The Mysterious 1880 Disappearance Of Lamont Young

Most westerners are familiar with the craze that struck the coast of California between 1848 and 1859 when gold was discovered in the region (per Britannica). However, less may know that on the other side of the world, Australia was having its very own gold rush around the same time. In 1851, a man was prospecting and homesteading, traversing a small plot of land in New South Wales when he noticed what turned out to be fragments of gold in a watering hole. People flocked to the region in search of riches exhumed from the gullet of the earth shortly after the news spread, but traffic declined after less than a decade when the readily accessible areas of the terrain became barren of the precious metal (per Historic Mysteries). 

Australian officials eventually sent surveyors and search experts into uncharted provinces to find new prospects, one of whom was a young man named Lamont Young. Young was commissioned by the Mines Department to find more goldfields in Bermagui, and in October of 1880, he set out via boat as a team of five men to take on the task. However, the 29-year-old prospector and the other men never made it home. They vanished without a trace, and only their empty boat and a few ominous clues within it were found (via Historic Mysteries). 

Mystery Bay

On Sunday, October 10th, local farmer William Johnston was riding his horse along a beach in Bermagui when he noticed something strange amongst a cluster of rocks. Upon further inspection, he discovered an abandoned fishing boat with torn sails and sections splintered into bits. Officials flocked to the scene after Johnston reported his unusual findings to them. According to Graham's Blog, within the boat, nothing but a pocket compass, a few sacks of potatoes, a pipe, and a coat were found. There was also a substantial amount of vomit located in the stern. Of the five men aboard and their possible whereabouts, there was no indication whatsoever. 

Details of the scene became more confusing when the boat's damages were examined further. Per Historic Mysteries, the planks of the vessel had been shattered, but they were pushed outward rather than inward, suggesting that whatever caused the impact came from within the boat. Therefore, the possibility of collision upon the rocks was unlikely. A bullet was found lodged in the starboard side of the hull. A search party drew no tangible leads and the men remain unaccounted for to this day. 

However, an onlooker reported having seen the boat on the morning on October 10th (one day prior) with a single person on board, though the mysterious individual's identity was never ascertained. In 1980, a monument was constructed at the sight of the ominous shipwreck in honor of Lamont Young and his compatriots who never made it home. To this day the bay where the boat was found is called "Mystery Bay."