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The Beaumont Children: investigations and implications of cold-cases

Moderated by Joel McGregor, with panellists Dr Xanthé Mallett, Duncan McNab and Ben Lohmeyer.


Tue. 11 September 2018 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm AEST. The University of Newcastle, Sydney,  55 Elizabeth St Sydney, NSW 2000

There is no closure in a cold case.

Jane, Arnna and Grant Beaumont, collectively known as the Beaumont children, disappeared from Glenelg Beach on Australia Day 1966. Their disappearance has led to one of the largest police investigations in Australian history and is one of the country’s most famous cold cases.

Most recently, the Seven News team and specialist forensic investigators found new evidence which led them to excavate a section of the New Castalloy factory. This site has been excavated before, so why was it done again?

Moreover, the nature of childhood in Australia has changed since their disappearance. No longer would a 9, 7 and 4-year-old be at the beach without their parents.

This panel discussion includes two of those specialist forensic investigators, Dr Xanthé Mallett and Duncan McNab who will outline the evidence of the case, present what lead them to the prime suspect (Harry Phipps) and the technology that was central to the recent excavation.

South Australian youth worker and youth sociologist, Ben Lohmeyer, also joins the panel to comment on the way that the nature of childhood has changed since the disappearance of The Beaumont Children.

This event is being held in Social Sciences Week. Social Sciences Week encourages dialogue between academics and a wider audience to communicate cutting edge research. This event is hosted by the Crime and Governance Thematic Group of The Australian Sociological Association, in conjunction with The University of Newcastle.

About the venue:

The event is being held at the University of Newcastle’s Sydney location, 55 Elizabeth Street. The venue is adjacent to a number of major public transport hubs including Martin Place Station. The room, ELI122, is on the first floor. Upon exiting the stairs on the first floor, take the first left after the glassed-off student kitchen. Turn right at the end of the corridor. Room ELI122 is clearly marked on your left.

About the speakers:

Xanthé Mallett is a crimiologist and forensic scientist, and educator, with a passion for social justice. She is the discipline convenor for Criminology at the Univeristy of Newcastle, undertaking research focussed on genedered crime and forenisc human identification. She also works with Australian police forces, providing expert analysis with regards to identifying persons of interest in criminal investigations, speciasing in cold case reviews through application of advanced DNA technologies. Her work is often covered in the media; she was recently involved in the review of the Beaumont children’s dissapreances in South Australia, as well as the Wanda Beach murders in NSW, in association with Channel 7.

Duncan McNab is an award winning investigative journalist and author of 10 non-fiction books primarily on crime. He was the supervising producer of the 7 Network’s Murder Uncovered and worked on the Beaumont case for twelve months. Under intense questioning he may admit to being a former NSW police detective and defence investigator in a time before DNA was on the forensic menu.

Ben Lohmeyer is a critical youth sociologist and youth worker. He completed his PhD in April 2018 focussing on hyper-governed young people’s stories of neoliberal violence. During his candidature Ben won several awards for his research and publications. Ben has over a decade of youth work experience in alternative education, accommodation and peace building. His research interests include: youth, governance, violence (personal, structural and neoliberal) and youth work practice.

Joel McGregor is an associate lecturer in criminology at the Univeristy of Newcastle. He is currently completing his PhD which examines the practices used in reentry case management programs. His research questions the role of assumed knowledge about how practitioners do rehabilitation. He is engaged in a diverse portfolio of projects that includes both research and tertiary education.