IS Mystery Bay as we know it today, the actual bay referenced in the still-unsolved mystery of five men who disappeared from Bermagui in 1880?
Or does that name rightfully belong to a bay a bit further north, closer to Corunna Lake?
That question and more were the topic of debate as members of the Bermagui and Narooma historical societies retraced the scenes of the Bermagui mystery on September 22.
Lamont Young, a NSW mines department geologist, and his associate Max Schneider, were sent to Bermagui to inspect the Montreal Goldfield.
They arrived Friday, October 8, 1880, visited the goldfield on Saturday, returned to their camp at Bermagui, and were never seen again.
At the same time Thomas Towers, William Lloyd and Daniel Casey of Bateman’s Bay were in Bermagui supposedly to sell potatoes to the miners. They had a green boat.
Their boat was seen, with “four or five men,” sailing north on Sunday, October 10.
They were never seen again but their boat was found on a rocky reef with Young’s and Schneider’s belongings inside.
In spite of numerous investigations and countless speculation as to what actually happened to the men, people are still trying to unravel the clues 133 years later.
Members of public joined the historical societies as they visited several spots along the coast, hearing more of the story at each site.
After lunch at Mystery Bay, society members continued to the entrance of Corunna Lake to view a site where the wrecked boat was still on the sand when a journalist from the Town and Country Journal visited in 1883.
The journalist, who used the pen name ‘The Raven’ wrote: “The scene of what was known as the ‘Bermagui mystery’ is on a beach near the mouth (blocked up by sand) of the Corunna lake. I visited the spot and took a sketch of the boat from which the unfortunate men were missing.”
Comparing the rock formations of a hidden bay in that location, with the sketch of the scene from the report of the Select Committee 1883, indicates that the real Mystery Bay could well have been in this location.
One thing is certain, the mystery of Mystery Bay continues to cast its spell on those who try to solve it.