BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival


A friend and I recently attended the BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival at the NSW State Library. It was a fabulous festival held in the perfect location. Not that much actual crime happens at the State Library, one would hope! 

Our first session was ‘The Queen of the Con’ with Kate McClymont and Tom Steinfort. Kate and Tom created the podcast ‘Liar, Liar’ which covered the events surrounding Melissa Caddick, a ponzi scheme and the eventual unravelling of her plan. The talk today covered much of the material in the podcast with a few additional insights into the fallout for family and friends. In wrapping up, Kate mentioned that the coronial inquest into Melissa’s disappearance was beginning the following week, and that the general public could attend. And so we did. More to come on that later.

The next session was “Last Man Standing’ where Gary Jubelin (an retired detective), interviewed Graham ‘Abo’ Henry. Graham Henry was a career criminal in the time of Neddy Smith, Roger Rogerson and Lenny MacPherson. It was a different world back then, with some police, prosecutors and judges reportedly in the pocket of criminal gangs. Graham described how the gangs would find a man’s weakness and exploit it for their advantage. This is how people on the right side of the law crossed to the dark side. 

Gary and Graham had a good rapport and we listened to the many escapades, highs and lows of Graham’s life. He described how the seedy underbelly of Sydney was rife with criminal activity. His wise words of advice for young people considering a life of crime was simply – “Don’t.”

three person holding clear drinking glasses

Listening to all this talk about crime was thirsty work, so we found a hidden watering hole close by. The Library Bar, located on the roof of the State Library, is a great place to meet up with friends, enjoy some refreshments and soak up the ambience. Views over the Domain should be spectacular once further renovations are complete. Finding the entry is a bit secret squirrel-ish – no more clues for crime buffs! Refreshed and relaxed, we each headed home to plan our next adventure.

The inquest into the disappearance of Melissa Caddick was held at the NSW Coroners Court which moved from Glebe to Lidcombe a few years ago. The new building at Lidcombe is modern and has a great little cafe on the ground floor. There were quite a few interested members of the public attending the inquest along with media, lawyers, detectives, barristers and their teams. Unfortunately, the public gallery was full so an adjacent court was opened up for us and we viewed proceedings via live streaming. The whole process was very interesting but the wheels of justice do move slowly.

Keep an eye out for the podcast ‘Liar, Liar’ by Kate McClymont and Tom Steinfort as they are releasing periodic updates throughout the inquest.