17 episodes

Queensland in the 1950s: god-fearing, morally upstanding, tough on crime. Beneath the surface, a murky world of gambling, drugs and brothels were kept in check by three crooked cops known as The Rat Pack. It was this trio who perfected a corrupt system that would wreak havoc for more than 30 years in the sunshine state.

At the core of the Rat Pack's corruption was a routine of bribery and extortion with the city's underground brothels. A small group of sex workers were crucial to maintaining relationships which generated millions of illicit dollars that kept the wheels turning for these crooked cops. The women were forced to cooperate with police, have sex with detectives and toe the line. But eventually, the same women who helped build a criminal empire were the ones to help break it. Meticulously researched, action-packed and rich with never-heard-before tape, host Matthew Condon (Three Crooked Kings, Ghost Gate Road) exposes the decades-long institutional crime and corruption of the Queensland police force through the stories of five courageous sex workers who dared to take them on.

Dig - Sirens Are Coming ABC Podcasts

    • History
    • 4.7 • 151 Ratings

Queensland in the 1950s: god-fearing, morally upstanding, tough on crime. Beneath the surface, a murky world of gambling, drugs and brothels were kept in check by three crooked cops known as The Rat Pack. It was this trio who perfected a corrupt system that would wreak havoc for more than 30 years in the sunshine state.

At the core of the Rat Pack's corruption was a routine of bribery and extortion with the city's underground brothels. A small group of sex workers were crucial to maintaining relationships which generated millions of illicit dollars that kept the wheels turning for these crooked cops. The women were forced to cooperate with police, have sex with detectives and toe the line. But eventually, the same women who helped build a criminal empire were the ones to help break it. Meticulously researched, action-packed and rich with never-heard-before tape, host Matthew Condon (Three Crooked Kings, Ghost Gate Road) exposes the decades-long institutional crime and corruption of the Queensland police force through the stories of five courageous sex workers who dared to take them on.

    Bonus | Sirens Are Coming - Katherine Wants To Talk

    Bonus | Sirens Are Coming - Katherine Wants To Talk

    For the first time since taking the stand at the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Katherine James (not her real name) has decided to speak publicly. In this exclusive interview, Katherine describes how she went from a teenage madam to a young mother entering witness protection, and whether, 35 years later, it was all worth it.

    • 32 min
    06 | Sirens Are Coming - The Greatest Show In Town

    06 | Sirens Are Coming - The Greatest Show In Town

    The Rat Pack has its day of reckoning: The Fitzgerald Inquiry. Katherine James is key to exposing the corruption that's infiltrated the Queensland police force for the last forty years, but the cost of speaking out is high.

    • 40 min
    05 | Sirens Are Coming - Change is Coming

    05 | Sirens Are Coming - Change is Coming

    Fresh criminal networks emerge and flood Brisbane's streets, in an era known as the New Joke. A determined young hustler, Katherine James, rises through the ranks to become a trusted manager and confidante to some of the biggest crime syndicates Brisbane has ever seen.
    But when she decided to forge her own path, obstacles appear from every angle.

    • 38 min
    04 | Sirens Are Coming - Old Dogs, New Tricks

    04 | Sirens Are Coming - Old Dogs, New Tricks

    A new generation of madams and sex workers begin to find their place in the Sunshine State. An enterprising Simone Vogel stands out in the crowd, until she disappears.

    • 36 min
    03 | Sirens Are Coming - The Fallout

    03 | Sirens Are Coming - The Fallout

    Just when the Rat Pack look set to crumble, Shirley Brifman is found dead. Meanwhile Dorothy Edith Knight, fresh from taking down Glen Hallahan in the sting operation, realises her ordeal with the police is only just beginning.

    • 31 min
    02 | Sirens Are Coming - From Kickbacks to Payback

    02 | Sirens Are Coming - From Kickbacks to Payback

    In the early 1970s, The Rat Pack faced a challenge. Shirley Brifman - who lied at the National Hotel Inquiry to protect these crooked cops - would turn from their biggest ally to their greatest threat. And Dorothy Edith Knight would take a life-threatening leap, in an effort to make a break from the cop she loved.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
151 Ratings

151 Ratings

brass razoo ,

What happened to episode 7 ?

As always another excellent podcast series from the ABC. My only problem is there appears to be no episode 7, is it just a numbering issue or my mobile phone?

I found it on the ABC Listen App however for some reason it is missing from the Apple Podcasts App.

Rosadelilah ,

Loved it!

This is the best quality podcast series I have probably heard since the teachers pet. I have listened to the series twice now!
Matthew Condon has a voice that was made for story telling! if you loved this podcast I also recommend his other podcast - ghost gate road.

numpter9 ,

Fun story, awful accompanying sound track

Engaging, hilarious story made in listenable by cheesy, artificial backing sounds, and use of actor voice-overs.

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