Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Many Australian's of a "certain age" will have a distinct memory of the Beaumont Children case - either by remembering the events as they occurred, or dealing with the change in how our childhood lives were lived.  40 years on the Beaumont Children are still missing - what happened to them totally unknown.

When the 3 children seemingly vanished from Glenelg Beach the police had very little information to go on, and all these years later the story is no clearer. No bodies have ever been discovered, nor have the 3 children been found living elsewhere.  One of the major complicating factors (and possibly the cruelest, most vicious thing of all) is the number of people who had a piece of the case - either as an investigator with a total loss of perspective; clairvoyants holding out all sorts of false hope; people judging the parents for their actions in letting the children go to the beach on their own, and for their supposed reactions afterwards; malicious hoaxers sending letters supposedly to the parents; and finally however took those 3 kids - 40 years on and not a word or even a hint since about what happened to them.  

SEARCHING FOR THE BEAUMONT CHILDREN is a fascinating book in that it draws out the timeline of the investigation - from the moment the children were missed to the current day.  It covers all of the hoaxes; all of the sheer stupidity that went on around the hunt for the children; all of the false hopes and leads; all of the frequently seemingly thoughtless behaviour of so many people.

Fascinatingly there is a final chapter in the book talking about a number of possible suspects - one of whom hit the headlines in Victoria the day after we won a copy of this book in the Ned Kelly awards at the 2007 MWF.  All those years and no idea of what happened to the 3 Beaumont Children; the two young girls taken from the Adelaide Oval in 1972; the 10 year old taken from her Adelaide home in 1983; and a lot of other children who have simply vanished all over Australia.

Year of Publication

On Australia Day 1966, the three Beaumont children left their home in the Adelaide suburb of Somerton Park for a morning at Glenelg beach.  By the end of the day, the worst fears of every Australian parent were realised when Jane, aged nine, Arnna, seven and four-year-old Grant did not return hom.e

Over four decades later, many questions remain:  What really happened at Glenelg on the day Jane, Arnna and Grant disappeared?  Who was the man last seen with the children that day?  What links are there to the abduction of two young girls from Adelaide Oval in 1973 and the infamous Family Murders in the early 1980's?

Searching for the Beaumont Children paints a picture of a sunny city and a carefree era in which children explored the suburbs and went to the beach alone - a seemingly innocent world with a dark underbelly.  This moving story destroys the urban myths, explores the mroe likely scenarios investigated by police, and compassionately recounts the heartache of those who suffered most:  the Beaumont parents.

Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

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