970s Australia: the ‘horrific epicentre of all the crime and filth, the corruption and deaths that came before and followed that tragic night in March 1973, when 15 innocent people lost their lives’.

Despite the quick arrest and subsequent conviction of John Stuart and his sidekick, James Finch, the ashes have never stopped smouldering. Rumours have swirled around that horror-filled night for decades: were Stuart and Finch framed? Were others involved? Were further atrocities committed to hide the truth behind the outrage?

For decades it was impossible to uncover the truth behind the tragedy. That changed in 2012, when the author had the privilege of being the first person to view the files created by the original lead detectives. These files reveal what occurred prior to, during, and after the conflagration. They reveal unsettling facts. They reveal that the full story of that night has never been told – until now.

Geoff Plunkett

Geoff Plunkett

Geoff Plunkett’s recent books include Let the Bums Burn, which recounts Australia’s deadliest building fire, and The Whiskey Au Go Go Massacre, an examination of the cold case 1973 nightclub fire, which was based on exclusive access to the original murder investigative files. His work has featured in all the major newspapers, on radio and […]

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15 reviews for The Whiskey AU Go Go Massacre

  1. Just loved it. Pack with unknown facts and conclusions which have solid data behind them. Some of the perpetrators walked free. Highly recommended.

  2. Currently reading this. It’s excellent. The author Geoff Plunkett is the first person (outside of authorities) to get access to the police files on this case so it’s an exhaustive account. Emily Australian True Crime with Meshel Laurie and Emily Webb

  3. One of Big Sky’s best books. Loved it.

  4. Well done Big Sky and author. Brave and controversial thing to publish but important.

  5. Picked this up at Big W. As a teenager growing up in Brisbane this was a huge deal when it happened so I was surprised nothing was ever written about it. That’s why I was delighted in finding a full length account.

    Starts straight off with the action (fire) and I like that. Then you are introduced to the characters and the theories and facts.

    Professionally written and edited and for any true crime reader a must. Its No 1 on the Goodreads best Australian true crime list so that’s some sort of measure.

    Hoping this publisher does more true crime books.

  6. Enjoyed.

  7. Saw articles in The Australian about this. Prompted me to have a look. Good style and content.

  8. Getting lots of publicity for good reason.

  9. Four stars

  10. The strength of this book is evidence.

    There have been an insane number of rumors and conspiracy theories for decades.

    The author, using detailed evidence, shows how the confession of Finch is a fabrication. Yes the rumors were there previously but not much to support it. He gives proof of Stuart’s involvement and how others such as the now infamous Vincent O’Dempsey were pivotal. I always believed the escape was greased deliberately to stop people escaping the fire. I now know this was a myth.

    All this is a quantum leap from where we were for so long. The myths had overrun the reality. This book helps rights that wrong

  11. Packed with all new information from unseen police files. You would have to think it will impact the new inquiry on the case which is happening soon. One of the best true crime Australia books of recent times.

  12. Fascinating. Lots of dialog between the murderer and others. Haven’t seen it so extensively used in true crime before but worked well. Gives you an insight into the killer. Definitely worth a read. There is a lot of unreleased info in it and the only book I have ever seen on the greatest mass murder in Australia last century (until Port Arthur)

  13. Cannot say it isn’t anything but fascinating. The conclusions from the evidence seem sound but time will tell after the forthcoming inquiry. Vivid description of the drama of the fire fire and the main character Stuart. Captivating read.

  14. Wow. We all knew John Stuart was framed and here is is the evidence. So much information in here we never knew about. 

  15. Wow. It shows evidence that the Whiskey Au Go Go cops were corrupt. Well written and packed with detail

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