Ghost train fire Sydney 1979

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GreyCrow

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windyhill

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I’ve ticked off on the Neville Wran mention, just waiting for Neddy Smith and Roger Rogerson to get theirs. The lady conducting this series is as professional and thorough as they come .
 

Kurve

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Notorious crime boss Abe Saffron ordered the fire that killed six children and a man in the Luna Park Ghost Train, former senior police officers have claimed publicly for the first time.

"There is no doubt Saffron was behind that [fire] at Luna Park," Steve Bullock, a retired police analyst has now told EXPOSED.


 

Plugger35

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Just watched the final episode of this, one of the best documentaries/investigations I've seen.

I'd heard about the ghost train fire at Luna Park but I had no idea about all the crime, corruption and cover ups that were involved.

Tragic that people, mostly kids, were basically murdered for the financial gain of organised crime figures and high ranking police, politicians and judges.
 

BFew

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Abe Saffron sounds a bit like Australia's version of Epstein.
Little wonder he was able to get away with what he did, if he was.

JUNE 18 2010

'The tale of the charismatic crook is set to be retold in Mr Sin: The Abe Saffron Story on ABC-TV next Thursday night, June 24.'

both the FBI, under the ruthless stewardship of its director J. Edgar Hoover, and the mafia had perfected the art of exerting influence via secretly photographing and compiling dossiers on the sexual peccadilloes of politicians, public officials and influential citizens. Saffron imported the practice to Australia. Saffron certainly understood weakness of the flesh. By any definition he was probably a sex addict.
 

BFew

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Tragic that people, mostly kids, were basically murdered for the financial gain of organised crime figures and high ranking police, politicians and judges.
When talking about financial gain, it's worth having a look at the known, suspected and publicly unknown places around the world, where some of Saffron's $$$ might have ended up.

Particularly those involving his 'philanthropic' interests, associates, and any organisations there is some evidence he was dealing with.
 

sprockets

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After watching the 3 part series, the only link they could come up with between the 'bikies' and Saffron was the word of someone who tells fibs? Les did tell the cops that he followed them afterwards but Fiona says he didn't, he spent the whole day with her.

I reckon there's good reason to believe Saffron was involved but the series added a fair bit of mayo to help prove their point. As usual, not an unbiased story.

This is another one of those 50yo cases where the facts change over time, often orchestrated by the media.
 

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The Passenger

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Haven't seen the documentary but I used to look into this a fair bit quite some time ago as my brother went to the same school as the boys who died (I went to a different school) and there was only a few years between them. There was never a single shred of doubt from anyone in that community that the fire was deliberately lit, although I don't recall anyone specifically mentioning Saffron by name - not the sort of people who would be clued into specific underworld figures.
 

Pamcake1

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After watching the 3 part series, the only link they could come up with between the 'bikies' and Saffron was the word of someone who tells fibs? Les did tell the cops that he followed them afterwards but Fiona says he didn't, he spent the whole day with her.

I reckon there's good reason to believe Saffron was involved but the series added a fair bit of mayo to help prove their point. As usual, not an unbiased story.

This is another one of those 50yo cases where the facts change over time, often orchestrated by the media.
In fact there were many eye witnesses who saw the 'Bikies' and described them in detail. The facts have not changed over time, the main thrust of the documentry is that it was never properly investigated at the time. If you have ever read the Nation Review back in the early to mid 1980's a lot of the 'facts' that are reiterated in this were first published there. It has always been known by the GP that Mr Sin was behind it.
 

Plugger35

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As they mentioned in the documentary, Abe Saffron and his hired goons had form in deliberately setting fire to other properties in Sydney prior to the Luna Park fire but due to his connections with the cops was able to get away with it so that adds weight to the theory that he was involved.

The fact that he was so keen to apply for the Luna Park lease when it was up for tender after the fire just adds further weight to it.

Was it 1974 or 1979?
It was 1979, Perth gal or one of the mods needs to change it.
 

utility

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I was told of 1970s corruption stories in NSW many years ago, forgot the detail, but it reminded me of how Al Capone had bought off politicians in Chicago.
 

sprockets

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In fact there were many eye witnesses who saw the 'Bikies' and described them in detail. The facts have not changed over time, the main thrust of the documentry is that it was never properly investigated at the time. If you have ever read the Nation Review back in the early to mid 1980's a lot of the 'facts' that are reiterated in this were first published there. It has always been known by the GP that Mr Sin was behind it.
I was talking about them setting the fire, for Saffron. There's little doubt they were there. The only person that says they lit the fire is Les, because he's the only person who says he heard them suggest they lit it. No-one saw them carrying kero.

The story by Meldrum-Hanna suggests the lights were on and the train was running so there couldn't have been an electrical fault. There were TWO fuse boxes, which tells us there were other electrical things running, such as the fan which was directly under, probably a foot away, from where the fire started.

My leaning is to Saffron but it can't be discounted that the fire started accidently. The story was far from unbiased.

PS. If I wanted a fire started by someone else I'd only want that person to know, I'd sure as hell be keeping the witnesses to a minimum.
 

johnymac1

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I was talking about them setting the fire, for Saffron. There's little doubt they were there. The only person that says they lit the fire is Les, because he's the only person who says he heard them suggest they lit it. No-one saw them carrying kero.

The story by Meldrum-Hanna suggests the lights were on and the train was running so there couldn't have been an electrical fault. There were TWO fuse boxes, which tells us there were other electrical things running, such as the fan which was directly under, probably a foot away, from where the fire started.

My leaning is to Saffron but it can't be discounted that the fire started accidently. The story was far from unbiased.

PS. If I wanted a fire started by someone else I'd only want that person to know, I'd sure as hell be keeping the witnesses to a minimum.

Yeah you are right

The fake fire is potentially an ignition source, it contained two red lamps and a large fan.
The lamps, I would assume were 300watt infra-red heat lamps. They Obviously run fairly hot to provide the effect. Some debris could have landed on the lamp and started the fire.

No way of telling now, because the site was cleared so quickly.

Some electrical fires burn with out blowing the fuses, like a fire in a capacitor or motor, they can catch fire without shorting.
 

johnymac1

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Still thinking about possible causes

Accident:
Ok its the middle of winter, and there are 3 ride opperators working.
And none of them has brought a single bar electric heater or an old kero heater along with them to to work?

Pyro:
There is a reason why police interviewed bystanders more than once. Everyone traveling on that ride before the fire would be a suspect.
Anyone hanging around watching it burn would be higher on the list. Anyone that took the ride alone, would be the number one suspect.

This ride was built in 1931 at glenelg SA and transported to Luna Park Sydney in 1935. it had no fire suppresion system, no emergency lighting,
no safe way of exiting the ride. and the opperators couldnt monitor whats going on in the ride.
 

Bunk Moreland

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After watching the 3 part series, the only link they could come up with between the 'bikies' and Saffron was the word of someone who tells fibs? Les did tell the cops that he followed them afterwards but Fiona says he didn't, he spent the whole day with her.

I reckon there's good reason to believe Saffron was involved but the series added a fair bit of mayo to help prove their point. As usual, not an unbiased story.

This is another one of those 50yo cases where the facts change over time, often orchestrated by the media.
I think they showed a bit more than that. They showed footage of the ranking police on the scene that morning, who oversaw the destruction of the crime scene, and connected them to Saffron.

They outlined how a key witness was pressured to change his story, corroborated by a third party who was with him when interviewed by police.

They established motive by showing how Saffron was granted control of the site after the fire.

I’m no apologist for dodgy crime docos - this very same team put together that absolute garbage about Keli Lane - but this was fairly thorough and well done.
 
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BFew

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Missing from the narrative from the revisiting of this 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train tragedy, is an article (key parts copied below) in Sydney's Daily Telegraph almost a year ago, that appeared 2 days after Abe's son Alan died in a Texas hospital aged 71yo.

Interesting that it says that Alan's wife would not release the evidence documents she claims Alan left, until after a year’s mourning as required by her late husband’s Jewish religion.

Interesting seeing as how the year is not up until later this month.

'Janet Fife-Yeomans
April 25, 2020 - 9:33AM


Abe Saffron’s son Alan to reveal secrets of deadly 1979 Luna Park fire
Alan Saffron, the son of the original King of the Cross, Abe Saffron, has died and now his last wish may help families find closure. He has left behind documents containing facts about his father’s involvement in the 1979 Luna Park fire that killed seven people and the presumed murder of activist Juanita Nielsen.

The truth about two of Sydney’s enduring tragedies including the Luna Park ghost train blaze will be revealed following the death of the son of Abe Saffron, the original King of the Cross.

Alan Saffron, 71, died two days ago in a Texas hospital and his widow has told The Daily Telegraph that his last wish was to give “closure” to the families of the fire victims and the relatives of Kings Cross activist Juanita Nielsen.

Genevieve Saffron said her late husband Alan had left behind documents that contained the facts about his ruthless father’s involvement in the Luna Park fire that killed seven people including six children in 1979 and the presumed murder of Ms Nielsen in 1975.

“He wants them to know the truth about what happened,” Ms Saffron, 73, said from Texas on Friday.

Alan Saffron died two days ago in Tirr Memorial Hospital, Houston after suffering a heart attack in February but his family was devastated because they had not been able to be with him because of the coronavirus lockdown.

“I do want redemption and to follow his wishes as much as I can,” Ms Saffron said.

“Redemption because his father was not a good man and he did things he should not have done and I think Alan was at odds with that.”

However she said she would not release the documents until after a year’s mourning as required by her late husband’s Jewish religion.

She said Alan also wanted the $650,000 money his father had left to his grandchildren and mistress to go to the victims’ families, as well as other money hidden in overseas bank accounts.

“I want to do it when I feel my husband is at peace,” American-born Ms Saffron, who moved back to the US with her husband to leave the Saffron legacy behind, said.

“I think there is a lot more at stake here. I want the facts to be revealed and verified but I don’t have the stamina right now.”
....

In 2007, when Abe Saffron’s niece, Anne Buckingham, told a newspaper during the fight over Saffron’s fortune, that he was responsible for the fire, Alan Saffron leapt to his father’s defence, saying there was no evidence and that the family was outraged by the accusation.
...
Alan Saffron, who became a film producer, resisted his father’s attempts to get him involved in his nightclubs and his daughter Rebecca Saffron, 39, said he was her hero.

“He was my hero and always will be number one in my heart,” she said.

Married for almost 42 years, her mother said: “I want him to be remembered by people who knew him and enjoyed him. He was a character, he was so full of life and all he really wanted was to be loved.

“He had this relationship with Abe that was very brutal. He tried all his life to have Abe love him like a son but Abe was not capable.”
 
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zedx

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After watching the documentary, IMO, it's still very unclear exactly what happened as there is no direct evidence. We need to keep in mind forensics in the 70's was far from what it is today. It is questionable why the scene was razed so quickly, but it could easily have just been a case of not understanding the forensic requirements of which we understand today or was it for insurance purposes? Was the owner worried something may be found which would void his insurance claim? What i don't understand is if it was done on purpose why on earth would they do when the ride was operational (risking innocent lives)? and why when there were crowds of people around (risk being seen)? Would it not have been far simpler to have done it whilst the park was closed?
 

BFew

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What i don't understand is if it was done on purpose why on earth would they do when the ride was operational (risking innocent lives)? and why when there were crowds of people around (risk being seen)? Would it not have been far simpler to have done it whilst the park was closed?
Easier to get in and out undetected when there are lots of other ppl around.
Lots of other potential suspects with so many people around.
No security cameras back then.
No smartphone cameras/video recorders in just about everyone's hand/bag for teenagers + back then
 

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