Radical revolutionaries, maniacal Marines, sexual shenanigans, dodgy dealings, horny hippies, Hare Krishnas and High Court judges: this is the stranger-than-fiction story of American military deserter Douglas Beane. From the violence of Vietnam in the Seventies to beach life in Brunswick Heads in the Eighties, Doug’s case rattled the echelons of power in Washington and Canberra while proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the man himself was one of the world’s most accomplished lovers — if one of its most lacklustre fighters.
Private James Coughlan only saw one day of combat — 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli — yet his war would continue at home for years, one of thousands whose quiet fates are often forgotten on Anzac Day. Hear the episode below or at iTunes, Spotify or Google Podcasts.
James Coughlan was born in 1889, grew up on a farm on the Omeo Plains in north-eastern Victoria, and was among the first men from his district to enlist in the AIF. After training at Broadmeadows, he sailed for the Middle East, arriving in Egypt in early February 1915. Just as in the film Gallipoli, James was thrilled by this exotic land and had no idea of the fate that awaited him on an obscure Turkish peninsula. For the story of James’s sister Bertha Coughlan — click here.
This 1939 case seemed ripped from the pages of a detective novel — and may even have been inspired by one. There was the man with the murky past. Sisters who met sudden suspicious deaths. A corpse that had to be exhumed. Crucial evidence that was allowed to be destroyed and a coroner with a bizarre conflict of interest. Adding to the sensation: police thought by solving the Walwa mystery, they might also solve Australia’s most famous unsolved murder — that of the Pyjama Girl.