Traumatic time for siblings in Wanda beach murders

 Wanda beach murders

There were no rules to protect children from being identified in media photos at the time of the Wanda beach murders in January, 1965.

One photo in the Leader's library shows the siblings of one of the victims, Marianne Schmidt, covering their faces as detectives lead them into Cronulla Police Station to answer questions.

On other occasions, their faces were fully photographed.

Peter, 10, Trixie, nine, Wolfgang, eight, and Norbert, six, accompanied Marianne, 15, to the beach with her friend Christine Sharrock, who was also 15.

The children remained on the beach while the girls went into the dunes, and never returned.

As well as being questioned at Cronulla Police Station, detectives escorted the children back to the beach to retrace their movements on that fateful day.

There did not appear to be any specialist police or a counsellor about to help the children, who would have suffered extreme trauma.

Dawn's car crash

Australia's greatest swimmer Dawn Fraser was forced to wear a neck brace after a car accident in 1964 on General Holmes Drive, near the airport, in which her mother died.

The crash occurred just weeks before the Tokyo Olympics and Fraser's injuries stopped her attending her mother's funeral.

Nevertheless, she recovered in time to win the 100 metres freestyle and silver medals in relay events at the Tokyo games.

The accident occurred while Fraser was driving her sister home to Brighton-Le-Sands about 1.30am.

Her sister was sitting in the front of the car, while their mother Rose and a friend of Fraser's, who was visiting from Melbourne, were in the rear.

Fraser recalled in a 2004 interview she saw a parked pig truck only at the last moment because it "had all slush over the back tail lights", and swerved to avoid it.

"I had this car, which was the first car I'd ever driven that had power steering and as I pulled the car to swerve it, I rolled the car," she told the ABC.

"The car got hit in the back and I flipped the car over."

Fraser said her brother told her their mother had suffered a heart attack, but she learnt 40 years later her death was due to injuries in the accident.

Non gambler's big win

The principal of Sylvania Infants and Primary Schools, Robert Neville Hammond, was the centre of attention in 1964 after winning the Opera House Lottery.

The lottery, which was established to help pay for the Opera House, was the biggest gambling opportunity of its kind at the time.

Mr Hammond, 39 and single, won £101,000 ($202,000) - the first prize and two consolation prizes.

He said he would not be putting any of his winnings on a horse in the Melbourne Cup, which was to be run the following day, because "I'm not a gambling man".

Bushfire tragedy

It was a sombre gathering at Woronora Crematorium on January 12, 1983 when family and friends farewelled Thomas Bielecke, 41, deputy captain of the Heathcote brigade, one of three volunteer firefighters, who died protecting homes and a school from a raging bushfire at Grays Point.

The tragedy was one of Sutherland Shire's darkest hours.

Brigade captain Keith Campbell, 50, and firefighter Gregory Moon, 20, also died when their tanker was overrun by fire, which swept up Anana Hill in the Royal National Park, near Angle Road.

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Captain Underpants

Tow truck operator Richard Bonomi stripped down to his "undies" to retrieve a cement truck that rolled into the Georges River near Captain Cook Bridge in 1988.

The Boral truck was spotted about eight metres out from the boat ramp at Taren Point by a couple, who were fishing at 2.45am.

Mr. Bonomi, of Engadine Towing, swam out to attach ropes to the truck.

"I get quite a few calls for cars dumped in rivers," he said. "I'm the only 'towie' around here who will pull them out, so I find myself in the water quite a lot."

SCG nostalgia trip

St George rugby league greats returned to the scene of some of their biggest triumphs for a special occasion in August, 1974.

Pictured from left are Bob Bugden. Ken Kearney, Billy Smith, Eddie Lumsden, Norm Provan and officials Frank Facer and Len Kelly.

Green light for train line

A new photo relating to the opening of the Sutherland to Cronulla train line in 1939 has been unearthed in the Leader's photo library.

The photo, taken by Tom Fisher, shows the new signal box at Sutherland, which would direct trains on to the branch line.

It was taken the day before the official opening on December 16, 1939.

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