Kate McClymont speaker event

Starting on 19 July 2018 18:30:00


The Bold, the Bothersome and the Bagmen:
Tales of an investigative journalist

'I must've known I was destined for a life of crime, or at least crime reporting, when I managed to turn the safe occupation of a society chronicler into one which attracted death threats. Bored of chronicling the Eastern Suburbs cocktail set, populated by shoulder-pad wearing blondes with bouffants who looked like extras from Dynasty, I scouted the mid-week greyhound races at Wentworth Park where I stumbled upon Labor MP Rex "Buckets" Jackson, the former prisons minister. It came as no surprise when he was subsequently jailed for accepting bribes for arranging the early release of prisoners. 

In 1986 I wrote a humorous report on the wedding at Kincoppal of underworld figure George Freeman, following which I started receiving threats at my home, with anonymous callers informing me that I had gone too far and that "Mr Freeman was not happy". But rather than put me off, Freeman's threats galvanised me. It sparked a lifelong interest in organised crime. Four years after writing that article, I broke the story of Freeman dying of an asthma attack after a malfunction with the oxygen cylinder he kept in his house.

Even better than a gangster's wedding is a funeral. At Freeman's funeral, the formidable underworld figure Lennie McPherson brusquely waved aside his four minders, all sporting broken noses and bulky frames, to hold an impromptu press conference to honour his mate. During the eulogy, it was joked that Freeman's welcome at the Pearly Gates would have been warm and St Peter would have greeted him by saying: "Come on in, mate. God wants to know your tips for the Golden Slipper."

There were quiet guffaws among we journalists at McPherson's funeral when his daughter Janelle said of her father: "He chose a path in life that you and I might not have chosen but at least he could say he was at the top of his profession." '

This is just a taste of the many extraordinary tales with which Kate will entertain you at this speaker event. 


About Kate McClymont

Kate is an investigative journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald. She is a five-time winner of journalism’s most prestigious award, the Walkley, including the Gold Walkley for her coverage of the Bulldogs salary cap rorts. 

She was named the 2012 NSW Journalist of the year for her investigations into the fraudulent activities of Michael Williamson, the head of the Health Services Union and the business activities of former NSW Labor minister, Eddie Obeid.

Kate is also the recipient of numerous other awards including six Kennedy Awards, the Australian Shareholders’ Association award for excellence in financial reporting (1992), The NSW Law Society’s Golden Quill award for excellence in legal reporting (1990 and 1992), Australian Racing Writer of the Year (1995), Australian Sports Commission Media Award (2002). She also won the 2012 George Munster Award for Independent Journalism.

In 2016 she was awarded the Australian Press Council’s Press Freedom Medal for her work as an investigative journalist. From 2015 to 2017 Kate McClymont was chairman of the Walkley Advisory board and a director of the Walkley Foundation. In 2017 she was inducted into the Media Hall of Fame for her contribution to the industry. With her colleague Linton Besser, she has published He Who Must Be Obeid, which chronicles corruption in NSW. She graduated with a B.A. (Hons) from the University of Sydney and is currently serving a second term as a Fellow of the Senate of the university.


Event details
Date: Thursday 19 July
Time: 6.30 for 7pm
Venue: Carabella Room
Cost: $85 for two courses and wines
Members please book online via the "JOIN" button above
NB this event is open to members and their guests only