However, that could soon change, with author and journalist Duncan McNab, who will be speaking at tomorrow’s soiree, currently pitching a “docudrama” to several production companies.
“It’s an extraordinary story, one which has been a constant in my life ever since I was a little boy. I am amazed no one has ever turned it into a miniseries or film before, she certainly deserves one,” McNab enthused to PS.
Nielsen eschewed the genteel life for a slightly more gritty one in her beloved Potts Point, publishing her own community newspaper, called NOW, from her terrace house at 202 Victoria Street.
In an era of crooked cops, bent politicians and rapacious property developers (sound familiar?) it was Nielsen, via her little paper, who during the early 1970s waged battle against the developers who wanted to bulldoze elegant heritage buildings to erect a forest of ugly apartment towers.
In 1973, developer Frank Theeman booted about 300 tenants out of the Victoria Street terraces so he could pull them down and erect his highrise, with several still casting gloomy shadows over the leafy street to this day.
Squatters moved in to stop Theeman’s wrecking crew. Nielsen used her paper to advocate for the preservation of the houses. The Builders Labourers Federation, led by Jack Mundey, put a green ban on the precinct.
Theeman’s $60 million dream turned into a nightmare. The two-year stand-off was brutal. There was arson, with one act deadly. Protester Arthur King was kidnapped and held in the boot of a car for days. Raids and bashings on the squatters were routine, so too marches and demonstrations.
The battle was winding down by 1975, but Theeman was in strife, paying out thousands of dollars a day on his loans, and with only a few buildings finished.
Nielsen was last seen at the Carousel Club, a nightclub run by Jim Anderson, an associate of notorious underworld figure Abe Saffron, on the morning of July 4, 1975.
It would later emerge that Anderson was paid $25,000 by Theeman, not long before Nielsen disappeared, supposedly for the purchase of a Bondi club.
Nielsen was at the Carousel Club to meet with manager Eddie Trigg and his partner, receptionist Loretta Crawford, to discuss advertising.
But four days before the appointment Trigg and another man, Shayne Martin-Simmonds, had visited Nielsen`s residence with the intention of abducting her. Martin-Simmonds later told police they planned to “just quietly grab her by the arm and maybe put a hand over her head” when she opened the door.
But their plan was foiled when Nielsen’s friend David Farrell answered the door.
In 1981 Trigg was convicted of conspiring to kidnap Nielsen, as was Martin-Simmonds two years later. Neither man gave a motive for the attempted abduction.
Nielsen’s body has never been found, stories vary wildly as to her resting place. Bones found at Kurnell during the excavation for the desalination plant were not hers. Other theories have come and gone, including that her body was dumped in the Blue Mountains near the Hydro Majestic hotel. More recently it was speculated her body was under a runway at Sydney Airport.
Other rumours have her remains in the foundations of Theeman’s towers, the same buildings she waged war against.
Day’s legal woes continue
Six weeks ago Titus Day sounded like a broken man as he spoke exclusively to PS about the ongoing legal dispute he was embroiled in with his former best friend and client, Guy Sebastian.
Fielding PS’s questions, Day was trying to care for his ailing mother, but was frank in his admission that the legal ordeal was taking a huge toll on his emotions, and those of his wife Courtney, along with his extended family. “I’ve tried more than a dozen times to organise a meeting with him and his lawyers to work this out in a civil way but he has ignored me or refused every time,” Day told me.
That toll became worse on Wednesday night when he was arrested and charged with fraud, spending the night away from his young family behind bars at Waverley Police Station.
Usually at 6pm on a weeknight Day and his wife are juggling three children at dinner time. But Wednesday night was a little different. NSW Police detectives came knocking on the door of the Days’ Bondi home, which they share with Day’s parents after Titus Day sold the family’s previous home to help pay for his legal battle with Sebastian.
In recent months money had become so tight for Day that he represented himself in the Federal Court case over claims and counter-claims of money being owed.
Day, wearing a Road Runner T-shirt, calmly greeted police at his front door on Wednesday, careful not to distress his family inside. Detectives entered the home and went with Day upstairs, out of the children’s sight, only to emerge a short time later. Day was then frisked outside the front door, surrendered his passport and was led away to a waiting police van.
It was a far cry from the red carpets Day once walked down with the likes of Sebastian and his other former clients, Sophie Monk and Grant Denyer.
The only lenses focused on Day on Wednesday night were the ones the police brought with them, to document the entire ignominious episode.
They even filmed Day through an air vent in the back of the wagon, the sort of treatment usually reserved for murder suspects and drug dealers.
And sure enough, it was the lead story on every news outlet.
Norvill in limbo
Geoffrey Rush gets to keep his record defamation payout of almost $2.9 million after The Daily Telegraph’s parent company Nationwide News failed on Thursday in its bid to appeal the amount of damages.
However, surely the real victim in the legal tussle has been the woman who never wanted any part of it in the first place, the actor Eryn Jean Norvill, who had her integrity questioned at every turn of the drawn-out legal process.
Norvill, who remained silent this week, only ever wanted her employer, the Sydney Theatre Company, to know about the alleged behaviour of her co-star Geoffrey Rush, with whom she starred in the 2010 production of King Lear.
She did not give an interview to the Telegraph, she did not initiate legal proceedings, nor did she ever want her name attached to any formal complaint about Rush.
Since Rush’s victory, Norvill’s career has stalled, though she did appear on the Perth stage. She was also due to be in rehearsals right now for the STC’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was meant to have its world premiere on July 21.
However thanks to the pandemic, the production has been postponed. And while the STC is “hopeful” it will be on the stage later in the year, no firm dates have yet been announced.
Norvill is once again in limbo, through no fault of her own.
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Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.