History's mysteries that haunt the Gladstone region

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The Bustard napper or an ill-fated romance?

Two Calliope men vanish

The unsolved murder of Mima McKim-Hill

First murder in Gladstone

THE bridge you drive over to work each day, the highway you speed along without a second thought.

These locations are, upon regular fixation, seemingly mundane.

But what is in the history books begs to differ, playing host to an array of strange and mysterious events.

We lift the lid on a selection of the most bizarre and, to this day, unsolved mysteries from the greater Gladstone region.

The Bustard napper or an ill-fated romance?

DISPUTE still exists over the disappearance of 16-year-old Edith (Edie) Anderson and 21-year-old George Daniels from cattle station Turkey, at Bustard Head, in 1912.

Accounts from Stuart Buchanan's Lighthouse of Tragedy suppose Mr Daniels, a man of Pacific Islander and Chinese descent, was working as a stockman when his attraction was drawn to the young domestic servant.

After several witness accounts of romance between the pair, the cattle station became the subject of controversy during the conservative era.

The day arrived when Edie was packed and ready for her return to her family, with her cheque of £7.7.0.

With apprehension at the departure, and the imposed estrangement, the pair disappeared on Sunday, February 11, 1912; a steamy summer's day.

While some believe the discovery of Edie's final pay and horse, and the absence of George's firearms from Turkey, were indicative of malice intent, the pair were never heard from again.

Gay Sirriss, the granddaughter of George Daniels' brother, says the oral history passed through generations has it the pair were in love, destined to face constant judgment while they remained at the station.

"It's always a story I knew of but unfortunately my dad never liked to talk about it," she said.

"Dad said he (George Daniels) never contacted them, which is just as well as they would often have the police turn up at their house in west Gladstone.

"I see it as a tragic love story."

Derek Wade Van DerPoel was reported missing in September 2, 1994. Photo Contributed
Derek Wade Van DerPoel was reported missing in September 2, 1994. Photo Contributed Contributed

Two Calliope men vanish

A REWARD for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for Robert Grayson and Derek Wade Van Derpoel's disappearance remains to this day.

The two men, aged 26 and 23 respectively, vanished between 1993 and 1994.

Last seen alive in Gladstone in May 1993, neither was reported missing until the following year.

MAJOR UPDATE JANUARY 29, 2018: Police make breakthrough in double cold case

The men were companions and colleagues working at Kroombit Tops; their isolation potentially a factor in the delay of alerting authorities.

Foul play is strongly suspected.

Any member of the public with information that could assist police is asked to contact the Homicide Investigation Group in Brisbane on 3364 6122; or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Mima McKim-Hill's body was located in a dry creek bed alongside the Dawson Highway in 1967. Photo Contributed
Mima McKim-Hill's body was located in a dry creek bed alongside the Dawson Highway in 1967. Photo Contributed Contributed

The unsolved murder of Mima McKim-Hill

AS A cooking demonstrator for the Capricornia Regional Electricity Board, Mima McKim-Hill would visit homes in Gladstone, Calliope, Tannum Sands and Biloela.

She was travelling with a group of fellow demonstrators in the region in 1967, showcasing the uses of electricity in the home, when she was brutally murdered.

The body of the 22-year-old woman was discovered in a dry creek bed next to the Dawson Hwy between Gladstone and Biloela on March 9, 1967.

Her body had been lying in the creek bed for 17 days before it was found.

Rockhampton man Scott Nimblin, a school friend of Ms McKim-Hill, described her as ambitious and compassionate.

"There have been many theories about what happened to Mima," he said.

"I believe her kind heart led to her end."

Asphyxiation by strangulation was determined as the cause of death.

A Ford Customline sedan was seen around the area at the time of Ms McKim-Hill's peril, leading to a state wide investigation.

Despite extensive analysis and anonymous tip-offs, the murder case remains unsolved.

THEN: Police Creek in the 1950s– the scene of Gladstone’s first documented murder.
THEN: Police Creek in the 1950s– the scene of Gladstone’s first documented murder. Contributed

First murder in Gladstone

THE commute many of us make daily crosses over the site of an historical murder scene.

Police Creek is the location of Gladstone's first murder - of a man named Henry Raabe.

The date was July 13, 1864, and the township of Gladstone was incongruous to the bustling hub it is today.

Dray master Henry Raabe had been indulging in rum along with the other men when a dispute broke out over the loaning of a few extra pounds, ending in Mr Raabe's fatal stabbing.

Police arrival was delayed due to a 4km walk.

Thomas Murray is believed to have stood before a court on the charge of manslaughter in 1874.

The serene waterway today does not reflect the brutality that occurred some 140 years ago.

Looking towards the sea from Police Creek.
Looking towards the sea from Police Creek. Ebony Battersby