Helltown author on trial on indecent treatment charges

HEADLINES: Gympie was branded “Helltown” when the August, 1997 Penthouse hit the newsstands.
HEADLINES: Gympie was branded “Helltown” when the August, 1997 Penthouse hit the newsstands.

THE man who once dubbed Gympie "Helltown," accusing it of a "dark and sinister" culture of illicit sex, murder and drug use, has been committed for trial on sex charges involving under-age girls.

Leading Queensland criminologist Paul Wilson, 73, quoted statistics over a police region area that extends up to 130kms away to ridicule Gympie in an article published in the August 1997 issue of Australian Penthouse magazine.

The article did incalculable damage to Gympie and its people.

Now, the man who accused us of harbouring a culture of condoned sex offences, including fathers abusing daughters, has been accused of indecently touching girls under. 

Prof Wilson is charged with the indecent treatment of two girls under 17, over a number of years in the 1970s at Indooroopilly, in Brisbane's west.

His "Helltown" article prompted a Gympie rebellion, with sports teams and a band taking the name and one resident writing a song ridiculing Wilson.

As The Gympie Times now deputy editor Shelley Strachan reported in a front page story on July 9, 1997, Wilson's article depicted Gympie as "the most undesirable place to live in all of Australia, full of hypocrisy, sexual violence, fear, drugs, murder, incest, pack rape, economic stagnation and rabid right-wing gun fanatics".

He claimed "fathers who rape their daughters are let off with a warning," the article said.

Such was the lingering stigma it created that some young Gympie people told me they have been embarrassed to say where they come from when they go elsewhere to study or work; many say they are from the Sunshine Coast.

An editorial that day did not deny that these problems exist, but pointed out that they were not unique to Gympie, especially as many of the figures related to areas many kilometres away.

Police district inspector Veronica Kane commented at the time that the Gympie police district, from which the figures were gathered, included Cherbourg, Murgon, Blackbutt, Nanango, Kingaroy, Proston, Wondai, Kumbia, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Imbil, Goomeri and Kilkivan and involved populations of tens of thousands of people.

All this was implicitly attributed to one "quiet country town with 12,300 inhabitants (as Gympie was then)," she said.

Prof Wilson has been committed for Brisbane District Court trial on a date to be fixed.

Gympie Times

Plenty of feud for Bruce's family

TV BECKONS: Miss9 discovers the joys of comparing Family Feud in the Devereaux household.

Bruce shares his hilarious tales of life with a big family

That was a crazy week

Women writing on paper with a pen on a white background.

Colin shares his views on the week that was.

Rattler business case raises plenty of questions

Gympie Regional Council wants to get the Rattler up and running again, but this letter writer says the business case has some serious flaws.

Mary Valley Rattler business case has plenty of holes: letter writer

Local Partners

Brad Pitt won't file legal response to divorce petition

Brad reportedly refused to send off the paperwork

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track