2020 Reviews · Book Blast · non-fiction · true crime

#Book Bingo 2020 Round 6: ‘Themes of Inequality’- Bowraville by Dan Box

Bingo 2020 13 june 2020

Book Bingo 2020 is a collaboration challenge I am completing for the third year with my favourite bloggers, Theresa Smith Writes and The Book Muse. On the second Saturday of each month, beginning on Saturday 11th January 2020, Theresa, Ashleigh and I will complete a book review post, outlining our respective bingo card entries. The Book Bingo 2020 card contains a total of 12 squares, which we will complete over the course of the year, with the aim to complete the whole card by December. To keep things interesting for ourselves and those following along with us, the choice of bingo square to be covered will be entirely down to us, there is no crossover – that is planned anyway! We invite you to join us in this fun book related challenge, by linking your bingo card entries in the comments section of this post, tagging us on social media, posting in Page by Page Book Club with Theresa Smith Writes  or by visiting our blogs The Book Muse and Theresa Smith Writes.


From the creator of the Walkley Award-winning podcast comes the story of a small bowraville dan box smallAustralian town, the murders of three children and a desperate fight for justice.

A true crime story cannot often be believed, at least at the beginning. In Bowraville, all three of the victims were Aboriginal. All three were killed within five months, between 1990 and 1991. The same white man was linked to each, but nobody was convicted.
More than two decades later, homicide detective Gary Jubelin contacted Dan Box, asking him to pursue this serial killing. At that time, few others in the justice system seemed to know – or care – about the murders in Bowraville. Dan spoke to the families of the victims, Colleen Walker-Craig, Evelyn Greenup and Clinton Speedy-Duroux, as well as the lawyers, police officers and even the suspect involved in what had happened. His investigation, as well as the families’ own determined campaigning, forced the authorities to reconsider the killings. This account asks painful questions about what ‘justice’ means and how it is delivered, as well as describing Dan’s own shifting, uncomfortable realisation that he was a reporter who crossed the line.

Review:

Devastating, heartbreaking, unfair and unbelievable defines Bowraville, a true crime piece penned by Dan Box. Covering the deaths of three children in the early 1990s from the same small town in NSW, Bowraville delves into the mechanics of these murder cases and the long road to find answers for the families of these lost children.

Bowraville is a true crime story that begs belief. The injustice of it all will leave your reeling. Three indigenous children are at the heart of this case and all were killed in a short period of five months from 1990-1. There was a key suspect who was clearly linked to all three cases, but this man remains a free agent after the justice system failed. One of the detectives assigned to this case, reached out to the author of this book in an attempt to put this case in the public eye. This is a case that few know about and through the publication of Bowraville, along with Box’s accompanying podcast of this crime story, it is hoped that more can be done for a case that has reached a stalemate. In the process of compiling this book, Box worked in collaboration with the families, the law, police officers, advocates and he even questioned the key suspect of the murders. In tearing apart the murders, Dan Box critically examines the concept of justice and his own position in relation to this complex unsolved crime story.

Bowraville was a book recommend to me some time ago by a fellow book reviewer. When it was first mentioned to me I have to confess to not knowing a thing about this place, case or the victims. This is a shame that ordinary Australians have no awareness of this case and it still remains unsolved to this day. Bowraville is based in part on the podcast created by Dan Box, the author of this novel. I haven’t listened to the podcast, so I read this one as a complete standalone, with no prior knowledge of the case. Due to the sad and unjust nature of this crime story, I am glad I went in blind.

Box takes a clear and well-ordered format to his true crime story. Bowraville follows a date order, which is marked out for the reader. It begins in the early 1990s, with the first of three murders, involving a sixteen year old local indigenous girl. When this victim’s mother alerted authorities, the case was not investigated or resourced. Instead it was assumed the victim went on ‘walkabout’. The mind truly boggles and the devastation I felt for the young victim’s mother was palpable. Not long after, a four year old girl is also killed. Again, there is no homicide team attached to this case and the crucial early stages were jeopardised by inept policing. When the third murder of a teenage boy occurs in the same town just five months from the first death, the alarm bells ring. Yet the resounding cause is that these children were on ‘walkabout’.  Even when a local man is questioned, arrested and put on trial, he was never convicted. This suspect, who is given a pseudonym in Bowraville, still walks the streets as a free man. A sick feeling washed over me while I read through the blow by blow accounts of each of the three cases, along with the responses from the authorities. It will make you truly ashamed to think not one, but three cases were handled in such an insensitive and unhelpful way.

Dan Box came to this case decades after the first murder occurred. One of the key homicide investigators got in touch with Box in an attempt to bring Bowraville to the collective consciousness of the public. The families feel misunderstood and helpless. No answers or closure have been given to them. Despite a suspect, a trial, a change in the law and high court involvement, nothing has been resolved in regards to Bowraville. Justice for the children and their families continues to haunt all those involved, including Box, who considers himself a central reporter in this complex case.

The discourse, reasoning, assumptions, inequality, lack of justice, emotional pain and sheer lack of resources assigned to the Bowraville case is absolutely unforgivable. We are no step closer to providing closure to the families, or restitution for the three young victims. I think all Australians should see Bowraville as an imperative read.

**** 4 stars

Bowraville by Dan Box was published on 2nd July 2019 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Bowraville, Dan Box, visit here.

 

6 thoughts on “#Book Bingo 2020 Round 6: ‘Themes of Inequality’- Bowraville by Dan Box

  1. I’ve been after this book for some time so it was thrilling to see your review of it. I think I spotted the book in the Dymocks catalogue a while back, the name Bowraville jumped out at me and it had me wondering if it was the town Steven and I passed many times on our way to QLD and I was shocked to read that it was. It’s a place we’ve wanted to visit for years, the next time we take the van out we’re making it our mission to drop in but now knowing what happened there will feel eerie and very very sad. Did you know one of your favourite authors lives in Macksville which is next to Bowraville, Amanda?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It caught your eye too… I’m not surprised. I was recommended this book by another book blogger from WA, Carol from Reading, Writing and Reisling, do you follow her? Anyway, I’m so glad I listened to her, it was a powerful book and could of slotted into a few of the bingo categories. It’s really very sad what happened there, I would be interested to hear all about it if you make the trip out that way. Ooo, which author lives nearby in Macksville?

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      1. I know of her but as yet I haven’t clicked the follow button, when I remember I will do that and the happy valley guys as well. I’ll definitely let you know all about the visit when we make the trip to Bowraville. The author is Karly Lane.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great to hear, both a great reviewers, you will enjoy following their recommendations! Ah, Karly Lane! Yes one of my favourite rural authors! I would love to hear all about your trip, lots of pics please!

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