Nellie Cameron

Nellie Cameron, born Ellen Katherine Kelly in 1910, grew up in Waterloo, N.S.W. She attended an exclusive girls’ school on the North Shore while following her Roman Catholic faith.

At the age of fifteen, Nellie entered the world of prostitution in the Surry Hills and Woolloomooloo districts of Sydney, gaining notoriety as the city’s “Underworld Beauty Queen” and “Kiss of Death Girl” due to the tragic fate of her boyfriends and husbands.

Throughout her life of crime, Nellie faced countless acts of violence, including kidnapping, beatings, stabbings, razor slashes, and gunshot wounds.

In 1927, she encountered Norman Bruhn, a feared dockworker and gunman, who became her lover and pimp. However, Bruhn met a fatal end when he was shot outside a sly grog den in Darlinghurst.

Subsequently, Nellie embarked on a series of relationships with other Sydney criminals, such as Ernest Lyle Connelly, Alan Edward Pulley, and Francis Donald Green.

In 1931, Nellie found herself in a robbery under arms charge, but the case against her was dismissed.

Her first marriage was to Guido Caletti, leader of the notorious “Darlinghurst Push” gang, and they had fled New South Wales to Victoria to escape arrest warrants. Unfortunately, Caletti was shot dead by rival gunmen in 1939.

Nellie later married Charles Francis Bourke, another infamous Sydney criminal, but their marriage ended in separation.

She also adopted a daughter named Janice and formed a relationship with William Francis Donohue.

Tragically, Nellie’s life came to a devastating end when she took her own life in 1953. She was buried as Ellen Katherine Bourke.

Source: TROVE, National Library of Australia Newspaper Collection
Source: NSW Police Gazettes