News

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



UPDATE: Man charged with endangering children in Gympie

The man and two children were travelling in this vehicle.

The two children were missing from Emerald

Men in custody after police swarm house, find missing baby

Police believe the baby girl may be with a 16-year-old and 19-year-old in a green 1995 Mazda 121 with Queensland registration 045GOS, and could be heading to Toowoomba.

The two men and baby girl could be heading to Toowoomba

Debate rages over $65 levy to help resurrect Rattler

Gympie Regional Council's decision to impose an Economic Development Levy to help get the Rattler back on track has come under fire from letter writers to The Gympie Times.

Debate rages in our letters to the editor over the Rattler levy

Latest deals and offers

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

Charlize Theron's son dresses up as Frozen character

Actor Charlize Theron

Star's son spotted dressed a beloved Frozen character

BOOKS: Food for thought in Caroline Beecham's latest novel

Maggie's Kitchen by Caroline Beecham is published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.

New novel reminds readers that bravery exists in many forms

TELEVISION: New show is a Survivor, for now

Jonathan LaPaglia hosts the TV series Australian Survivor.

WHAT happens when a new show with a big budget flops?

Rachel Weisz understands celebrity gossip fascination

Actor Rachel Weisz

Weisz says mystery is good for an actor

Gina Rodriguez relished dramatic change for new film

Jane the Virgin lead Gina Rodriguez

TV star shaved her hair for movie role

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa