Aussie claims Waco site

A FORMER Australian government worker has won control of the Branch Davidians' Texas compound that was the scene of a violent 1993 stand-off with US authorities in which more than 80 sect members and their children were killed.

Melbourne-born Davidian Clive Doyle, a former federal currency printer, learnt several weeks ago he had won the battle for the near desolate property, outside Waco, that he has lived on since the late 1960s.

Several factions within the dwindling ranks of the sect, once headed by "messiah"' David Koresh, had fought Mr Doyle for three years through the courts for control of the 180ha property.

Mr Doyle, whose daughter died in a fire that broke out after US marshalls raided the compound searching for arms, fought the two factions in a federal court trial that ended in a hung jury last year.

The factions, under the direction of the judge, had until last month to refile their suit to thwart control of the compound going to Mr Doyle, who has been paying land taxes.

The 61-year-old, once a deputy to Koresh, who died in the fire, said both factions had failed to meet the legal deadline – a decision that recognised him as the "rightful owner" of the property.

Now a manager of a health food store, Mr Doyle said he still preached every Saturday to a permanent but "small flock" of about 15 Davidians who remained faithful to Koresh's teachings.

"We have rebuilt the chapel, and one day hope to rebuild the entire centre," he said.

"The Davidians have long owned the property and I run the place out of my trailer as the leader.

"There are not as many church members as there once were, but we still have people coming from all over the world to visit with us."

Mr Doyle was one of five adult Australians who with their seven children were involved in the 51-day siege, in which several agents were killed or wounded.

Four of the Australians, including Mr Doyle's 18-year-old daughter Shari, died in the fire that broke out when agents stormed the compound.

Another Victorian, Graham Craddock, is serving a 15-year jail sentence.

Mr Doyle was found not guilty on gun charges and of conspiring to kill a federal agent.