Friday 15 July 2016

Lost Girls

Every family's worst nightmare came true for two sets of Campbelltown families one day in the Spring of 1926. Elsie Egelton and Lydia Scattergood went into the bush at Wedderburn to gather wildflowers. Elsie was aged 24 and Lydia about 13. At about 4 o'clock they found themselves lost in the wild, rough and rugged country and were unable to find their way home. Night fell and they were faced with spending a night in the bush.

Meanwhile their parents became worried and went into the bush to search for them. Unable to locate them, they contacted the police. Two policeman organized about 30 volunteers to help in the search.

A noted tracker and expert bushman named Mick Rixon found fresh tracks around 10pm and half an hour later they heard a cooee from down in the gully. The girls were found about an hour later, over 15 kilometres from their homes.

They made slow progress back as the girls were exhausted and nervous and by 1.30am could go no further because of their sore and swollen feet. The men lit a fire and the group rested until just before dawn when they again made out for home. By 6.30am the girls were back at their homes to the relief of their families. The outcome could've been far worse if not for the skills of Mick Rixon.

Lydia married Ronald Foster in 1940 and died at Camden in 2007 aged 94. Elsie never married and died in 1986 aged 83.

School children at Campbelltown South Public School c 1917-18. Lydia Scattergood is the girl in the front row with her head down. 

Written by Andrew Allen


HOLMES, Marie 2012
A Scrapbook of History: stories of the Macarthur District
Campbelltown: Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society

Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, October 8 1926


  1. Elsie Egelton was my much loved Great Aunt. She never mentioned this encounter to me but I had a similar situation when I was about 11 and I remember that she jested me over it calling me "little boy lost". I am guessing that she would have copped nicknames similar in such a tight knit community like Campbelltown was back then.

  2. That's interesting that she never mentioned it Drew. Also interesting to know you experienced a similar thing. Thanks for letting me know.