Who killed Juanita Nielsen?

On July 4th, 1975 Juanita Nielsen, low-income housing activist, style icon and journalist, known for her large beehive hairdo, went to what she believed was a “business meeting” at The Carousel Club, Kings Cross, Sydney and vanished, never to be seen again.


Juanita Nielsen, photograph by David Farrell, 1975.

Juanita was involved in the Green Bans movement, a powerful 1970s alliance between residents and trade unions, that defended the right of low income communities to live in the inner city of Sydney, particularly in Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo.  She campaigned against the violent eviction of long term tenants on Victoria Street, Kings Cross, who were being pushed out to make way for the construction of high rise apartment blocks. Her struggle revealed dark connections between developers, organised crime, corrupt police officers and state power; her death forming a riddle which lies at the heart of contemporary Sydney.

The Beehive features Pamela Rabe, Nicolas Hope, Emma Jackson, Ivy D’Orsogna, Maria Tran, Taylor Wiese, Koco Carey, Ebube Uba, Nyx Calder, Sebastian Goldspink, Harry Milas, Amala Groom, Megan Drury, Bronwyn Penrith, Vashti Hughes, Erica Englert, Saoirse Nicholson, Julie Cooper, Amelie Vanderstock, Jennine Khalik, Warren Coulter, Tim Burns, Adam Hilbery in a muti-layered rereading of Juanita’s story.

In The Beehive Zanny Begg has teamed up with software engineer Andy Nicholson to create a randomised non-linear video installation that allows multiple versions of the story to unfold.  The Beehive won the inaugural  $70,000 ACMI and Artbank commission and premiered at ACMI on July 31, 2018.




To read a review of The Beehive in The Sydney Morning Herald click here.


The Beekeeper          Pamela Rabe

The Juanita’s                       

 Koco Carey, Julie Cooper, Megan Drury, Erica Englert, Amala Groom, Vashti Hughes, Emma Jackson, Jennine Khalik, Ivy D’Orsogna, Maria Tran, Ebube Uba and Amelie Vanderstock


Ester                           Bronwyn Penrith

John Glebe                 Tim Burns

Debbie                        Saoirse Nicholson

 Carousel Club

 Frank Theeman           Nicolas Hope

Eddie Trigg                  Taylor Wiese

Loretta Crawford        Nyx Calder

Jim Anderson             Sebastien Goldspink

Joe Meissner              Warren Coulton

Policeman                   Adam Hilbery

Poker Dealer               Harrison Milas

Showgirl                      Teneale Clifford


Julie Bates

Meredith Burgmann

Tyson Koh

David Farrell

Imogen Kelly

Ian Millis


Writer/Director/Editor            Zanny Begg

Producer/Script Editor           Philippa Bateman

Line Producer                         Sharon Abela

Director of Photography        Emma Paine

Sound Design                         Hugh Fasher

Costume                                 Matthew Stegh

Make Up                                 Annette McKenzie

Hair                                         David Grainger

Composers                             Jasmine Guffond and James Brown

Singer:                                    Mara Knežević

Software Engineer               Andy Nicholson

Bee Handlers                         Doug Purdie and Vicky Brown, The Urban Beehive

Bee Photographs                   Sam Droege

“Concrete and Glass” written and sung by Mick Fowler, 1973.

An Enigma Machine Production.  A special thanks to all supporters of The Beehive Indiegogo campaign!