In March 1872 Australians were shocked by one of the most cold-blooded murders the colonies had ever seen. The nightmare began with the discovery of a badly decomposed body that had been weighed down with a heavy stone in the Parramatta River. Even more chillingly, it soon emerged that this victim, John Bridger, had been lured to his brutal death via an employment advertisement in The Sydney Morning Herald. Then it became clear that this murdered man wasn’t the only victim.

John Bridger, who hoped to start a new life in Australia, was deceived into thinking he had a new job, only to be shot, savagely beaten and sent to the bottom of the Parramatta River while he was still alive.

George Nichols – intelligent, handsome, well-dressed, father-of-two and a cold-blooded murderer.
While the banks of the Parramatta River today are lined with houses and apartments, in 1872 there were many lonely spots just perfect for murder.


The Sydney Morning Herald ads. Apply for these positions and you were applying
to be murdered.

The Parramatta River Murders were a newspaper sensation, leading to thousands of people crowding around the inquest and trial venues.

It was the Teacher’s Pet-style mystery that gripped Australia 80 years ago. Brisbane socialite Marjorie Norval disappeared in November 1938 under bizarre circumstances, sparking the biggest search in Queensland’s history. In the days and months to come, four heroic rescuers would die, one of her rumoured lovers would commit suicide, and a light would be shone on the city’s shady characters, from illegal abortionists to peeping Toms.

Marjorie Norval was the social secretary to Queensland’s premier.
Mounted police covered 50,000 acres and some 3000 miles of countryside.
Disaster struck when a search plane went down.
The search for Marjorie was the largest in Queensland history.