At the Beach

At 10:10am on 26 January 1966, the Beaumont children caught a bus to go to the beach. The bus stop was on the corner of Diagonal Road and Harding Street, less than 100 metres from their home. The bus driver, Mr I. D. Monroe, later confirmed carrying the children on his bus. A woman passenger also noticed them, being able to recall later the colours of the clothes the children were wearing, and that Jane carried a copy of the book Little Women. The bus continued north-west along Diagonal Road, then north along Brighton Road before turning left to travel west along Jetty Road. From Jetty Road the bus turned left and halted at a stop in Moseley Street, only a short stroll from the beach. It was at this point that the children left the bus, at 10:15am.

The movements of the children for the next 45 minutes are not precisely known. Police believe that the local postman, Tom Patterson, saw the children walking along Jetty Road towards the beach at this time. Mr Patterson knew the children and they said "It's the postie!" 79 However Mr Patterson, trying to recall later, believed that this encounter happened in the afternoon, not the morning.

At about 11am, a 74 year old woman (Woman 1) was sitting in front of the Holdfast Sailing Club building on a bench under some trees. Woman 1 saw the three Beaumont children playing under a sprinkler on the lawn of the Colley Reserve. A man wearing blue swimming trunks was lying face down on the grass. He seemed to be watching the children. About 15 minutes later she saw the man frolicking with the children, who were flicking him with their towels.

Between 11am and 11:15 a school friend of Jane's also saw the children. She did not speak with them.

At around 11:45am the Beaumont children entered the nearby Wenzel's cake shop 77 and purchased some pasties and a pie, using a 1 note. Mrs Beaumont was later adamant that she had given Jane only eight shillings and sixpence 78. The children were due to catch the noon bus home in about 15 minutes.

At about 12pm, another woman (Woman 2, who had earlier seen Woman 1), was sitting on a nearby bench. The bench was also occupied by an elderly couple (Woman 3 and her husband) and the elderly couple's 10 year old granddaughter. A man and three children approached. The man matched the description of the man seen earlier by Woman 1. Woman 2 was later almost certain that two of the children were Jane and Grant. She was positive that the third child was Arnna.

With the children trailing, the man asked the four on the bench if they had seen anyone interfering with his clothes; some money was missing. They told him that they hadn't seen anything and the man returned to the children. Woman 3 watched them and saw the man dressing the children. She thought this odd, especially when the man pulled up Jane's shorts over her swimming costume, as Jane seemed easily old enough to do this herself. At a press conference eight days later, Mrs Beaumont expressed surprise at the same thing. She thought it almost impossible that Jane, a shy child, would have let someone else dress her. However, according to the elderly couple, the children seemed very friendly with the man.

Having dressed the children, the man then picked up a pair of trousers and a towel. Woman 2 said that he walked away with the children and passed out of sight behind the Glenelg Hotel. Woman 3 said that he went to the Colley Reserve changing rooms. By this time it may have been 12:15pm.

These were the last corroborated sightings of the Beaumont children, and police now consider the children to have gone missing at about midday on 26 January 1966.

There were a further two possible sightings:

At approximately 1:45 pm, a visiting man from Broken Hill saw a man with children he believed to be the Beaumonts, leaving the beach. The man matched the description of the man seen earlier, except that he had light brown and not blonde hair.

The postman, Mr Patterson, may have seen the children in the afternoon, rather than in the morning as police believe. Patterson maintained that he'd seen them either at the start of his round, at 1:45pm, or at 2:55pm at the end of it. In his encounter with the children he saw nobody with them.

The sighting by the man from Broken Hill, plus the fact that the children would be walking towards the bus stop at the right time to catch the 2pm bus, suggests that if Mr Patterson did see the children in the afternoon it would have been at 1:45pm. Contrary to this, however, Mr Patterson later said that the encounter was at the end of his round, at 2:55pm.

However, the comparitive lateness of these timings has led police to believe that Patterson was probably mistaken and that he'd actually seen the children in the morning, just after they'd left the bus. Police believe that the other sighting at 1:45pm cannot be relied upon either. The most likely scenario seems to be that the children went missing at about midday.

They have not been seen since.

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