Cyril Olsen

21 August 1992

Rushcutters Bay

Cyril Olsen was a man who identified openly as gay. He lived in Woollahra and was always immaculately dressed. He was described by one witness as being "like an English gentleman". He was reported to be a heavy drinker and a regular at the back bar of the Rex Hotel in Kings Cross, the "Bottoms Up Bar", which was known as a gay bar.

On the evening of Friday, 21 August 1992, Mr Olsen was seen drinking at various places, including in Kings Cross and on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. The next morning, Saturday, 22 August 1992, at around 7am, a number of witnesses saw Mr Olsen walking through Rushcutters Bay Park near the Cruising Yacht Club. Rushcutters Bay Park extends from the Harbour's edge on the north to New South Head Road on the south, and from New Beach Road on the east to the stormwater canal on the west. It is not far from Oxford Street and Taylor Square, which can be reached on foot in about 20 minutes. Rushcutters Bay Park was another well-known beat.

The witnesses who saw Mr Olsen walking in the park at about 7am described him as "obviously distressed" and "dazed". He was wearing neither trousers nor shoes and there was mud on his bare legs. There was a cut on his head and blood on his face. Despite one witness offering assistance, Mr Olsen insisted "I'm fine, I'm okay", but only minutes later his body was found floating face down in the water near the Cruising Yacht Club. His shoes and trousers were later located in or near the stormwater canal on the western side of the park. Mr Olsen was 63 years old.

The post-mortem examination identified the cause of death as drowning, but also noted significant lacerations, abrasions and bruising, including a deep laceration, to the depth of the bone, on the top of his head. The officer in charge of the police investigation expressed the opinion in his statement for the Coroner that Mr Olsen had been the victim of a gay bashing or robbery in Rushcutters Bay Park. At an inquest in 1994 the formal finding by the Coroner was death by drowning.

Strike Force Parrabell assigned this case to the category of "insufficient information to establish a bias crime".

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