West of Brisbane sits the tiny suburb of Tarampa near Lowood. This quiet rural setting was turned into a 5 mile long crime scene on Boxing Day, December 1961. The afternoon of celebration and time with family was cut short when the killer went on a rifle rampage through neighboring farms and streets killing a couple and severely injuring two others. When interviewed by Police he seemed to have no clear motive – and claimed “I had nothing against the people”.

Victim: Bernard Ralph

The killer was a youth of 17, living with his family on a small farm at Tarampa in the Lockyer Valley. John “Boots” Hobson was the eldest of 5 children, he was deeply tanned and well built from working on the family farm throughout the day. After a row with his father over feeding the fowls, Hobson took grabbed his 22. rifle and stormed out. Making his was through four neighboring farms he shot anything that moved, shooting birds, animals and people. When police converged on the area they followed the trail of dead birds and animals to Hobson.

John Hobson had willfully murdered Anna Freese 58, and her husband Albert Freese also 58. He attempted to kill Mary Jendra, 32 and Andrew Jendrachowski 44. The surviving pair were hospitalised and kept under close observation. Mary, who had been shot in the left side of the groin was in a satisfactory condition. Her brother-in-law Francis Jendrachowski who was shot in the side of abdomen was in a critical conditional and later passed away.

Hobson was charged before Mr.V.L Wilson. He was handcuffed during the court proceedings and only six members of the public were in court. Hobson was taken to the remand section of Boggo Road Gaol where he would serve out his life sentence.

On Monday, 7 March 1966, at 2.10pm, Bernard “Bernie” Ralph, aged fifty, devoted husband and father of three, was brutally attacked in the prison workshops by John Hobson. Hobson had clashed with warder Ralph earlier that day. Working in the boot shop Hobson struck the unsuspecting officer twice on the head with an iron bar severely fracturing his skull

Hobson’s motives for killing Ralph remain unclear, a psychiatrist testified that if Ralph had said “please” to Hobson he would have not been attacked. Already serving life, Hobson had nothing to lose. Ralph died in hospital from his extreme injuries.

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Find out what happened to John “Boots” Hobson on Australia’s longest running true crime show “True Crimes” – presented by Jack Sim on 4BC Nights with Walter Williams. Thursday evenings 9.35pm on Radio 4BC.

Boggo Road Gaol
Boggo Road Gaol