Barbara Mackay did not work in her husband Don's furniture shop. Robert Trimbole did not live in a "grass castle" in the Griffith hinterland, or grow oranges. And he did not tell Don Mackay — at least not in public — that he would kill him.
The people of Griffith, the Riverina town where Mackay was killed in 1977, noted the dramatic licence in the opening episodes of Underbelly 2 on Channel Nine.
Don Mackay's son, Paul Mackay, was not available when The Age called, but he was quoted in Griffith's Area News saying the show was riddled with errors.
"My mother never worked one day in the family business, while in the show she was in there answering phones," he said.
"And I've never heard of the character of the local police officer they showed.
"I realise the producers qualified it by saying it tells the essential truth of the story, but I don't know how telling a lie helps them tell the truth."
The wife of a former councillor, who asked not to be named, said the inaccuracies worried her. Barbara Mackay was a physiotherapist who gave prenatal classes. Trimbole lived in town, but not in a big estate. He might have owned a property in the district but he did not grow oranges.
Some of the events in the program touch on reality. Trimbole is on record as having gone angrily to the Griffith police station in 1974 saying he would "kill" Mackay and his wife and children.
But he did not do it to his face after a public meeting, as depicted in Underbelly.
Mackay, a campaigner against the marijuana trade, was killed by hitman James Frederick Bazley in the car park of the Griffith Hotel Motel in November 1977. (Credit: The Age)
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