Valerie Dawn EASTWELL
Wednesday, August 15, 1945
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.
IS OBJECT IN RIVER
BODY OF MISSING GIRL
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
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.
CAN YOU HELP SOLVE
Truth newspaper, Sunday 15th August
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
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.
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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