Unsolved Wonnangatta couple vanish in a bunch of odd disappearances & 'The Button Man' enters

shellyg

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Over 100 years ago in 1918 two notorious murders were committed in Wonnangatta, online groups today are still trying to work out exactly what happened. One of the victims the station manager and the other a cook. Their bodies were found a long way apart weeks later, shot to death yet the only recently fired weapon was found back at the empty homestead.

Fast forward to today and another mystery is unfolding in the same area. Russell Hill an experienced bushman and Carol Clay's abandoned well equipped vehicle and burnt out campsite was discovered, they're been missing for nearly two months and nobody knows where they are.

Who started the fire and who put it out? So many questions.

Searchers on paws, foot and horseback, drones and helicopters haven't found a sign of them.

wonnangatta.jpg


 

shellyg

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This one is very strange. Wasn't there a report that the fire was started by a phone charger, left in the tent?
Oh ... thanks I hadn't read that.

Really strange. Might look like they just wandered off and got lost but at that age they're generally pretty careful and by the campsite it looks well organised, ready for anything type of setup.
 

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zedx

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News reports say Mr Hill's WIFE and family were not aware he was going camping with Mrs Clay. SOME of Mrs Clay's family knew who she was going camping with and some reported she had gone camping with him on numerous occasions before. They had been family friends for 20 years.
Where these two having a secret affair? Sure sounds like it to me!!
i would be seriously looking into where his wife was at the time! Even though the wife and family stated they did not know they had gone camping together, it does seems like quite a few people knew what was going on, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was common knowledge and his family were aware.
 

shellyg

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News reports say Mr Hill's WIFE and family were not aware he was going camping with Mrs Clay. SOME of Mrs Clay's family knew who she was going camping with and some reported she had gone camping with him on numerous occasions before. They had been family friends for 20 years.
Where these two having a secret affair? Sure sounds like it to me!!
i would be seriously looking into where his wife was at the time! Even though the wife and family stated they did not know they had gone camping together, it does seems like quite a few people knew what was going on, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was common knowledge and his family were aware.
Oh ... I assumed they were a lovely elderly companion couple who were probably both widowed and just doing stuff together and it's shenanigans?
 

Bunk Moreland

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News reports say Mr Hill's WIFE and family were not aware he was going camping with Mrs Clay. SOME of Mrs Clay's family knew who she was going camping with and some reported she had gone camping with him on numerous occasions before. They had been family friends for 20 years.
Where these two having a secret affair? Sure sounds like it to me!!
i would be seriously looking into where his wife was at the time! Even though the wife and family stated they did not know they had gone camping together, it does seems like quite a few people knew what was going on, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was common knowledge and his family were aware.
Yep, it’s def got that ring about it. I didn’t know Hill’s family didn’t know... that probably about confirms it.
 

SmAshmoto

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Surprised a thread about this hasn't surfaced yet, but here goes...

I won't try and retell the entire story myself so I'll quote these articles.


9 NEWS - April 20

Vital new evidence discovered after pair mysteriously disappear from campsite
By Sam Cucchiara - 1 month ago

Where are Russell & Carol?
A missing drone could hold the key to unraveling the mysterious disappearance of an elderly pair in Victoria's high country.

Carol Clay, 73, and her companion Russell Hill, 74, have not been since in over a month after setting up camp at Wonnangatta Valley, about a six hour drive from Melbourne.

The drone is believed to have belonged to Mr Hill.

His wife of 50 years, Robyn, previously told the Herald Sun she had no idea her husband was out camping with another woman.

A fire that burnt the campsite and singed Mr Hill's car – which was still drivable – has been a key focus for investigators, who have not been able to determine the cause of the blaze.

The car underwent a forensic analysis before being returned to Mr Hill's Drouin home.

One of Carol Clay's close friends, Dorothy Coombe, told A Current Affair the grandmother "loved and adored" her family and wanted to see her grand-kids grow up.

"She was a tremendous friend," Ms Coombe said.


"She was one of those people who would cook you dinner and drop it around."

Ms Coombe said she was surprised to learn Carol, the former Victorian President of the Country Women's Association, had regularly gone camping with Russell.

"She was a glamour Queen really.

"She always looks gorgeous and well-dressed.

"For many people, they couldn't imagine her out in the bush, let alone anything befalling her."

With little other evidence found at the scene – police have remained stumped as to whether the pair simply got lost, met with foul play or even ran off to start a new life together.

They left on March 19, with Mr Hill contacting his wife over high-frequency radio a day later. He has not been seen since.

Last week, specialist officers and rescue teams returned to the site to comb through denser terrain.

Mr Hill is an experienced bushman who worked as a logger near the place he disappeared.

Local cattleman Bruce McCormack, who has assisted in many searches over the years, said the valley they were camping in was up to 1000 acres of "clear country".

"It's sort of a great open area in the middle of the Alpine National Park."

He said around one kilometre away from the campsite, the area turned into dense bushland where you would "never find them".

Statements from spokespeople from both the Hill and Clay families below

Hill family statement:

We are deeply saddened that Russell and Carol have been missing for one month now. Russell is our brother, husband, dad and pa and Carol has been a friend of the family for a long time. The police, SES and volunteers have searched extensively, and we thank them wholeheartedly. It is devastating for our family that we don't know what has happened to them both. We are pleading for anyone who has any information to please come forward.

Clay family statement:

Carol Clay and Russell Hill have been missing in the Wonnongatta Valley area in Victoria since 20 March, 2020.

Carol's family is very shocked and worried by their disappearance and ask for information from the community.

We appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the same time who may have seen Carol and Russell, their campsite or vehicle. Anyone who has any knowledge at all of their whereabouts could they please contact the police.

Their disappearance is very out of character as they were well prepared and travelling in country which was well known to Russell Hill.

This is a very difficult time for our family. We are living with uncertainty, loss and the continual stress of not knowing where they are and what has happened.

At this time we ask that our privacy be fully respected while we deal as a family with the ongoing process of supporting each other, dealing with the issues this raises and helping the police.

We would also very much like to take this opportunity to extend our thanks and gratitude to the many people who have taken part in the search in difficult terrain and those who are continuing to work hard to solve what is at this stage an absolute mystery.

And now the mystery thickens with this downright unsettling article from John Silvester today. I'll only post the link as it's monstrous.


I spend quite a bit of time in the Vic High Country and while I've never come across him, I've spoken to quite a few people who have had odd run ins with hermits and bushmen up there. There is literal mountain ranges untouched by humans for these guys to retreat in. Makes you wonder if this man or another person similar has a part to play in the disappearance...
 

SmAshmoto

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Hi :)

There is one but I like your OP better than mine, I'm looking forward to reading the article you linked in. This one is a real strange disappearance.

Very very odd.

For what it's worth, this has been doing the rounds on a couple of 4WD Facebook groups I'm part of and at least two people have stories of running into him. One of them came across him acting erraticly like he'd been disturbed by them on a mountain track the day the search commenced for Nils Becker.
 

shellyg

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Very very odd.

For what it's worth, this has been doing the rounds on a couple of 4WD Facebook groups I'm part of and at least two people have stories of running into him. One of them came across him acting erraticly like he'd been disturbed by them on a mountain track the day the search commenced for Nils Becker.
Seems like there's just too many weird vanishings through that area and it's people who know what they're doing. I've been so surprised far more wasn't made out of the disappearance of David Prideaux, maybe with this last couple gone it might shake things up. You can expect people to run into trouble sometimes but it's getting a bit much.

You'd know if you spend time up there, strange things happen in the high country and across the ranges.

Where is the Button Man taking them if it's him or could he be a witness?
 

Pamcake1

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Very very odd.

For what it's worth, this has been doing the rounds on a couple of 4WD Facebook groups I'm part of and at least two people have stories of running into him. One of them came across him acting erraticly like he'd been disturbed by them on a mountain track the day the search commenced for Nils Becker.
I read the article yesterday. The vital clue is the missing drone. A hermit would really, really hate a drone being flown over their patch.
If the death of the prison official wasn't weird enough the disappearance of the 2 having an affair is. The Button Man could be a bit of a furphy to keep the focus on the area.
 

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flashmanvc

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Interesting Silvester piece here, and I don't think he produces these apropos of nothing.

I've been half following the missing Wonnanngatta campers because I spend a lot of time up that way for work. We also camp several times a year at a place called High Ridge, right at the top of King Billy Track, and I reckon we've run into this Button Man at his camp up there. Had a few beers with him. He doesn't give much away.
 

shellyg

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Interesting Silvester piece here, and I don't think he produces these apropos of nothing.

I've been half following the missing Wonnanngatta campers because I spend a lot of time up that way for work. We also camp several times a year at a place called High Ridge, right at the top of King Billy Track, and I reckon we've run into this Button Man at his camp up there. Had a few beers with him. He doesn't give much away.
What does he look like? Is he outfitted to last through the winter?
 

Wombot

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Human remains have now been found 200km away from the station at Moondarra in Victoria's high country, 9News reported.


 

flashmanvc

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What does he look like? Is he outfitted to last through the winter?
This was a few years ago now, can't really describe him apart from saying he's a grizzled, oldish-looking dude.

Bit of context: we run river monitoring stations and remote area rain gauges for DELWP, BoM etc. The rain gauge at high ridge is part of a flood warning network for the Avon and Macalister catchments. We camped up there several times, months apart, and he had his camp set up further back at the top of a spur, which we could see from where we were. When we returned a couple of months later he was still there, so we grabbed some cans and wandered over for a chat. He said his name was Alex, I think, and confirmed he had been there all this time. We didn't stay long, respected his solitude etc. Decent set up, with tarps etc.

We've seen his set up in the same spot over the years.

As an aside, there's plenty of loose units up in the high country. I've come across a few blokes up there with clear mental problems.
 

Pamcake1

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This was a few years ago now, can't really describe him apart from saying he's a grizzled, oldish-looking dude.

Bit of context: we run river monitoring stations and remote area rain gauges for DELWP, BoM etc. The rain gauge at high ridge is part of a flood warning network for the Avon and Macalister catchments. We camped up there several times, months apart, and he had his camp set up further back at the top of a spur, which we could see from where we were. When we returned a couple of months later he was still there, so we grabbed some cans and wandered over for a chat. He said his name was Alex, I think, and confirmed he had been there all this time. We didn't stay long, respected his solitude etc. Decent set up, with tarps etc.

We've seen his set up in the same spot over the years.

As an aside, there's plenty of loose units up in the high country. I've come across a few blokes up there with clear mental problems.
Wow that is an interesting job that you have there. The Daily Fail article noted above stresses twice that they just want to speak to him as he would know who was moving around the area.
Sounds like an interesting eccentric who has now had his cover blown sky high...he will not be pleased.
Loose units for sure up there in that country and across to the East of there.
 

Pamcake1

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Human remains have now been found 200km away from the station at Moondarra in Victoria's high country, 9News reported.


I bet you its the lone bushwalker that went missing (2011?) before this couple that has been found. As he could have covered that ground from where he went missing and note they don't say bodies just human remains, so I would say it is just the one person found.
 

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