50 years ago: the Beaumont children

26 January 1966: The 1960s was the decade when crime rates began to climb and people became more concerned about the safety of their city, and in particular the safety of children. One reason for this was a number of murders that achieved great publicity, including Graeme Thorne in 1960 and two 15-year-old girls, Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock, at Wanda Beach near Cronulla in January 1965.

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Then, on this day, the three Beaumont children disappeared. It was in Adelaide, but the event affected all of Australia. Jane aged nine, Arnna seven, and Grant, four, often went to Glenelg Beach by themselves during the holidays. This lack of parental supervision was still common, but the disappearance of the Beaumont children, coming after the deaths of Graeme Thorne and Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock, changed attitudes forever. The freedom and open spaces associated with Sydney childhood became potential threats as much asĀ blessings, and from then on, the way parents supervised their children became increasingly restrictive. The mysteries of the murders at Wanda and Glenelg beaches have never been solved.

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