Mums Walk Free After ‘Cynical’ Superannuation Fraud in West End

Two Queensland mothers who tried to steal $83,500 from the superannuation nest eggs of eight hardworking Queenslanders during the Covid-19 pandemic, by assuming their identities using personal information from a laptop stolen in West End, have walked free from court on good behaviour bonds in 2024.



The guilty parties, two women aged 45, appeared at the Brisbane District Court on Tuesday, the 28th of May 2024, where they admitted to three charges each related to the fraud.

The court heard that the pair were able to try to steal the superannuation by using personal information, including bank details, found on a laptop stolen from 3D Stone in West End in 2017. 

Later, these details were used with prepaid phones and mygov accounts to try to rip off Queenslanders by faking applications under the Early Release Superannuation program, which was designed to provide cash for those facing financial hardships amid the coronavirus pandemic. They tried to steal a portion of the superannuation funds by assuming other people’s identities, with victims telling the court they suffered emotional trauma and serious inconvenience.

The pair admitted to dealing with identification information that involved using a carriage service and influencing a Commonwealth public official. 

Judge Deborah Holliday KC, in sentencing, said the crimes were “serious” and the pair were only stopped from pocketing the cash due to anti-fraud protections by banks and super funds, and the proactive response by some of the victims. Ultimately, they only obtained $2,000.

Crown Prosecutor Clare O’Connor described the fraud as “cynical” and submitted that the pair should serve jail time and that offenders must be deterred. She stated they could not say “exactly what either of them did” in the fraud, considering them both as “principal offenders” for sentencing purposes.

Defence counsel Damien Walsh said his client was remorseful and had written a letter of apology to the court. Colin Reid said his client was a mother of three who had pleaded guilty 16 months ago and had the case hanging over her head.



The pair were both sentenced to two years’ prison, wholly suspended upon entering into a $1,000 good behaviour bond for two years and serving one year’s probation. The court heard that if they breach the conditions of the bond, they may be required to pay the $1,000.

Published 29-May-2024

Exploring The Best Vintage Shops of West End

A cluster of vintage shops are drawing locals and tourists alike with their carefully curated collections of pre-loved fashion gems. From Y2K staples to retro cowboy boots, West End has become a go-to destination for vintage shopping. Let’s explore five of West End’s must-visit vintage havens.



SWOP Clothing Exchange

Photo Credit: Instagram / @_swop

With locations in West End and the CBD, SWOP is an iconic part of Brisbane’s secondhand scene. This longstanding boutique doesn’t just resell any old clothes — their experienced buyers hand-select each item from particular brands and eras. Browsing the racks, you’ll find current designers alongside vintage statement pieces meticulously assembled under one roof.

Memory Lane Vintage Store

Photo Credit: Instagram / @memorylanevintagestore

Step off bustling Burnett Lane into this cosy vintage cave housed in an ambient CBD arcade. With 17 sellers contributing their prize picks, Memory Lane overflows with an eclectic, ever-changing array of 80s, 90s and Y2K clothing and accessories from beloved brands like Juicy Couture and Nike. Keep an eye out for rare branded gems.

Brik Market

Photo Credit: Instagram / @brik_market

Tucked away on Vulture Street, Brik Market lives up to its name as a sprawling permanent marketplace focused on Y2K vintage fashion. Over 10 sellers combine forces to fill every nook and cranny of the space with racks upon racks of 90s crop tops, joggers, mini bags and more from that iconic era of stylish insouciance.

The Love Bubble

Photo Credit: Instagram / @thelovebubblecollective

This long-running vintage haunt is a West End institution for graphic tees, jumpers, and all things 90s menswear and womenswear. Climbing the stairs, you’ll find seemingly endless racks devoted to each category, making it a surefire stop for vintage tee connoisseurs. With an entire floor dedicated to women’s vintage, fashionistas can easily lose an afternoon exploring.

Neo-Generalist

Photo Credit: Instagram / @neogeneralist

Neo-Generalist is an undisputed haven for vintage footwear, especially coveted cowboy boots. In addition to the outstanding boot collection, you’ll find an eclectic, highly curated array of vintage clothing and accessories from decades past alongside modern indie brands.



For shoppers seeking unique, sustainable fashion or just the thrill of scoring an exceptional vintage find, West End’s tight-knit community of vintage shops make it one of Brisbane’s premier destinations for stylish step back in time.

Published 25-May-2024

AI Scam Targets West End Executive Using Cloned Voice of Steven Miles

Scammers tried to dupe a West End advertising executive into investing in cryptocurrency through a fortunately unsuccessful scam that used AI to clone the voice of Steven Miles.



The incident unfolded when Dee Madigan, a seasoned advertising executive and creative director who runs Campaign Edge along Victoria St, received a message on social media, purportedly from Mr Miles. Aware of the deceptive nature of the contact due to her longstanding friendship with the premier, Ms Madigan decided to engage with the scammer for amusement during a period of isolation at home due to COVID-19.

The scammer, operating under a fabricated profile on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, quickly steered the conversation towards financial investments. 

Ms Madigan, playing along, expressed interest but feigned difficulty in setting up a trading account to stall the scammer. Despite her refusal to set up the account, she received an unexpected phone call, where she heard what seemed to be Mr Miles’s voice, discussing busy schedules and investment talks.

Technological Manipulation

This impersonation was facilitated by AI voice cloning technology advancements that can create convincing replicas of a person’s voice with minimal audio samples. While sounding like Mr Miles, the conversation had peculiar inflections that hinted at its artificial origins.

The situation escalated with the scammer sending Ms Madigan a voice message via Telegram, apologising for the hurried conversation and promising future contact regarding the investment. This interaction highlighted the eerily realistic quality of the cloned voice, which could easily deceive individuals unfamiliar with such technology.

Official Responses and Warnings

Upon learning about the misuse of his voice, Ms Miles expressed his dismay, confirming his non-involvement in any investment advisories, especially in cryptocurrencies. He emphasised the importance of vigilance against scams, especially with the approaching October election, urging the public to rely on credible sources for information and report suspicious activities to scamwatch.gov.au.

Consumer advocacy groups and cybersecurity experts have echoed these concerns, indicating a likely increase in AI scams. They advise the public to be particularly cautious, as the technology used in these scams can also replicate the voices of family members or friends in distress, a tactic aimed at bypassing the emotional defences of potential victims.

The Broader Impact of AI Scams

The misuse of AI scam is not limited to voice cloning. There have been instances of deepfake videos that manipulate public figures’ likenesses to create misleading or harmful content. This growing trend underscores the dual-edged nature of technological advancements, where significant ethical and security challenges counterbalance the benefits of AI.



Experts argue that while the technology is here to stay, public awareness and regulatory measures must be strengthened to protect individuals from these sophisticated scams. Integrating AI into everyday interactions means that people need to be more discerning and cautious, reinforcing personal security measures to combat these emerging threats.

Published 20-May-2024

West End Welcomes Winter with Solstice Market Extravaganza

As the days grow shorter and the evening chill descends, the West End community is gearing up to celebrate the winter solstice with a one-night-only transformation of their beloved markets.



On Friday, the 14th of June 2024, Davies Park will become a vibrant hub of festive activity, featuring over 120 food, drink, and artisan stalls, two stages of live music, mesmerising fire twirlers, and cosy bonfires.

Photo Credit: Facebook/ West End Markets

This special edition of the West End Markets promises a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

Foodies can indulge in an array of culinary delights from local favourites like Best of the Wurst, Street Eatz, Choco Bliss, and Tea & Pearls. Meanwhile, craft enthusiasts can browse a diverse selection of artisanal wares while enjoying live music and captivating performances.

Photo Credit: Facebook/ West End Markets

For those seeking warmth and cheer, the Stone & Wood pop-up bars will be serving glühwein, a traditional spiced wine perfect for a chilly winter’s night. 

With free entry and parking, the West End Solstice Market offers an accessible and enchanting way to embrace the changing season.

Photo Credit: Facebook/ West End Markets

The festivities will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and continue until 10:00 p.m., providing ample opportunity for attendees to explore the market’s offerings, soak up the vibrant atmosphere, and celebrate the longest night of the year in true West End style.



Published Date 14-May-2024

Developers Eye Beesley Street in West End for High-End Townhome Project

One of the last remaining infill development sites at Beesley Street in West End could soon be transformed into a luxury townhouse complex. 


Read: Prime West End Development Site Housing Childcare Centre Snapped Up


This comes after a developer has lodged plans for a seven-storey apartment building containing 42 upscale units at 28 Beesley Street.

The proposed development by Tocu Properties aims to meet the growing demand for high-quality residential accommodation in the trendy West End neighbourhood. 

Beesley Street
Photo credit: Woods Bagot

Designed by acclaimed architects Woods Bagot, the proposed townhouse complex offers a mix of two and three-bedroom layouts, with some apartments including a separate study for added flexibility.

“This project represents an exciting opportunity to enhance the residential offerings in the vibrant West End community, combining luxury living with the convenience of urban life,” the developers stated in the planning documents.

Future residents could enjoy an amenity-rich lifestyle with the entire 656 square metre rooftop devoted to communal open space. Proposed features include an infinity edge pool, hot and cold pools, barbeque areas, open lawns, and unobstructed views of the Brisbane CBD, South Bank, and Brisbane River.

Photo credit: Woods Bagot

To accommodate the influx of residents and visitors, the complex will provide 59 parking spaces, 3 of which are designated for guests.

The 1,648 square metre lot at 28 Beesley Street is positioned as one of the last prime infill sites in West End’s increasingly built-up urban landscape. 

“Along Filmer Street, the building’s architecture is highly varied and articulated. These details have been discussed previously and include the curved balconies, large expanses of floor to ceiling glazing, a terracotta-look spandrel which frames each level and feathered batten screening between adjoining units,” planners stated.


Read: Altura: The New Apex of Urban Living in West Village, West End


If approved, the development would further elevate West End’s reputation as one of Brisbane’s most sought-after inner-city locales.

Published 13-April-2024

West End Transforms for Paniyiri, Queensland’s Largest Greek Festival

West End is set to transform into a lively celebration of Greek culture as Queensland’s largest multicultural festival, Paniyiri Greek Festival, returns for its 48th year in 2024.


Read: Yamas Greek & Drink Named Best Greek Restaurant in Southeast QLD


Attracting over 50,000 people annually, this two-day extravaganza will take over Musgrave Park in West End and the Greek Club in South Brisbane on May 18 and 19.

Organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of St George, Paniyiri is not only Queensland’s longest-running Greek fest but also one of Australia’s most enduring celebrations of Hellenic culture. Visitors can expect an immersive experience that transports them to the heart of Greek culture. 

Photo credit: Paniyiri Greek Festival/Facebook 

From lively Zorba dancing and the traditional plate smashing to indulging in delectable honey puff eating competitions, the festival promises a true taste of Greek revelry.

Beyond the festivities, attendees can explore a pop-up Greek village, witness captivating cooking demonstrations, and savour a mouthwatering array of Greek culinary delights from food stalls and cafes.

Photo credit: Paniyiri Greek Festival/Facebook 

The festival’s significance extends far beyond its cultural offerings. As Minister for Multicultural Affairs and a second-generation child of Greek parents, Charis Mullen, proudly acknowledges Paniyiri’s immense importance on Queensland’s multicultural calendar. “Queensland is a proudly multicultural state,” Mullen states. 

Greek Festival
Photo credit: Paniyiri Greek Festival/Facebook 

“We speak hundreds of languages and come from all corners of the globe, and it’s festivals like this that bring us all together to proudly share our multicultural heritage.”

Echoing these sentiments, Chris Kazonis OAM, Chair of the Paniyiri Organizing Committee, emphasises the festival’s role in showcasing the Greek community’s rich culture. 

Greek Festival
Photo credit: Paniyiri Greek Festival/Facebook 

“This is one of the nation’s biggest festivals to showcase our food, music, and art, and Australia’s longest-running Greek festival,” he said. “It’s time to dine, dance, and party like a Greek.”

As the state embraces its multicultural tapestry, Paniyiri stands as a vibrant celebration of unity, diversity, and the enduring spirit of Queensland’s Greek community.


Read: Authentic Asian Flavours Meet Aussie Brews at West Village’s Goodtime Restaurant


Mark your calendars for this extraordinary event, where the flavours, sounds, and traditions of Greece will come alive in the heart of Brisbane. Visit https://paniyiri.com/ for more details.

Published 1-April-2024

Prime West End Development Site Housing Childcare Centre Snapped Up

A large 1338 sqm site housing a childcare centre and residence in West End has been sold for $3.8 million, attracting strong interest from investors eyeing its long-term redevelopment upside.


Read: A Fresh Take on The West End Towers


The property at 86 Jane Street is currently occupied by Edge Early Learning childcare centre, which has a lease running until 2027 with a five-year option. It also contains a five-bedroom, two-bathroom residential dwelling.

Edge Early Learning at Jane Street is an educational facility that has 44 spaces and consists of three separate classrooms or learning environments. These three distinct areas are designated for different age groups: one for infants (Nursery), another for toddlers (Toddler room), and the third for preschool-aged children (Kindergarten room).

Photo credit: Edge Early Learning West End – Jane Street/Google Maps

The site was purchased by Shally Family Trust after an expressions of interest campaign that generated 78 inquiries and multiple offers, despite initial price expectations over $4 million not being met.

Deepen Khagram of Remax Commercial, who brokered the deal on behalf of a syndicate of vendors, said the sizeable land holding in a prime riverside location was the major drawcard.

Childcare centre
Photo credit: Edge Early Learning West End – Jane Street/Google Maps

Mr Khagram said it was very difficult to find land of that size and location, situated just 2km from the CBD and 200m from the river. He noted that investor interest was outstanding for a tenanted investment on such a large landholding in the heart of West End.

Whilst currently bringing in annual net rental income of over $130,000, Mr Khagram noted the new owners would likely be attracted to the potential to redevelop the site in future given the rapid apartment development occurring in the suburb.


Read: New Housing Proposed at Historic Dixon’s Tannery Site in West End


The site previously changed hands in 2011 at a purchase price of $1.55 million, experiencing significant capital growth and increase in value over the last ten years, driven by the gentrification and urban renewal in West End.

Published 2-May-2024

Exciting Artistic Ventures Spark For West End Creatives

Nearly $200,000 in grants have been awarded to 19 artistic groups and individuals through the Creative Sparks Grants program, with four of these recipients located in West End. 



The Creative Sparks Grants aim to invigorate the local arts scene by funding a diverse array of projects. The grants provide up to $10,000 to support creative endeavours across the suburbs, from theatrical productions and dance to circus performances and live music. 

This influx of funding, from Brisbane City Council in partnership with the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, is expected to enhance Brisbane’s lifestyle offerings, increase job opportunities, attract tourism, and strengthen the community’s cultural fabric.

West End, in particular, has seen a significant boost with several notable projects:

Egan Kingsley Sun-Bin is preparing for the Australian premiere of “Scenes from a Yellow Peril” by Nathan Joe, focusing on a week of rehearsals for BIPOC performers and creatives, supported by a grant of $10,450.

Egan Sun Bin
Photo Credit: BMegOnline

Lewis Treston collaborates on “The Light in the Sahara” with director Sanja Simić and actor Christen O’Leary, developing a new Australian work slated for a November 2024 showcase at Metro Arts, with a funding of $11,000.

Lewis
Photo Credit: Lewis Treston

Peter Thornley’s “Ancient Echoes: Old Lore & Young Bloods” empowers First Nations youth through music and performance, celebrating Indigenous culture with a grant of $9,020.

@old.lore When you only need to circular breath for a 3mim track but you got skills and keep goong until the engineer stops you. 🤪 #didgeridoo #gunggari ♬ original sound – Old Lore

Emma Churchland revisits the camp spectacle “CAKE” at Metro Arts, offering an enriching experience to both audiences and early-career artists with a grant of $11,000.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner expressed enthusiasm for the grants’ potential to enrich Brisbane’s creative landscape.



“These grants allow our talented industry professionals to deliver exciting works that create more jobs, attract further tourism, and improve our creative communities. We look forward to seeing what inspires the next wave of Creative Sparks alumni as they bring more creative offerings to our suburbs.”

Published 25-April-2024

Boundary Street Retailers Demand Action Against Rising Anti-Social Behaviour


Small business owners in Boundary Street, West End, are raising the alarm over the escalating antisocial activities in the area. They claim that the situation has deteriorated significantly since a safety summit convened five years ago. 



Amidst the daily hustle of inner city life, these retailers are confronting a reality that threatens not just their livelihood but the very charm of West End. Despite previous promises for improvement, the community now faces a critical juncture demanding immediate action.

Following the safety summit led by Jackie Trad, a comprehensive report by Urbis in 2019 outlined several recommendations to curb anti-social behaviour along Boundary Street. However, traders express frustration over the need for more implementation of these suggestions. 

Promised enhancements in lighting, surveillance, and policing have yet to materialise, leaving business owners to fend for themselves against an increasing tide of shoplifting, vandalism, and public disturbances.

Boundary Street West End
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Day-to-Day Challenges for Retailers

The daily trials faced by the traders of Boundary Street paint a grim picture of their current reality. Shoplifting has become so commonplace that thieves blatantly showcase stolen items to shop owners. 

Incidents of vandalism and public indecency, including the presence of vomit, urine, and even faeces on the shopfronts, have become routine challenges that tarnish the area’s reputation. These issues have escalated to the point where some business owners, who have served the community for decades, claim it’s the worst they’ve ever seen.

A veteran shopkeeper, boasting over three decades of experience and representing a business with a legacy spanning over 70 years in West End, expressed unprecedented concern over the current state of affairs. The individual highlighted a reluctance to voice these issues publicly due to fear of backlash and accusations of racism on social media platforms. This fate befell others who spoke up.

The shopkeeper lamented the frequency of shoplifting incidents, now a thrice-weekly ordeal, describing the situation as disheartening. Previously committed to after-hours work for cleaning and administrative tasks, the individual now feels too intimidated to do so, citing recent alarming episodes during capoeira training sessions at Kurilpa Hall. Efforts to solicit police assistance were met with responses indicating a need for more available officers or timing outside of operational hours.

The shopkeeper raised a poignant question about the future trajectory of West End should the current trends persist.

Similarly, Wayne Shay, proprietor of Shays Shoes, a family-run establishment since 1901, echoed these sentiments, noting the absence of previously promised safety and lighting improvements. Shay observed a decline in the local crime situation over the last five years, underscoring a growing concern among the business community in West End.

The Queensland Police Service online crime map showed that in the past six months, there have been 53 good order offences, 84 property damage reports, and four offences against a person in West End. 

West End Crime Stats Oct to March
Photo Credit: QPS

Community and Police Response

In response to the outcry from West End’s business community, local leaders and the Queensland Police Service (QPS) have voiced their commitment to addressing these concerns. 

The QPS highlights its efforts to deploy designated officers and patrols within the area while emphasising its focus on crime prevention and community engagement. 

The West End police station organises specific patrols on foot, by vehicle, and by bicycle along Boundary Street and throughout the West End area. Furthermore, the community can request the deployment of a Mobile Police Beat to a location of their choosing when necessary. 

Meanwhile, Greens Councillor Trina Massey underscores the importance of community outreach and service provision as fundamental approaches to combating the root causes of crime and anti-social behaviour.

One of her initial measures as a councillor, when she assumed office in 2023, was to obtain the necessary funds to improve the kiosk in People’s Park. She explained that the kiosk’s refurbishment is expected to enhance outreach to the community and better equip service providers to assist those facing hardships. According to research, the most effective crime prevention method is ensuring all community members have access to stable accommodation and sufficient food.



Ms Massey expressed eagerness to convene with West End community groups, the local business association, service organisations, and other vital parties to explore collaborative solutions for Boundary Street’s future.

Published 1-April-2024

A Fresh Take on The West End Towers

A breath of fresh air is sweeping through the West End Towers. The city has given the nod to two residential towers, each featuring three concave facades enveloped in ‘green’ exoskeletons, for a site adjacent to Davies Park at 281-297 Montague Road.



This new development replaces a previous scheme, which was approved in 2017. The original plan, described as “five stumpy towers” of up to 12 storeys, has been reimagined by Manley Properties, a subsidiary of Sydney-based developer Henroth Group. The revised proposal aims to create an “exemplar response to key urban design” and enhance community benefit.

The new design by Noel Robinson Architects reduces the initially planned 470-apartment development to two towers of 16 and 19 storeys, housing 345 apartments. This revision allows the site to offer a vastly improved public realm, enhanced visual amenity, and better connectivity for West End residents.

Despite significant community opposition to both proposals, primarily concerning the buildings’ height and additional traffic, principal architect Noel Robinson believes the original vision would have resulted in “a terrible outcome”. The new plans open up 77% of the site’s ground plane as public space, a 73% increase from the previous approval.

Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649

The proposed public plaza and park lands provide a sky view from Montague Road and Vulture Street, offering shade and relief from summer heat for various recreational activities. The revised plans will deliver two 5-star Green Star rated residential buildings, both with unique landscaped exoskeletal sunshades wrapping their concave facades.

View from Vulture Street
Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649

Robinson stated that the revised tower designs “open up a new paradigm in terms of a green building”. The buildings feature green atria throughout, replacing traditional corridors. Biophilia filters at the ends of the open landscaped corridors provide vertical greenery up the facades, acting as fresh air filters to the open upper-level apartment walkways.

South Tower – East Wing Elevation
Photo Credit: Development.i / Application no. A005608649


While Robinson stopped short of claiming these would be the greenest buildings in Brisbane, he did assert they would be unique and among the city’s greenest. The development’s north tower will comprise 156 apartments, and its south tower will house 189 apartments, each including a mix of one, two, three bedrooms, and a level of four-bedroom penthouse suites.

The residents of both towers will have access to a variety of amenities. Landscaped rooftop recreation decks will feature ‘wet edge’ swimming pools, communal gardens, edible landscapes, beehives, barbecue facilities, gyms, and both indoor and outdoor dining areas.

An alfresco terrace on the first level of each building has been designed as an outdoor study and work area. It will feature enclosed glass pods, providing residents with private spaces for podcasts or online meetings.

The development also takes into account the need for parking, with two basement levels providing 482 spaces. This is a reduction of 117 spaces from the previous approval, aligning with the overall design rethink.

On the ground level, a retail plaza spanning 1626 square meters will be a key feature. In line with the design’s focus on public space, 8130 square meters of public realm will connect Montague Road to the centre of Davies Park. This connection is a crucial element of the overall design rethink, further enhancing the community-centric approach of the development.

Published 08-February-2024