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 • 138 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.

    S2 Sirens Are Coming | New leads

    S2 Sirens Are Coming | New leads

    There have been some exciting developments since we published Sirens Are Coming, so stay tuned to this feed for further episodes. In the meantime, if you have material or information you believe is relevant to the history of Queensland's police corruption in the sex work industry and beyond, tell us about it by writing to dig@your.abc.net.au

    • 55 sec
    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
138 Ratings

138 Ratings

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.

J@McD59 ,

Riveting Listening

Absolutely compelling listening about a dark chapter in Queensland’s history.

green11girl ,

Chalk and Cheese

Season 1 = dreadful. 1 star.
Season 2 = excellent. 5 stars.

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