Saturday 11 January, 1947
Sixty-nine years ago at approximately 8.30 in the morning 19 year-old Bronia Armstrong's body was discovered in a back room at the BAFS Medical
Institute, Wallace Bishop Arcade, Albert Street, Brisbane.
Queensland detectives swiftly targeted Bronia's boss, Reg Brown,
ruthlessly interrogating him, without legal representation, for the
entire day - his rights only read that evening, moments before his
arrest for willful murder. Despite his protestations of innocence the fifty-year-old accountant and BAFS Medical Institute Secretary was charged and taken to the city watch house. He would never again
return to his family, waiting anxiously in their St Lucia home.
This was the day in 1947 that life took a devastating turn for two ordinary Brisbane families....the Armstrongs and the Browns.
Friday 10 January, 1947
On this date, during the late afternoon or evening, at a time undetermined, Bronia Mary
Armstrong, a popular young Brisbane woman, lost her life - at whose
hands and under what circumstances remains a mystery. History shows her
immediate supervisor, Reg Brown, was responsible and the justice
system, of which Detective Sub-Inspector Frank Bischof was a key player,
took exactly 8 weeks to see St. Lucia family man, Reg Brown, arrested and sentenced to life in Boggo Road Gaol.
after the life sentence was handed down, Reg, our grandfather, who consistently professed his innocence, was
The files on the 'Arcade Murder' were closed; another successful
conviction for Frank Bischof, Queensland's future police commissioner (for more on Bischof see Matthew Condon's Three Crooked Kings and Jacks & Jokers). Police officers
moved up the ladder and enjoyed stellar careers, as did the Supreme
Court judge, prosecutor, government pathologist and junior defense
barrister, (Sir) Harry Gibbs.
Life would never be the same, however, for the
two devastated families left behind. The Armstrongs grieved their loving
daughter and sister, and the Brown family, a much loved husband, father
As a result of many years of research we've exposed glaring anomalies and flaws in this
so-called 'open and shut' case, including the Supreme Court trial. We, and we're pleased to say many
others, now hold the opinion our grandfather was most likely innocent of this crime.... if so, who was responsible for taking Bronia Armstrong's life? We
invite readers to form their own opinion. Did the 1947 'Arcade Murder'
investigation and Supreme Court trial result in a severe miscarriage of
Deb and Jan
The authors are to be congratulated
for their painstaking work and the clear and balanced presentation of
their findings. It is clear that they have worked hard to do what those
with legal responsibilities in relation to the case failed to do. It
will be interesting to see whether it leads to the conviction being
challenged through the courts in due course. I am clearly of the view
that it ought to be – although I am well aware of the considerable
procedural issues which might stand in the way.
Dr Robert N Moles, Law Professor, 1 April 2014 click to read about Brisbane's Arcade Murder on NetK