The Speed King Crook – Henry Ising
The Speed-King Crook – Henry Ising
In the winter of 1931, South-East Queensland was in the grips of a crook like no other that the Queensland authorities had seen before. German naval deserter Henry Ising was the speed king crook. Ising was fast, clean and managed to carry out fourteen separate robberies without being detected. That was until he got a little too flash with the cash.
Native of: Germany
Arrived: Overland from NSW
Trade or Occupation: Carpenter
Religion: Roman Catholic
Height: 5 feet 10 inches (178cm)
Weight: 10 Stone (63kg)
Education: Read and Write
Remarks: Mole on right side of chin
In the winter of 1931, South-East Queensland was in the grips of a crook like no other that the Queensland authorities had seen before. German naval deserter Henry Ising was the speed king crook. Ising was fast, and clean and managed to carry out fourteen separate robberies without being detected. That was until he got a little too flash with the cash.
It is not known exactly when Henry Ising arrived in Australia. He is known to have been in New South Wales in August of 1930, and it is thought that he deserted from a German naval ship in port.
On his stolen motorcycle, he acquired himself a loaded revolver, some cash and some clothing in Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Fleeing over the border, he made his way to Ipswich. Over the next few days in the beginning of May; he broke into several stores making off with clothing, tobacco and some loose change.
Next. he was on to Brisbane, where again he would break into several stores including Rosendorff Limited stealing a Gramophone. The list continues – over the next few weeks, Ising quickly filled his pockets with the proceeds of his crimes.
Henry Ising was getting too good at his crimes, with his ego boosted, he made one big cash splash. No longer would he ride around on his motorcycle. He would buy a car and ride around in style. Just like a kid with a brand-new toy, Ising drove the shiny new car everywhere. Even on the job!
Detectives Damro and Lloyd investigating the recent spate of thefts discovered the young man had quite a bank for a carpenter and painter that hadn’t done much work.
After a few more targets in the city, the authorities were on his trail. Ising had to get out of town, and quick. He left Brisbane and headed back to the Darling Downs. Arriving in Toowoomba, he couldn’t resist the “soft” country targets. The friendly locals were all too happy to show Ising their merchandise. The clean cut, wealthy looking young man cut quite the figure in town. Little did the good citizens of Toowoomba know, he was simply choosing what to steal next!
By July, Ising had racked up a quick fortune, his fourteen jobs had made him quite a wealthy man. Living the high life, he returned to Brisbane to his home at Spring Hill. He had enough to live on for a while. Ising thought he had gotten away with it all; that is until Detectives Damro and Lloyd rapped their knuckles on his front door.
In his possession they found his kit containing a loaded revolver, a mask, a bunch of skeleton keys, one of which would open almost any lock, and a kit of tools for forcing entry. They also found some of the stolen property and some cash a total value of £53 well shy of the estimated £270 that was missing.
Before the Bench
Ising appeared in the Brisbane Police Court on the 14th of July some three months after his thieving tour of city and country began. Prosecuted by Detective Senior Sergeant McIver on fourteen separate charges, a list of the myriad of items stolen was placed before the court.
Cameras, jewellery, watches, boots and shoes, men’s leather coats, women’s fur coats, loose cash, boxes of cigars, reach-me down suits, musical instruments, pistols, tobacco and cigarette cases just to name a few.
Describing how Ising made entry to the businesses, Detective McIver said, “If the window was easily forced, that was his way of entry, if not, the skeleton keys would unlock the door.” Ising moved quickly, stealthily, not staying anywhere very long and always did his jobs in the middle of the night.
Ising had earlier plead guilty to all charges. Police Magistrate Ferguson sentenced Ising to two months imprisonment with hard labour on each of the fourteen charges, the sentences to be served cumulatively for a total of twenty-eight months.
Ising received the sentence with a brazen grin on his face. It’s hard to say for sure, but I suspect he would not be grinning when the black maria pulled up at the gates of Her Majesty’s Prison Brisbane – the notorious Boggo Road Gaol.
Ever wondered what it would be like to have both a former officer and prisoner taking you on a tour of the gaol at the same time? This Sunday join Kevin and Wayne on this special 90-minute tour! This tour is strictly 15 years and over ONLY due to the language used and images seen on the tour. Tickets are selling fast, you do not want to miss this! You can book your tickets here
This article was contributed by Research Coordinator Sue Olsen as part of the ongoing research program for Boggo Road Gaol Pty Ltd. The aim of the program is to bring to light and share articles relating to Boggo Road for the purposes of review and study. Do you have a story to share or something you would like us to know about? You can contact the research team here