Australia Today: New clues in the 'Pyjama Girl' mystery

Title:
Australia Today: New clues in the 'Pyjama Girl' mystery
NFSA ID:
1357
Year:
1939
Courtesy:
Enterprise Film Co.
Category:
Access fees

This newsreel reconstructs the coronial inquest into the Pyjama Girl mystery, one of the most baffling unsolved murder cases in Australian criminal history.

The clip opens with the discovery of new evidence in 1939. Believing that the lake near Albury where the woman was found might hold the key to the mystery, the local fire brigade, on direction of Superintendent Matthews, drain the lake in search of clues.

Local detectives find gumboots, shoes, slippers, a blouse and parts of a silk dress. From these items, police construct an outfit similar to what they believe the woman was wearing at the time of her disappearance.

A ₤1,000 reward is posted for information leading to the arrest of her murderer, and a direct plea to the public is made, asking them to help identify the woman.

Again, the reconstruction of the facts is slightly misleading. The replica of the dress made from the fabric pulled out of the lake is modelled in this newsreel by Alma Brooks, one of the filmmakers. This calls into question whether the dress modelled in the newsreel looks anything like that which was found in the lake.

Despite a ₤1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her murderer, the Pyjama Girl’s identity remained unsolved for another five years. In 1944, the Pyjama Girl was identified as Linda Agostini and her husband, Antonio, was tried for her murder. On 13 July 1944, the Pyjama Girl’s body was finally buried. New evidence recently uncovered by Richard Evans, a Melbourne historian, casts doubt on the conclusion of the case; however, his findings are inconclusive.