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Ellen Katherine (Nellie) Cameron (1910–1953)

from Mercury

Nellie Burke, or Cameron, one of the Sydney underworld's "fabulous characters," is dead, aged 41.

The body was found in her flat in Denham St, Darlinghurst, last night.

The body was in the kitchen, near a gas oven with all taps turned on. Nellie had been a figure in the underworld for more than 25 years.

She was a blue-eyed blonde, only 15 years old, when she first appeared—girl friend of notorious gangster Frank Green.

Soon she had the distinction of becoming the first woman in Australia to be convicted of consorting with criminals.

She came from a good family, and was educated at an exclusive girls' school on the North Shore.

But while still in her teens, she became the mistress of one of Sydney's worst gunmen and razor slashers, Guido Calletti.

Her family and police tried to win her from the under-world, but she stayed with Calletti.

She was the despair of welfare workers, but she continued to dress daintily and maintained her well modulated speech.

In 1929, Nellie and Calletti were living in Darlinghurst when another criminal, Erick Connolly, "fell" for her.

Connolly was found soon afterwards lying wounded in Woomerah Ave., Darlinghurst.

While Calletti was serving a two-year sentence, Green won Nellie back.

One night he found her with another man. Green was shot.

Green once spirited Nellie away from Newcastle Hospital by putting an overcoat over her head while police waited to arrest her.

In June, 1934, Green was admitted to Sydney Hospital with a terrible wound, which had almost severed the right wrist.

While he lay in agony, Calletti, the man he hated most, married Nellie.

Green was killed in a brawl in 1939. Nellie's later friends included violent character Alan Pulley and a gunman-slasher who now "works" the East Sydney hotels as an S.P. bookie.

Mrs. Matilda Parsons ("Tilly Devine") commenting on Nellie's death today, said she could "hardly breathe" from the shock of hearing of it.

Original publication

Other Obituaries for Ellen Katherine (Nellie) Cameron

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Cameron, Ellen Katherine (Nellie) (1910–1953)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Nellie Cameron, 1930

Nellie Cameron, 1930

NSW Justice & Police Museum, 35159

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Bourke, Nellie
  • Calletti, Nellie
  • Kelly, Nellie

Waterloo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


8 November, 1953 (aged ~ 43)
Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death