Skeleton found on Coledale escarpment

Herbert Halliday. Picture: The Sydney Sun August 8 1925

THE skeletal remains of Herbert Halliday were found in the bush by several boys on the escarpment near Coledale in 1929.

Halliday, who was 53 at the time, had gone missing on July 29 1925 while staying with his brother, Walter, at The Grove, Austinmer.

The day after he left home Halliday was found asleep near a fire at the Coledale coke works, but afterwards ran into the scrub. Parties went out from Coalcliff, Coledale, Scarborough, and Clifton, but their progress was hampered due to heavy rain, and the weather was bitterly cold. After two days and no sign of the man, fears were raised that he had perished in the bush.

Four years later those fears were realised. On a Friday afternoon in August 1929 the boys searching for bees’ nests on the heights between Austinmer and Coledale came across a boot containing human bones.

Constable Dawes, of Austinmer, was notified, and the following morning a further search was made, when a human skeleton was found.

Looking through old records, Constable Dawes found that Herbert Halliday had disappeared in 1925.

The skeleton was believed to have been Halliday. The boots were identified as similar, and the same size as Halliday’s, and the buckle on the braces was similar; cloth found nearby, and a pocket-knife were similar to articles he possessed. A razor was found nearby, and the missing man was known to carry his razor with him.

The following month after the discovery of the remains, his brother, Walter, who Halliday was staying with at the time of his disappearance, died from pneumonia in Bulli Hospital aged 71.

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