LIFE & CULTURE

Best Australian True Crime Podcasts To Binge Right Now

According to an aficionado.
best australian true crime podcasts
Image: Getty

There’s no guilty pleasure quite like a true crime podcast.

Equal parts fascinating and disturbing, the genre has been on the rise in recent years, with its insight into the human psyche and typically engaging storytelling winning fans worldwide. Increasingly, true crime does not necessarily equal gory, either. Deep dives into scammers, saboteur spies and white-collar criminals are becoming just as common as murder investigations, too. Across a range of platforms, award-winning journalists are lifting the lid on true crimes, speaking with criminals and witnesses and, in some instances, even inciting the reopening of cold cases.

But with so many true crime tales on the market it can be hard to pick what is worth listening to. Luckily, we are spoilt for choice in our own backyard, with some of the best not only being set, but produced in Australia.

Ahead, one marie claire writer (and certified podcast buff) has rounded up the most gripping, interesting and entertaining Australian true crime podcasts to listen to right now.

The Teacher’s Pet

With over 30 million downloads, The Teacher’s Pet is perhaps one of the most renowned Australian true crime podcasts, largely because it helped reopen a 40-year-old cold case.

Across 16 episodes, award-winning journalist Hedley Thomas investigates the suspicious disappearance of Lynette Dawson, who vanished from her family home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches in 1982. Thomas pays particular attention to Lynette’s husband, Chris, a teacher who allegedly struck up a relationship with one of his students.

The show renewed interest in the case and led to the eventual arrest of a suspect, four decades after Lynette went missing.

If you’re new to true crime podcasts it is a perfect, Australian starting point. If you are a fully-fledged fan of the genre and are yet to listen—what are you waiting for?

Lost In Larrimah

In 2017, the outback town of Larrimah in the Northern Territory had a population of 12. So when Paddy Moriarty disappeared on December 16 that year, the case captivated the nation.

In 2022, a coronial inquest found Moriarty had been “killed in the context of … the ongoing feud he had with his nearest neighbours”. At the time, those neighbours denied any involvement in his disappearance or death.

Airing in 2018, this podcast was recorded between Moriarty’s disappearance and the inquest. It features fascinating interviews with the aforementioned locals and insight into life in a tiny town populated by people who seemingly do not get along. It also inspired a recent Netflix docuseries, Last Stop Larimah.

Who The Hell Is Hamish?

“He was born Hamish Watson, a surfie dude from Sydney—but he could morph into whatever you needed him to be,” opens the logline from The Australian’s hit scam podcast.

Who The Hell Is Hamish unpacks the lies and crimes of serial conman Hamish McLaren, who would later be found to have swindled $7.66 million from 15 victims in Australia, as well as others overseas. For years he managed to evade authorities for years but in the end, a single photo would prove to be his undoing. 

Nest of Traitors

The second instalment of Listnr’s Secrets We Keep series, Nest of Traitors follows journalist Joey Watson on his journey to uncover the identity of the spy that betrayed Australia during the Cold War.

Across the three-year investigation, Watson digs deep on our country’s role in nuclear weapons testing, and ultimately tracks down the mole who turned over national secrets and sabotaged ASIO from the inside.

Mother’s Guilt

In 2003, Kathleen Folbigg was jailed for the deaths of her four children, who all died as infants in the 1980s and 90s, and named Australia’s worst female serial killer. Halfway through Folbigg’s 40-year sentence for murder and manslaughter, the Sunday Telegraph’s Jane Hansen dared to question: what if the system had got it wrong?

In the podcast, which was released over a year before her convictions were ultimately quashed, Hansen re-examines the case and explains why over 150 scientists were petitioning for Folbigg’s release.

Bikies Inc.

Detailing a year-long investigation by journalist Stephen Drill, this podcast lifts the lid on how motorcycle gangs are controlling crime in Australia.

Bikies Inc. reflects on the evolution of the gangs from hired muscle to billion-dollar businesses, and as Drill follows the money they make from cocaine and ice, the podcast explores how a fight for power over such has led to blood being spilled on Australian streets.

William Tyrrell – Nowhere Child

William Tyrell is arguaably one of Australia’s most famous missing persons. The three-year-old boy disappeared from the New South Wales town of Kendall in 2014 but key facts were kept from the public, and much of what was reported early om about the case was flase.

In this podcast, The Australian’s Caroline Overington unpacks the case, highlighting police missteps in “a case where notions of class and privilege; opportunity and poverty came crashing together.”

Liar Liar

the cover of australian true crime podcast 'Liar Liar', which shoes a black and white photo of melissa caddick beneath a red title

The mysterious disappearance of Sydney woman Melissa Caddick in late 2020 was a story that captivated the nation. The seemingly-successful businesswoman lived a flashy lifestyle, complete with designer clothing, flashy cars, luxurious holidays and a mansion in Vaucluse. However, It turns out Caddick was living large using stolen money and had facilitated a multi-million dollar ponzy scheme, which all began to come crashing down.

Since, many have wondered how she disappeared—and whether she is really gone for good.

Bronwyn

the cover of australian true crime podcast 'Bronwyn,' which shows Bronwyn Winfield cut-out against the background of a hill

The newest of our roundup, Bronwyn is the latest true crime podcast from The Australian journalist Hedley Thomas, who also helmed The Teacher’s Pet. In fact, it was during his investigation of the Dawson case that Thomas first came across the story of Bronwyn Winfield, a mother who seemingly upped and left her children and husband (who she was in the process of divorcing), before vanishing without a trace in 1993.

Thirty years on, Thomas revisits her case, speaking with friends and family of the missing Lennox Head woman to get to the bottom of what happened.

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