Sleuths on trail of ‘Bermagui Mystery’

Amateur sleuths were out in force on Sunday on the trail of a mystery that has intrigued the Far South Coast for more than a century - the 'Bermagui Mystery'.

More than 50 people joined members of the Bermagui and Narooma Historical Societies and Montreal Goldfield Management Committee to revisit the greatest unsolved mystery of the Far South Coast.

Five men disappeared on October 10, 1880. Their bodies were never found, only their boat which had been deliberately wrecked near the area now known as Mystery Bay. They were Government Geological Surveyor Lamont Young, who had just arrived in Bermagui to survey the new Montreal goldfields, his assistant Maximillian Schneider, and three men from Batemans Bay – Tom Towers, William Lloyd and Daniel Casey.

Their disappearance quickly became known as ‘the Bermagui Mystery’, Narooma Historical Society President Laurelle Pacey said.

“This is the third time we’ve held this event and each time something new emerges from the discussion about the whole tragedy,” Ms Pacey said.

“Dave Cotton of Bermagui compiled wonderful composite maps combining old maps and evidence that emerged at the time to give people a clearer overview of the area between Bermagui and Corunna Point. These greatly assisted with the interpretation.

“And this time we were joined by descendants of two of the missing men, including Lamont Young’s descendant, Roger Lamont Young, from Victoria, and two descendants of people who were part of the story that played out at that time.”

There was considerable discussion this time at the last two of the five stops of the day about how there could have been any confusion about where exactly the boat was wrecked.

“An extraordinary explanation was offered at the final stop at Corunna Point by a descendant of the first selectors in the area of her family story about how that happened and why,” Ms Pacey said.

“So while we are no closer to solving the mystery, everyone went away mulling over what might have happened and why, so the mystery remains.”