Valerie Dawn EASTWELL

NSW Missing Person Valerie Eastwell 


Missing since: 
Wednesday, August 15, 1945
Last seen: 
Gol Gol, NSW
Responsible jurisdiction: 
Year of birth: 



Eight-year-old Valerie Eastwell was last sighted after she was sent to her neighbour’s house on 15 August 1945 to deliver a message. She often went to this residence to play. The town (Gol Gol, NSW) had just received news that the war had ended, and everyone was celebrating. Since this time there has been no contact with Valerie, her whereabouts remain unknown.

If you have information that may assist police, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

SYDNEY, Thursday. Canberra times  26 November 1948
The mysterious disappearance of an 8-years-old girl' from Gol Gol in 1945 was recalled to-day when two men, fishing in the Murray River, hooked what they believe to be a body. The police dragged the river and recovered a piece of old clothing and an old felt bag, but failed to recover a body. Arrangements were made tonight for a diver from Mildura to search the river early to-morrow.
The C.I.B. was informed by Sgt. Mills, of Deniliquin, that Mr. Robinson, of Red Cliffs, reported suspicions of the presence of a body in the river. He said his son, Jack, and his son-in-law, Harry "Baker, were fishing for. Murray Cod on the Victorian side of the river, three miles upstream from Gol Gol. They hooked a heavy object, but the hook pulled out before they could haul it in. They found hairs on the fish- hook which appeared to be' human hairs, about three inches long, and of brown and' auburn colour. The police have kept the hairs for further examination.
The incident revived interest in the disappearance of Valerie Dawn Eastwell from her home at Gol Gol on August 15, 1945. Valerie had auburn, hair, wore a navy blue school tunic and a grey cardigan jacket. A reward of £3,000 for information that might lead to the discovery of her whereabouts is still-offered by the State Government. Sgt. Mills, of Deniliquin, and Sgt. Peberdy, of Wentworth, hooked a heavy object with grappling irons to-day near the spot .where the fishermen hooked an object, but could not move it. They think it may have been a heavy log. The river is in flood.




Truth newspaper, Sunday 15th August 1954

Tiny tot vanished in broad daylight
A notorious criminal pervert has been questioned by police in Victoria about the fate of Valerie Dawn Eastwell (8), who disappeared from Gol Go! nine years ago today, thus providing one of the greatest mysteries in history. The man came under observation while serving a sentence in Pentridge Gaol, Melbourne, for a sex attack. Preliminary questioning proved unavailing because the man would not talk
freely in front of warders.  Melbourne detectives, working with members of the Sydney C.I.B., waited until the man was recently released, then saw him again. Their inquiries again were inconclusive.

Gol Gol is a sleepy little backwater on the N.S.W. side of the Murray River, a few miles from Mildura. It was around here that young Valerie lived and died, perhaps, because no one knows what happened to her after she left a neighbor's place on August 15, 1945. She had been playing with the neighbor's children and is believed to have left about mid day. Her parents, worried by her non-appearance for dinner that night, called the police who began Australia's biggest, longest search. Men left a local dance to look for the little girl. The dense bush around Gol Gol was searched yard by yard. A long line of beacon fires was lit in the hope of attracting the child's attention. R.A.A.F. planes scouted overhead. Police patrolled the river by launch. Police dogs Zoe and Souri were put on the girl's trail. Famous blacktracker, Sgt. Riley, and his tracker son combed the country for signs of the girl. More than 120 searchers in one day combed every part of a 6000 acres scrub patch after a tractor had systematically marked the area into sections to be searched. Ace man-hunter, Det. Insp. (later Det.-Supt.) James "The Fox'' Wiley was sent from Sydney to lead the search. Valerie Dawn Eastwell was only a little girl, but it seems unbelievable that she could vanish so completely.

Still "open"

What happened to her? Did she drown in the Murray River or one of its tributary creeks? Did she wander away, lose herself, then die from exposure and starvation in some thicket so dense that searchers passed within
feet without seeing her? Was she murdered and buried in some secret place? Or is she still alive? Is it possible that she was kidnapped by some wandering crank? Is it possible that, under some mental cloud, she
wandered away and was accepted into another existence without her identity being questioned? The bush was thick enough for searchers to miss a body. Senior detectives said this week that the Gol Gol mystery would remain "open" until the facts about Valerie Dawn Eastwell's disappearance and eventual fate were established "beyond reasonable doubt." They said that, even nine years after the search started, they still would welcome information from members of the public. Do you know something that may help?



Disappearance still a mystery: Family and friends of missing girl hope for closure

 - Sunraysia Daily

AUGUST 15, 1945, was meant to be a day of celebration.


It marked the end of World War II, when Victory in the Pacific was achieved and the world returned to some semblance of normality.

But the day fills 78-year-old Gol Gol resident Tom Modica with sadness.

As well as securing the defeat of the Japanese after almost six years at war with Allied Forces, it was also the day that Mr Modica’s young school friend Valerie Dawn Eastwell was last seen alive.

Mr Modica was one of the final people to see Valerie before her disappearance as she rushed to spread the word that the war was over.

Her remains have never been found despite an exhaustive search which lasted for months and involved thousands of volunteer searchers, sniffer dogs and black trackers mainly through an area just north of Gol Gol.

No evidence has emerged to suggest how Valerie disappeared and met her likely death.

Valerie vanished in broad daylight and while initial investigations honed on the likelihood that she became lost in scrub and died from exposure, police later raised theories that she may have been murdered or kidnapped.

Mr Modica vividly recalls his fleeting exchange with Valerie that morning – a moment that still haunts him to this day.

“I was coming from my parents’ property to go to the Gol Gol School where Valerie also attended,” Mr Modica said.

“But on this day as I went to step over a fence from the property and head off to school Valerie came along heading in the opposite direction,” he said.

“She asked me what I was doing and I told her that I was going to school, like normal.

“But her family had a radio and we didn’t, so she told me there would be no school today because the war was over.

Hope still held for Valerie


PARTS of Gol Gol Creek are still bordered by the dense Mallee scrub that used to cover most of the town.

The creek is also thought to keep the secret of what happened to Valerie Eastwell, the eight-year-old girl with the light auburn bob who disappeared 70 years ago today.

It was the end of World War II in the Pacific, the day Japan had unconditionally surrendered, and Gol Gol students had been sent home in celebration of the Allied victory.

“If they had stayed at school, she could still be here,” said niece Lyn Pitt, who was just two at the time and has never given up the search.

Valerie was last seen near the creek, behind the family’s home, dressed in a faded blue tunic and black shoes about 11.30am.

Accounts of her activities that morning varied in newspaper reports at the time, most including her duties to purchase lettuce from a nearby market garden and to take the news of the war’s end to her brother working on a nearby block.

It was believed friends were the last ones to see her. The case is an eerie one, and one of Australia’s most baffling and longest-running mysteries.

Her father believed she had met with foul play, but police were also investigating if she wandered into the bush and died from exposure.

Reports of a child’s screams, auburn hairs pulled from the river by a fishing line, reported sightings as far away as Hopetoun, and even the discovery of a skeleton near Wentworth, were eliminated.

Decades later, a man even travelled from Swan Hill to tell remaining family members Valerie was alive and living in Melbourne with a family of her own.

The licence plates on his vehicle were false and he was dismissed as one of the many “kooks”.