In 1973 the firebombing of the Whiskey Au-Go-Go nightclub grabbed the headlines in Brisbane unlike any other disaster beforehand. 15 people were killed amid the inferno, the worst mass-murder ever in Australia. Rumours were rife. Detectives were forewarned, but was the firebombing part of an implausible notion to embark on an extortion racket? Or was it a scheme for insurance purposes? Perhaps it was the act of a disgruntled customer, a former employee, or someone owed money? Politicians from all sides of Parliament demanded quick answers.
Unbeknown to but a few, early in the morning after the fire, Billy McCulkin was the first person interviewed by detectives while his wife and young daughters fled from their Highgate Hill house; and they only returned to their house after the arrests of John Stuart and Jim Finch. Later, Mrs McCulkin confided to her co-worker, as well as a neighbour, and her brother that she feared for her safety because she knew her husband and his associates were involved in both the Torino and Whiskey Au-Go-Go nightclub fires.