Crime & mys­ter­ies

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Scholarship -

With its vast, sparsely pop­u­lated in­te­rior and rugged stretches of re­mote coast­line, Australia is a land­scape steeped in mys­tery, where many have met with mis­ad­ven­ture and foul play, or sim­ply van­ished. From young back­pack­ers on the ad­ven­ture of a life­time, to small chil­dren and ba­bies, and even a Prime Min­is­ter, their fates con­tinue to baf e and in­trigue years later.

It’s said that Australia lost its in­no­cence in 1966 when the three Beaumont chil­dren – Grant, Arnna and Jane – van­ished after a day at Glenelg beach (above, right). No trace was ever found of the chil­dren, de­spite an ex­haus­tive search. The fol­low­ing year Prime Min­is­ter Harold Holt (above) went div­ing at Che­viot Beach in Vic­to­ria, and was never seen again. De­spite the high winds and rough seas, con­spir­acy the­o­ries abounded as to what hap­pened, in­clud­ing faking his death, sui­cide and ab­duc­tion by a Chi­nese sub­ma­rine.

In 1992, the Be­lan­glo For­est south­west of Syd­ney be­gan to give up its grim se­crets when the bod­ies of young back­pack­ers, bru­tally mur­dered, were dis­cov­ered. In to­tal the re­mains of seven young trav­ellers were found in the re­mote for­est. Coun­cil road worker Ivan Mi­lat was ar­rested and charged for the mur­ders.

The na­tion strug­gled to com­pre­hend the sense­less vi­o­lence that led to 35 peo­ple be­ing gunned down at

Port Arthur in Tas­ma­nia in 1996. De­ter­mined such an event could never hap­pen again, then Prime Min­is­ter John Howard over­hauled the gun laws, re­sult­ing in some of the tough­est rearms control in the world.

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