Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Who Took Banana Jim? Looking Back with Di Millar

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Who Took Banana Jim? Looking Back with Di Millar

Article excerpt

NEXT month it will be 50 years since a baffling kidnapping case took place on the Tweed which left local residents and police officers scratching their heads at just how the perpetrators managed to carry out such a dastardly act in broad daylight.

On Sunday, August 25, 1963 one of the most beloved figures on the Tweed was kidnapped, causing consternation among many of his friends and acquaintances, and especially those who lived in the town of Murwillumbah.

The Tweed identity disappeared from the Ski Lodge Gardens grounds at Barneys Point where an aquatic carnival had just been held.

His companion for the day, 18- year-old Ken Strickland of Murwillumbah, had only been gone a short time while in order to take a shower after his exertions during the Sunday aquatic show.

On returning to where the two Murwillumbah residents had parted company, Ken was horrified to find the colourful character, who had been leaning by a wall, was not there.

Investigating police from the Tweed and Gold Coast believed that the kidnapping was the act of pranksters. Detective Sergeant J G Winter of Murwillumbah said at the time that the police would welcome an anonymous phone call advising them of the whereabouts of the kidnap victim.

The victim worked in advertising for the banana industry throughout Australia and appeared on Sydney and country television.

He was also featured in the city press when he joined the Sydney Waratah Festival pageant in 1960. Each year he came out of retirement for the Banana Festival week held at the end of August and was a familiar figure at official ceremonies.

Festival secretary-organiser Mr M Wein said that everyone was really worried about Jim's disappearance.

The prominent festival identity for the past five years was due to appear at a ceremony on Friday afternoon, August 30 when Mr J D Anthony, MHR was to proclaim Australia's biggest grown banana at the King Banana crowning at Broadway in Murwillumbah's main street.

Not long before his disappearance Jim was given his usual warm greeting by thousands of people attending the aquatic carnival when he arrived by speedboat. …

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