July 19, 2012

The lost children of Hazel Dell...

Several months ago, a neighbour discovered an old local newspaper clipping detailing the disappearance of a five-year-old boy from a paddock on his father's property, and outlining other child disappearances earlier in the history of the area. Realising that the area described in the article included part of our cropping block Hazel Dell, our neighbour gave a copy of the article to us. Here is a summary of the history described...

The hill described in the article, called 'Muckeroo-Kertoo' by the aboriginal population before white settlement
On September 2 1888, five-year-old Thomas Carson disappeared while playing in an open paddock about a quarter of a mile from his home. His father, Robert Carson, was rabbiting nearby in direct line of sight with the area where Thomas was playing. The paddock was described as "open park-like land, well grassed [and with] no scrub". Initially assuming that the boy had returned home, it was one hour before Robert Carson became concerned and sought the assistance of nearby neighbours, who then spent "about nine hours searching and coo-ee-ing in all directions, and only gave in after being thoroughly worn out after midnight"The next morning the search party was joined by nearby landowners, local police, aboriginal trackers and about 25 horsemen from a local station. Twelve days of searching failed to find any sign of Thomas Carson.

The hill as seen from the Hazel Dell property. The Hazel Dell ruin can be seen in the foreground.
The article goes on to state... "There is a round hill about 150 feet high, close to where the boy was missed, called by the natives 'Muckeroo-Kertoo'". The hill is identified as the scene of an earlier child disappearance. In 1872, a young boy, identified only as the son of a boundary rider named Mason, was lost without a trace despite extensive searching by local settlers.

Further, the local aboriginal population at the time reported a history of their children disappearing from the site. At the time of early settlement, the hill was the focus of an aboriginal legend -"The natives say their picaninnies {children} also disappeared from there, and have a superstition that a bird about six feet high, with legs as thick as a black-fellow's, used to make periodical visits [to] 'Muckeroo-Kertoo'... and that its presence in the neighbourhood had something to do with the disappearance of the young aboriginals"

A second settler's cottage immediately south of the hill, also abandoned
Several years after Thomas Carson's disappearance, his cousins Jack and William found his hat in the scrub about three miles from the spot where he was last seen. No trace of Thomas himself, or the other missing children, was ever found.


  1. Creepy! I got shivers reading this.

    Don't let any kids near that hill!

  2. Don't worry - I won't even let the dog play there!

  3. Truly spooky! I've got goose bumps. As a mother, that is my worst nightmare. I certainly hope there have been no recent disappearances - that would be mind-boggling scarey. x

  4. Oh that is such a sad story:(. Very strange and eery. I wonder what happened to them.
    Yes keep your little ones far away from that hill:(

  5. What a goose-bump enducing story...I wonder what happened? Could see it as a Hollywood blockbuster! I hope you've got an 'off-limits' to children policy!
    x KL

  6. Such a sad and weird story. I hope nothing similar happens again.


  7. I love history and old stories but that one is spooky.


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