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Murder mystery may soon be solved

The mystery of conservationist Juanita Nielsen’s murder in 1975 might be solved soon. Image: Jean-no/Wikimedia Commons


Heiress Juanita Joan Nielsen was a Kings Cross-based owner of the newspaper, “NOW” and a writer who became notable for her activism for urban conservation and community issues, particularly anti-development campaigns.

She was vociferously against Sydney Council projects to “up-grade” Oxford Street, a monorail for Darlinghurst Road and the demolition of both Woolloomooloo and Victoria Street, Potts Point, for high-rise office and apartments.

She used Green bans to stymie projects and then arranged for “Grey bans”, cutting off sewage supplies, to proposed new apartments. “I don’t care whose toes I step on,” she announced, adding, “Residents have a right to live in their chosen environment”, a mantra which cost her own life.

Her campaigns cost developers a mint.
However, she disappeared in Kings Cross, Sydney, on the 4th July, 1975 aged 38.

Lackadaisical Police investigation
The NSW Police force launched Operation Euclid, paradoxically named after the founder of mathematical geometry, but never located her body or charged anyone with her murder. At the time locals said police were slow to act.

Abe Saffron a criminal in Kings Cross in the 1970s was linked to other crime bosses including developers.
He bribed police and his illegal nightclubs were frequented by police with the money couriered by his son, Alan.
On 23 April 2020, Alan Saffron died in the Tirr Memorial Hospital, Houston, Texas, of a heart attack, aged 71.

His family were prevented from being at his bedside because of Corona virus-19 social distancing rules
Alan’s recent book, describing his life in the Cross in the 70s, was launched in Sydney a few years ago and I met him on the streets of Kings Cross.

“Do you know who murdered Juanita Nielsen?” I asked him. “It’s all in my father’s diaries,” he replied, “which are locked in the safe of Angus and Robertson, publishers, and marked ‘never to be released’ until I die.”
“Why?” I asked. “Because I would fear for my own life,” he responded.

He implied what others have said, namely: that criminal underworld figures of the 1970s and some police who may be implicated are still alive and might seek retribution if new investigations were now launched.

However, Alan’s widow, Genevieve Saffron, 73, has said she intends to release the diaries, saying: “I want redemption”, to respect his wishes and for the facts to be revealed.

Hebraic funeral rites are ancient and complex. Their law allows for a year of mourning rituals after which documents can be released.

Campaigners have called on the NSW State Govt. to issue a million-dollar reward to discover who murdered Mrs Nielsen (as she preferred to be called).

Her 1840s worker’s cottage at 202 Victoria Street, Potts Point, where she lived and worked, is now heritage listed.

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