Treasure House Murders

One of the most exciting things about writing a book is the reader feedback.

After my first book Murder in Suburbia was released in January 2014 I got quite a few emails and letters from people who were fascinated by the older, Melbourne cases and also from people who had a personal link to some of the murders.

treasure house 2
From The Argus, Monday 17 December 1956.

I wrote about the 1956 murders of an elderly mother and her daughter in Melbourne’s Fitzroy. These brutal killings (the women were bashed to death) became known as “The Treasure House” murders because the women had wads of money, jewellery and thousands of dollars (pounds back then) worth of exquisite Chinse carvings and furniture in their home.

The case remains unsolved – a male boarder did go to trial over the killings but he was acquited.

Article from The Canberra Times, December 18, 1956
Article from The Canberra Times, December 18, 1956

I received a fascinating email from the niece of MaryBoanas, who was one of the women clubbed to death. This woman wrote and told me she was actually there on the day her relations were murdered. She was a young girl and was visiting “Aunty Min and Rose” with her mother and three siblings. Here are her words:

“…I was then the 11-year-old standing outside their front door whilst the murderer was still inside the house.

They had partly raised me on their return from China, when we had a family guest house in Healesville, they later bought the house in Fitzroy, Aunty Min was my Grandmothers sister and Rose was her daughter.

As was the custom of the day they took in male borders, not because they needed the money but because it was considered safer to have a male person living on the house, they were wrong it was one of these men that murdered them for their money.

They did not trust banks and keep their money wrapped in socks and underwear in their drawers.

Our Mother took us for a pre-Christmas visit as she did every year, if they were not home they would leave their front door key for me to enter the house and wait for them.  The key was hidden in the vine twisted around one of the pillars on the front verandah.   However this particular day it was not there, very strange I thought.

As it was a hot day my Mother took us (4 children) to get ice creams as were sure they would return soon, they were looking forward to our visit.

We returned but there was still no answer, we did not know at that time they were dying in pools of blood not far inside the door.

On returning home my mother phoned one of her Aunts who had a spare key and Aunty Rose, said she would go and check on them. that was when she made the gruesome discovery.  I believe our Holden car was pictured in the news article of the day…”

The reader even sent me a photo of one of the Chinese tables belonging to the murdered women from “the treasure house”, which her mother gave her.

IMG_3420

Thank you to readers who take the time to contact authors. 

7 comments

  1. mitchell harrison

    Its fantastic that you let us know about these shocking events in our city. Just maybe there is some hope,after all this time, that somebody sees this story and it jogs a memory. Thank you Emily.

  2. Mitchell Harrison

    Has it ever been written that the murder weapon was a cricket bat and that china plates were stolen. It’s just what i heard.

  3. Jen

    My Aunty Joy Summers was murdered in 1981. Believed to be the Tynong North murderer. Found interesting info online over the years but still unsolved. Interesting point was one of the victims was the aunt of the then Chief Police Commissioner Miller. Main suspect is still alive I think. Make a good book..

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