Home' Yarram Standard : January 31st 2018 Contents PAGE 4 - “THE YARRAM STANDARD” Wednesday, January 31, 2018
A PIECE of jewellery was found on Mclean Street,
Yarram near the walking track on Thursday, January
11. It was a gold colour ring with stones. If any person
has lost a ring in that area you can contact Yarram Po-
lice on 51825033 and ask for Senior Constable Karen
Dale and provide a description to claim.
Man charged for
A 30 year old Yarram man was arrested and
charged with cultivating marijuana plants at a resi-
dential address in Yarram. Six plants were seized
from the house. The man will be summoned to ap-
pear sale magistrate court at a later date.
A 33 year Yarram man was processed after fail-
ing to comply with reporting obligations. He will be
summoned to appear before Sale Magistrate Court at
a date to be advised.
A 42 year old Yarram man has been charged
with breaching an intervention order in relation to
family violence on Friday, January 26. He has been
bailed to appear in the Sale Magistrates Court at a
Dirt bike stolen
A 2015 model red and white Honda CRF 110 has
been reported stolen from a shed at Alberton West on
Tuesday, January 23. A person later reported seeing
the bike being ridden in the Jack River area the fol-
lowing day, Wednesday January 24.
Yarram Police released a description of a person
they would like to speak to. “He is between 20 and
30 years of age, around 170 cm tall with short hair,
wearing black tracksuit pants and blue t-shirt,”
Senior Constable Brad Guenther said. “If you
have seen a person riding a motorbike without a hel-
met fitting this description can you please call me at
Yarram police station, 5182 5033.”
AUSTRALIA Day was an opportune
time for Ray Argento to reflect on
the inspiration for his service to the
The South Gippsland Shire councillor told the gath-
ering at Mirboo North’s Australia Day service on Fri-
day he had sought to repay the community who helped
him and other victims of the Wooreen Primary School
kidnapping on February 14, 1977.
Ray was just nine at the time.
“It probably set me on the path of wanting to give
back to the community,” he said.
Ray has since served many roles with the Coun-
try Fire Authority and last year was mayor of South
He recalled how the nine students and headmaster
Robert Hunter were kidnapped at gunpoint by Edward
John Eastwood, who was on the run from Melbourne
Remand Prison where he was serving time for a similar
kidnapping of students from the Faraday school.
Mr Hunter thought the kidnapping was a practical
joke, an initiation given he had started in the role days
Eastwood tied up Mr Hunter and taped his mouth,
chained the students, and forced them all into a truck.
Eastwood left a note on the school door saying the
teacher and students had gone on a nature walk and
would be back in half an hour.
At Mirboo North, Eastwood posted a ransom note
demanding the release of 22 inmates, $1 million and a
sizeable amount of Latin cocaine, or threatened to kill
The letter was sent to the editor of the Sunday Ob-
server in Richmond, addressed to the education minis-
ter. Eastwood continued on to a hideout he had prepared
in the Mullungdung State Forest near Yarram.
Eastwood’s plan began to unravel when he collided
with a log truck on Grand Ridge Road, leaving his truck
perched precariously on the edge of a steep drop, only
held up by posts marking the roadside.
He forced two men from the log truck and ordered
them to lie in the drain, along with Mr Hunter and the
children, who had experienced motion sickness en
route. Given his mouth was taped, Mr Hunter had to
swallow his vomit. Ray sustained a blood nose from the
impact of the crash.
Another log truck arrived on the scene and East-
wood also held its two occupants hostage, along with
two elderly ladies who later came by in a campervan.
The hostages, now numbering 16, were taken to
Eastwood’s forest hideout in the campervan, equipped
with food stolen from the Woodside General Store.
That night, the boys slept in the campervan, the
ladies and the girls outside, and the men remained
chained to a tree.
“We did not even know where we were,” Ray said.
Back at Wooreen, parents contacted police after
waiting for their children to arrive from the so-called
nature walk and the community joined the search.
“That says to me a lot about Australia Day because the
community rallied around to search for us,” Ray said.
Sergeant Brian Malone was notified of the miss-
ing truck drivers and stumbled across the crashed truck
and the van with the school children’s bags inside. He
then knew of the foul play at hand, but still the children
waited for help.
Touching speech: Australia Day Ambassador to Mirboo North, Jason Yeap OAM, philan-
thropist, with South Gippsland Shire Councillor Ray Argento, who was among the children
kidnapped from Wooreen Primary School in 1977.
Reaching for the skies
IT has been two years in the planning but
come March 17, Yarram Aero Club is set
to soar as it presents the Yarram Cente-
nary of Flight air show.
The reason behind the impetus to hold an air show
was that 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the first mili-
tary air mission during WW1 which just happened to
be based out of Yarram and was led by Captain Frank
McNamara, the only air wing Victorian Cross recipient
“We could not let this significant event in our local
history pass without a meaningful commemoration,”
Aero Club president Brian Lucas said.
“We needed something substantial to commemorate
this occasion, it is an amazing story which hardly any-
one knows about, it needs to be told and we intend to do
that in a big way.”
The club will transform one of its oldest hangers
into a museum that will tell the story of the part Yarram
played in keeping Australians safe from enemy raiders.
As well as the commemoration, the club has en-
gaged the services of internationally renowned air
show operator Paul Bennet who has been performing at
airshows since 2005 and has won numerous aerobatic
competitions during that time.
In 2008 Paul was crowned the Australian Advanced
In 2009 he was crowned the Australian Unlimited
Aerobatic Champion, receiving the Phillips Cup. In
2011 and 2012 Paul won unlimited awards in both the
Queensland and Victorian State Championships.
“Paul has been an enormous help to our club dur-
ing the planning stage of this event, it is the first time a
show like this has ever been held in Gippsland and we
hope it will be one people will talk about for a long time
to come,” Mr Lucas said.
The air show will be held at the Yarram Aerodrome,
Parkside Road Yarram. Gates will open at 9am with the
official opening and commemoration ceremony at 10am
followed by non- stop aerial action and activities on the
ground for all age’s right throughout the day.
Tickets to the air show are available online at www.
yarramcentenaryofflight.com.au and you can follow on
Commemoration: the FE2B in action in
Yarram with Captain Frank McNamara VC
at the controls Photo courtesy Australian War
It was not until one of the truck drivers, Robin
Smith, escaped that night, ran five kilometres to a farm
house and raised the alarm, that police knew where the
“We owe him (Robin) our lives because without
Robin’s help, who knows what would have occurred,”
Sgt Malone arrived at the farmhouse early in the
morning but unarmed as he had forgotten his gun. Rob-
in directed him to the site, but in the meantime, East-
wood realised Robin had escaped.
He bundled his hostages into the campervan and
drove past Sgt Malone, waving his gun at him. A chase
ensued and the campervan entered the South Gippsland
Highway and Eastwood turned for Sale.
Oncoming drivers flashed their vehicles’ lights to
warn him of the impending police roadblock, unaware
of who he was. Eastwood rounded the blockade, shoot-
ing at police and the officers returned fire.
At a second roadblock, a police officer risked his
life to shoot out the rear tyres of the campervan, bring-
ing it to a stop, as Eastwood fired at him.
Eastwood demanded pepper from the ladies with
the intention of throwing it in the eyes of the police and
jumped out of the van, only to be shot in the ankle by
police and be arrested.
Ray, in the front seat, learnt a bullet had been lodged
in the door next to him.
Sgt Malone flagged down a passing milk delivery
van and ordered the driver give the children bottles of
milk, saying they deserved it.
That driver was Bernie Brewer of Toora, who still tells
Ray he owes him for the bottle of milk, plus interest.
Eastwood had originally planned to kidnap the
students of Allambee South Primary School but had
become lost and stumbled across the Wooreen school
Eastwood was released after 16 years in jail and is
now a truck driver in Bendigo. Ray noted he was not
one of his Facebook friends.
Eastwood wrote a book about the ordeal but its sale
was banned in Victoria.
Spectacular: Paul Bennet will be in action
at the Yarram Airshow doing breathtaking
maneuvers in the skies above Yarram aero-
drome. Photo Motty Photography.
Kidnapping inspires community service
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