Retired journalist Terry Jones has his first book, The Griffith Wars, published

NEW CHAPTER: Former Western Advocate journalist Terry Jones with his book The Griffith Wars, which he says will shock readers. It will hit the shelves on September 27. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK
NEW CHAPTER: Former Western Advocate journalist Terry Jones with his book The Griffith Wars, which he says will shock readers. It will hit the shelves on September 27. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

DONALD Mackay's death is one of the nation's longest enduring crime mysteries, and retired journalist Terry Jones knows more than most about it. 

A personal friend of Mr Mackay’s, Mr Jones was editor of the newspaper in Griffith when Mr Mackay was murdered.

The Griffith Wars, co-authored by Mr Jones and Tom Gilling, will hit book shelves across the nation this month, telling the story which has captured Australia’s attention for four decades.

For the last 40 years, Mr Jones has been the keeper of historical newspaper clippings, original photos and transcripts from royal commissions, all associated with Mr Mackay's death and organised crime.

It was his hope the files would form the basis of a Museum of Justice in Griffith, where tourists could come to find out the truth about organised crime in the sleepy country town.

Mr Jones said he never planned to pen a book.

"I was working softly, softly behind the scenes. I had manuscripts plus boxes of original newspaper clippings, photos and transcripts from three royal commissions," he said.

He said the plan was for it all to go back to Griffith. At the city's recent 100 year celebrations, however, Mr Jones said it appeared Griffith “forgot its history”.

"They erected a monument to Donald Mackay, but nothing to relate to the three royal commissions. It was as if they wanted to whitewash the unsavoury elements.”

After Griffith City Council knocked the files back, according to Mr Jones, publisher Allen and Unwin picked them up, and Mr Jones co-authored the book with Mr Gilling.

Mr Jones said the most important thing for him was to ensure the truth was told.

He still hopes his files will get back to Griffith and a Museum of Justice will be established.

"There was talk of putting the museum in the former police station, which would have been ideal, but council walked away from it," he said.

“For me, it has always been about getting the truth out there. People need to be made accountable. I think they will be shocked when they read the book."

Mr Jones spent two stints as a journalist and also the editor of two papers in Griffith, initially between 1970 and 1972 and again in the late 70s, including 1977, when Mr Mackay was murdered. Mr Jones’ newspaper broke the story.

Apart from his time in Griffith, Mr Jones spent many years working as a journalist in Bathurst. He began his career at the National Advocate as a paperboy in 1956.

He took up a cadetship with the paper in 1957 and returned to its sister paper the Western Advocate in 1997, before retiring in 2012.

The Griffith Wars will be released on September 27.