Crime & mysteries
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.