A TASMANIAN coroner has officially ended a 58-year mystery surrounding the disappearance of a Hobart schoolgirl, ruling she was not abducted but most likely drowned.
Eleven-year-old Gloria Jean Duncan, also known as Gloria Rigby, disappeared while swimming at Long Beach Point, Sandy Bay, on February 2, 1958.
No trace of her has even been found
She was living with her maternal grandmother in North Hobart at the time and went to the beach with another family — the Borons — who were living at the same address.
Mrs Olga Boron told police she saw Gloria playing by holding her nose and ducking under the water.
Shortly after two of the Borons’ children ran to their mother to say Gloria had gone under but had not come back up.
Mrs Boron’s daughter said Gloria had thrown her arms in the air before she submerged for the last time.
Mr Boron tried to find Gloria in the water. A search then began involving up to 50 people who were also at the beach.
A police officer who was also at the beach co-ordinated the search.
Police reported that while the water where the children were playing was shallow, not far away there was a deep channel with a strong current running down towards the mouth of the River Derwent.
The search continued into the night but without success. A police boat came to assist and divers were deployed.
No trace of Gloria was found and she has not been seen or heard from since.
Fears Gloria had been abducted by the estranged de facto partner of her aunt were investigated and discounted.
Both Harold Rigby, from whom Gloria adopted her assumed surname, and her aunt have since died.
“I am quite satisfied that there was no basis for any such suggestion,” Coroner Simon Cooper said in his findings, which were released today.
“On the material available I am satisfied on the balance of probabilities that Gloria Duncan — known as Rigby — is dead.
“I am satisfied that she most likely drowned in the Derwent River near Long Point, Sandy Bay.”