The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.

Tim Bristow Iron-Bar Freddy Tropical Joe

June 13, 2014 by David Herd

Big Tim Bristow

Tim Bristow

Tim Bristow

Tim Bristow Iron-Bar Freddy Tropical Joe may seem like an unusual title for a post. This story took place in 1996 & revolves around some of Australia’s most notorious gangsters, stand-over men & a crooked cop.

The header photo was taken at my home at 31 Herbert avenue Newport where I lived from 1984 to 87.

This terrific article by Greg Tingle describes the man far better than I can.

Tim Bristow RIP

Tim Bristow

I’m pleased to say that Tim Bristow was a friend of mine dating back from the time we met in 1971 when he was on my tail to give me a hiding, but that’s another story for later in this post. Let me tell you first how about the title of this post, IRON BAR FREDDY & TROPICAL JOE.

In 1996 my good mate Ross Kennedy and I took a road trip in my Porsche to Falls Creek for some skiing, stopping on the way at the Hunter Valley & Sydney. I knew about Rossco’s fascination with gangsters and the underworld so naturally I took him to meet Big Tim Bristow at his home in Newport.

We were there an hour or two listening to some of Tim’s stories most of which I had heard before many times. As usual Tim’s phone never stopped ringing, but there was one call Ross & I will never forget. Roger Rogerson was in many ways more notorious than Tim, he was known for being a ruthless crooked cop who shot first and asked questions later, the most famous case being where he shot and killed Warren Lanfranchi in a back alley in Chippendale.

From Wikipedia;

In 1981, Sally-Anne Huckstepp met and began a relationship with Warren Lanfranchi who was a heroin dealer and standover man who worked with Neddy Smith. In June 1981, Lanfranchi allegedly robbed a Sydney heroin dealer and later fired shots at a young policeman. In Neddy: the Life and Crimes of Arthur Stanley Smith, Smith claims that Lanfranchi asked him to negotiate a payment with then-Detective-Sergeant Roger Rogerson in order to escape being charged with the shooting. Smith claims that Rogerson had instructed him to drive Lanfranchi to a meeting with him and to disarm him in the car. Rogerson took eighteen police officers with him to the meeting. He claims that he was attempting to arrest Lanfranchi on suspicion of five bank robberies. At the meeting in Dangar Place, Chippendale, Rogerson shot and killed Lanfranchi. During the inquest into Lanfranchi’s death, Rogerson claimed self-defence. He was supported at the inquest by Smith and other police officers who were called as witnesses. The inquest found that on the balance of probabilities, Rogerson had been trying to arrest Lanfranchi, but refused to find he had acted in self-defence. The matter went to the Supreme Court and was the subject of investigations by the New South Wales Ombudsman and Internal Affairs. No action was brought against Rogerson and he was exonerated and commended for bravery.

Back to Tim’s phone call, as it turned out he was speaking to Roger Rogerson about a union problem at a work site in Parramatta, naturally we could only hear Tim’s side of the conversation.  After much discussion Tim finally said “don’t worry Roger everything has been fixed, I sent around Iron Bar Freddy and Tropical Joe to do the job.”

Now Rossco and I are pretty quick on the uptake, we knew exactly what Iron Bar Freddy was good at, but to this day we are still intrigued about Tropical Joe’s specialty, we had a lot of fun the rest of the trip speculating on what it could be.  We thought it was one of the funniest things we had ever heard, we even changed the display on our mobile phones, if Ross rang me his name would show Iron Bar Freddy and mine of course would show Tropical Joe.

Iron Bar Freddy & Tropical Joe.

Tim Bristow

Here we are flyblown in the snow at Falls Creek.

Roger Rogerson arrested

Tim Bristow

May 27th 2014, POLICE will allege that Jamie Gao was allegedly shot twice in the chest by two former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in a rented storage room.

Earlier today, the state’s most infamous former detective Rogerson limped into the dock at Bankstown Local Court charged with murdering student Gao.

A special late sitting was arranged to get Rogerson, 73, before a court after he was arrested earlier today.

Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara to stand trial for murder of Jamie Gao

Roger Caleb Rogerson !
(born 3 January 1941)!
DISGRACED Sydney detective Roger Rogerson has been charged with murder and the body found floating off Cronulla yesterday has been identified as missing Hurstville man, Jamie Gao.! Rogerson has also been charged with large commercial drug supply and appeared in Bankstown Local Court today. Rogerson did no apply for bail.! Rogerson Is a former Detective Sergeant of the New South Wales Police Force. He was convicted of perverting the course of justice and lying to the 1999 Police Integrity Commission. He was one of its most decorated officers, having received at least 13 awards for bravery, outstanding policeman-ship and devotion to duty
including the Peter Mitchell Trophy, the highest annual police award.! Rogerson is also known for his association with other NSW detectives who are reputed to have been corrupt, including Ray “Gunner” Kelly and Fred Krahe, and with a number of organised crime figures, including Arthur “Neddy” Smith, Graham John “Abo” Henry, Warren Lanfranchi, Robert Arthur “Bobby” Chapman, Paul “The Paddy” O’Halloran, John Tex Moran, and Christopher Dale Flannery. Neddy Smith was a convicted heroin dealer, rapist and armed robber who has claimed Rogerson gave him the “green light” to commit crimes in New South Wales. Henry and Lanfranchi were also heroin dealers and armed robbers, while Flannery specialised in contract killing.!


Roger Rogerson Interview | The Enforcer 

Murder trial jury discharged July 28 2015

February 1st 2016, the trial is about to begin.

Found guilty of murdering Sydney student Jamie Gao June 15 2016

Tim Bristow

Roger Rogerson age 75 and co-accused Glen McNamara aged 57  had pleaded not guilty to murdering Jamie Gao in a Padstow storage facility on May 20, 2014. It took the jury just under a week to reach the guilty verdicts.

Here is the ABCs 7.30 report, fascinating viewing.


Rogerson and McNamara jailed for life

Follow the link above to see the judge hand down the sentence,  THIS LINK will take you to the Sky news report.

Ross & I at the Hunter Valley on the way to meet Tim.


Ross & I stopped at Tyrrells Vineyard on the way to Sydney.


Ross finally meets Tim


      Tim was 65 years old but still had an intimidating presence.  

Talking about an intimidating presence  


  Rossco got to sit on Tim’s couch with one of his dogs, the look on his face says it all.  

Finally after we arrived in Melbourne.

Melbourne boys

After a fantastic road trip via the Hunter Valley, Sydney & Falls Creek we arrive in Melbourne. Here we are in a Chapel St pub with two of Rossco’s friends.

Tim was a Rugby player.


There is a forum that discusses “the hardmen of Australian rugby”, here is what one of the guys said about Tim;  

Hard men would include Tony Shaw, Sam Scott-Young, Rod “Slaughter” McCall, as well as others mentioned above, particularly Pricey, who played through his tour of the British Isles with a hernia. But the toughest of them all was that big bastard, Tim Bristow. If he had had an ounce of self-discipline, he would have been a Wallaby great. His Gordon partner-in-crime, Ken Yanz, was also a thug. Of course, in those days, there were no assistant referees, or video recordings – you could do pretty much anything you liked.


Life & times of Tim Bristow.

  Tim Bristow

 “I grabbed the guy with the gun and introduced him to the wall”.

Tim Bristow

Tim loved relating stories about himself especially when he played the part of the hero which was the case in most of his tales. My favorite one of all time revolves around the time the underworld bosses put a contract on his head for some reason or other which I can’t recall. We were sitting in his kitchen and as usual Tim had a cleaning cloth close by in case I (or anybody) happened to accidentally leave a smudge or mark on any visible surface, he was paranoid about cleanliness, as well as many other things. Tim recalled how he tried many times to have the contract lifted but each time his request was refused. He then said “it was a Friday night and I knew they were waiting for me here in this very room”. He paused for effect and continued, “I crashed through the kitchen door and the first slug caught me here”.  He shoved his very large head close to mine and pointed to a scar on his forehead, and then said “so I grabbed the guy with the gun and introduced him to the wall”. He continued on with the story, “I grabbed the second guy and held his head on the kitchen bench and “cracked it like a nut”. Now Tim had one of those hinged flaps in the kitchen which you lifted to walk behind the counter, this is what he used to immobilize the second guy. Finally he said, “I turned around to grab the third guy but he had bolted”. The upshot of this resulted in the gangsters lifting the contract, it seems they figured if three guys could not take out the “Big Fellow” he deserved another chance.

The road to Berrima

I visited Tim on several occasions when he was doing time in Berrima Jail, the one time that really sticks in my mind was Boxing Day 1986 or 1987, I’m not sure which. I signed into the jail as a visitor and Tim asked in his deep gravelly booming voice “listen Dave I have a friend who does not get any visitors would you mind signing him out of his cell?” Obviously I was not going to refuse this simple request so I did. I have forgotten the guy’s name so let’s just call him John. So the three of us were sitting on one side of a table with his friend between us enjoying our BBQ lunch. Tim leaned his huge head forward and asked “do you know what John is “in for?” Three things to note here are, 1. Years ago Tim suffered a minor stroke and one side of his face had fallen slightly and had no feeling, (more about that later) 2. He didn’t just speak, “he roared.” 3. He had quite a warped sense of humor. J So repeating his question “do you know what John is “in for?” I answered “no Tim, I don’t have any idea.” So in his best booming voice he said “AXE MURDERER, HE KILLED TWO PEOPLE WITH AN AXE”,  ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! So picture this, here I’m sitting next to a guy with a steak knife in his hand after being informed he was a double axe murderer. I sort of lost my appetite for the rest of my lunch. I kept thinking on my drive home from Berrima how the authorities probably now had my name associated, not only with the notorious Tim Bristow but a double axe murderer as well. 🙂

Tim at the Newport Arms 1983

Tim Bristow


Tim ruled the roost at the Newport Arms.

  Steve Bristow

Tim Bristow

On the right is Tim’s son Steven in 1992, thankfully Steve had a totally different personality to his father. He could certainly fight like his father but he is a much calmer person, a man of few words really and a very nice guy. For years he worked on the Gold Coast as a night club bouncer, the last I heard he had given that life away and was driving a bus. The guy in the centre is Greg Johnston, funnily enough both he and I wound up living in Thailand 29 years later. Some a few years reg owned a hotel/bar in LK Metro Pattaya called the Billabong.

Tim’s home in Crescent Ave Newport

Tim Bristow

Tim’s lovely home in Newport was a much more pleasant place to reside than Berrima jail. His long time (& long suffering) partner Sue still lives there.

I played tennis here many times with Sue.

Tim Bristow

Sue Ellis was and still is a terrific tennis player, we played many times and to my dismay I never won a single set. Sue just turned 60 this year and is ranked number 7 in the over 60 Tennis Seniors Australia Rankings in Women’s Singles.

Sue & I in January 2013

Tim Bristow

After many years I dropped in to visit Sue in January 2013, the home is still as picture perfect as when Big Tim used fuss around keeping everything neat & tidy.

Big Tim passes away.

Tim Bristow

The end of an era, Big Tim Bristow the last of the hard men, RIP.

By Neil Mercer

February 15 2003

One of the hard men of Sydney, legendary private eye, rugby player, bouncer and standover man Tim Bristow has died at the age of 72.

He was found on the balcony of his Newport home about 9.20pm on Thursday.

In recent years he had become a shadow of the man renowned for his fitness and fighting ability. A long-time diabetic, he had been insulin-dependent for about 10 years and had developed Parkinson’s disease.

Tim Bristow made his name in the 1950s and ’60s in divorce work. Big Tim would come crashing through the bedroom door, photographer close behind, to catch the amorous couple in flagrante delicto.

Visited by the Herald last year at his home, he still had many of the pictures, the looks on the faces of the startled lovers amusing testimony to his handiwork, although it probably wasn’t funny at the time.

“I had the biggest divorce inquiry service in Australia, breaking down about eight doors a night.”

Later he used his association with underworld figure Lennie McPherson to his advantage, although McPherson disputed just how close they were, saying they had met only 10 times.

“He seems to have his head into an awful lot of bullshit, doesn’t he?” McPherson said.

“I’ve saved his neck a few times, and he f—in’ knows it, too, the silly lookin’ c—.”

While anything Bristow said in his booming voice needed to be taken with a grain of salt – perhaps a barrelful – there’s no doubt he knew an awful lot of people and he was far from silly looking.

He was, according to himself and legend, the original model for Chesty Bond. Former NSW police officer Roger Rogerson recalled yesterday that Bristow in his heyday cut an impressive figure.

“When he was in charge of security at the Newport Arms hotel, blokes would come from all over the state to try him out. They never beat him,” said Rogerson, who, like Bristow, once did time in Berrima jail.

“He flogged them all. He was a very powerful man in his day.”

In 1976 Bristow was convicted of assault and sentenced to 18 months’ jail. A decade later he was sentenced to five years’ for supplying Indian hemp.

He subsequently gave evidence about how a number of police had thrown 49 packets of the drug from a window of the Chatswood detectives’ office – and how he had caught them with a towel before loading them into his Mercedes.

In the early 1990s he was a witness at the Royal Commission into the Building Industry run by Roger Gyles, QC.

There was evidence about how he had gone onto building sites and threatened union members about “accidents”.

He gave evidence at the inquest into the presumed death of missing hitman Chris Flannery, who he thought looked like a “twerp” until he learnt of his reputation.

Educated at Shore and briefly a police cadet, he once declared: “I bribed police for 40 years. I found that the higher I went in society the lower the morals became.”

Here is the story how I met Big Tim

Tim Bristow

Peter Lewis & I with Marilyn in 1971

It was around Xmas 1971, I was living in Lane Cove but many weekends I would stay at Peter Lewis’s flat at Narrabeen which was above his draper shop, his main source of income was operating as an SP bookie in between throwing some of the best parties on the peninsula.

One Saturday night he took Bob Fowler (Chicken-man) & I to a party at Bilgola at the house of a women with the unlikely name of Hope Fairweather. I guess the opposite to Fairweather is Stormy weather, because the woman I met that night at the party caused me more grief in the next 3 or 4 years than I could have possibly imagined.

Of all the parties I had ever been to I had never seen as many beautiful girls in one place, most of them apparently were involved in the modelling industry which explained the phenomenon. One in particular caught my eye, a magnificent looking blonde girl who was happy to chat and flirt with me for the next hour or so.  Peter tried to warn me off a couple of times telling me both her ex-husband plus her current boyfriend Richard (Dick) Plumber were in the room and giving me the evil eye.

It was getting rather late and both peter & Bob had gone home leaving me without knowing anyone at the party except the gorgeous blonde Di Parkinson, the girl I was chatting up. Sensing a little tension in the room I decided my best strategy was to get the hell out of there, and given the fact I had arranged to have lunch with Dianne the following week at Johnny Walker’s Bistro, a famous lunchtime hangout in the city. 

I headed for the door with Di following and we had a quick kiss & cuddle on the front lawn. Not quick enough I’m afraid, the bellowing bulk of Dick Plumber came charging across the lawn toward me swinging a vicious right hook which caught me flush on the jaw. Things seemed to happen very fast, here was I flat on my back with this huge fellow trying to choke the life out of me. Somehow I manage to throw him off, he tumbled down to the next level of the terraced yard, jumped to his feet and headed back up the 4 steps screaming like a madman “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you”.

Meanwhile I was trying to calm him down, “listen mate” I said, “you got your shot in how about we call it quits and I’ll just go home?” My words had no effect so as he reached the second top stair I hit him flush in the mouth with the best left hook I have ever thrown. Blood gushed from his lip like a fountain, now he was on his back and all the fight seemed to have gone out of him. My first reaction was to “get out of Dodge” before the posse arrived, but I couldn’t just leave him bleeding all over the lawn without at least helping him to get back inside the house. We stumbled into the kitchen, blood all over Dick and every button ripped off my shirt. All his friends rushed over with extremely hostile expressions on their faces. “What the hell happened?” they asked, thankfully Dick replied “I tripped down the stairs and fell right on my face”. I said “yes, I saw it happen and helped him inside, and the bugger has accidentally ripped my best shirt,” It was fairly obvious they were having trouble accepting this version of the events, so while they were trying to stem the blood flow I beat a hasty retreat out the door.

Who should suddenly reappear at my side, the cause of the unfortunate altercation, the beautiful Di Parkinson. It took me maybe half a second to think about it, “OK, I have had the fight why not grab the spoils?” Within 10 minutes we were parked at Bilgola beach in my beloved blue MGB, I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.  That was the end of an eventful evening, little did I realise it would be simply a forerunner to a whole heap of drama in the coming years.

Dianne Parkinon

Tim Bristow

The following day Peter Lewis phoned “what the hell did you get up to last night?” he asked, “the guy you belted is big Tim Bristow’s best mate and Tim is looking for you.”

Now in the 70s just the name Tim Bristow struck fear into the heart of all those who knew him, an enforcer with a reputation of being one of the most brutal street fighters in Australia. Put simply he was legend, a bouncer at the Newport Arms hotel, would be contenders for his crown would travel from all over Sydney to try their luck, many came and all of them were sent packing battered and bruised. There are countless stories making up the legend of Big Tim Bristow, one of the few times he actually lost a fight was against 3 times Olympian Tony Madigan who narrowly lost to Cassius Clay in the 1960 Rome Olympics, the story goes Tim wanted a rematch the following week and Madigan declined, my guess is that Madigan didn’t have to prove anything to anybody’.

Tony Madigan on the left of Cassius Clay in 1960, sadly Casius aka Muhammad Ali passed away June 3rd 2016.

 Tim Bristow

So as you can imagine the last thing on Earth I wanted to hear were the words “Big Tim is looking for you.” To make matters worse, in order to get even with me Dick Plumber had told everyone I was actually forcing myself on Di in the middle of the front lawn which was the exact opposite of the truth. For the next week I was jumping at shadows and looking over my shoulder everywhere I went expecting Tim to appear around every corner. I said to myself “this is no way to live” so I rang Peter and got him to arrange a meeting with the “Big fellow.”

Now Tim was a giant of a man with a huge upper body and enormous hands, one side of his face was semi frozen which resulted from a small stoke suffered a few years earlier, it just made him look more fearful if that was at all possible. Our meeting was thankfully rather anticlimactic, he listened intently to my side of the story, grunting often rather than speaking and finally said “ok I believe you, but for your own good stay out of trouble or I’ll come looking for you.

Oddly enough over the next 20 years or so we became “friends” maybe we were, maybe we were not, you just never really knew with Tim.

A very funny thing happened in January 2013, I had not seen Di Parkinson for many years so I arranged to meet her for coffee in Brunswick Heads on the NSW north coast. Naturally we spoke of old times and people we both knew, the name Hope Fairweather was mentioned and I said to Di “that’s where we first met, don’t you remember when I had to flatten your boyfriend Dick Plumber at Hope’s house in Avalon?” Quick as a flash Di said very softly, “yes even though it was 40 years ago they still talk about it today.” 

Di Parkinson at Beechworth in Victoria 1975

Tim Bristow 

Looking back there is no doubt this dizzy blonde caused me more trouble than any person I ever knew.

One final memory

Tim Bristow

It was 1997 and my gorgeous girlfriend Carol Aboud threw a party at her home in Ocean St Double Bay, earlier I had mentioned to Tim that I would be there that night, and he was welcome to call in for a drink. I had forgot however to tell Carol about the casual invite, well around 11 pm the party was in full swing and Carol rushed up to me looking very worried indeed, she said “David, Tim Bristow is here looking for you”. It was a fairly normal reaction because usually if Tim came looking for you the news was not good.

Quick as a flash I said “don’t worry darling I will go and throw him out”. I’ll never forget the look of shock & disbelief on Carol’s face, obviously there was nobody in the whole country capable of throwing Tim out. 🙂 After 10 seconds she realized I was joking and we enjoyed a good laugh about it.

Thanks for visiting my Tim Bristow photo blog, I do hope one day somebody will make a movie of his life.

Finally another great photo of Di from the 60s.

Tim Bristow

What a knockout. 🙂

                          Here are some more posts to check out


 Soi Cowboy                  Nana Plaza                    Patpong

 Soi Cowboy (5)           e1274c0c-cf4d-4406-b5dc-d9e8071e382e            8993ef02-ccf3-46a7-8b6d-fc11af9d93ad

  Please check out these fabulous posts
       Gold Coast                              Pattaya                          Cinque Terre
         bd96516a-84df-4ca0-86e6-c757cc9053d1          01a75360-9573-473f-acba-3a187f779b7f          e18b6c87-5adc-4a80-92cf-6c643ad130c1
Rio de Janeiro                  Singapore                    Eastern Europe
f044491e-69aa-4082-b49b-1ff33557d7d4          60e7d26d-1039-4dde-863d-62b66656ccbf          1bea4a99-cb07-4161-83ba-75c0ef2b63cc
    Bangkok Bars                         Tokyo                      Cape Town Safari
d0c59ff5-7f2b-41b5-9312-4556d4a62037          f5e9441a-4154-44e0-a362-18b662d40b48          2a2b79ea-bc5f-46e3-8448-2e71658eff14 
               Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
                  through these links below.  Book now & pay later.
Free Cancellation. 
Bangkok Hotels                    Pattaya Hotels
d0c59ff5-7f2b-41b5-9312-4556d4a62037          b1c99886-3940-4dda-b350-44c5e5c77e41
 That’s all folks

1g Duck


To receive my latest posts please follow me on Twitter   

Click here for more details of my interesting life. 🙂



Jump forward to 2014 and see my life in Thailand.


One of my most enjoyable world trips


This gallery contains 2 photos