the lost boy 4

Sydney March 2014 – March 2015 (4 photos)

In February 1960, in rugged farmland in northern New South Wales, a farmer and his 4 year old son, Steven, were out rounding up sheep on their property when a small number broke away from the main flock. The father told his son to get the dog and round up the strays. He told Steven to meet him by the farm gate with the big log when he had found them. However the property had two farm gates with big logs and Steven waited by the wrong gate and after waiting for a long time, Steven decided to go and look for his father.

Realising his son was missing, a search was commenced for him. After 3 days of intense searching, the boy who had been taught to not talk to strangers remained missing. By this time, up to about 5000 volunteer searchers, including light aircraft were involved in the search. On the fourth day, when hopes were low, a man named Bill Scrivener found Steven in the bush.

When he was found Steven kept saying ‘Where is my Daddy? Where is my Daddy?’

Bill said ‘Why do you want your Daddy, son?’ And Steven said ‘Because he is lost and I have been looking for him.’
News Report

the lost boy 2

This became one of Australia’s biggest and most famous search operations, and a movie and song was written about it:
Little boy lost.

the lost boy 1

One day, I stumbled across this forgotten memorial featuring a forlorn boy in a tunic. I’ve photographed it a few times. His right arm is broken off, and I think originally his arm was bent with his hand beneath his right eye, as if wiping away a tear. It’s a very sad looking memorial, even more so in its state of decay. I’m not sure why but looking at it makes me think he is a little boy lost…

the lost boy 3

“The blazin’ sun beat down upon the Earth that final day
And with heavy hearts they prayed to God above to show the way
When from a scrubby gully came a voice they’d ne’er forgot
Where’s my daddy?, Where’s my daddy?, cried the little boy lost
Where’s my daddy?, Where’s my daddy?, cried the little boy lost”

… “Little Boy Lost”, an Australian song, recorded by Johnny Ashcroft.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Little boy lost


82 thoughts on “Little boy lost

  1. The video works. Thanks for including it. Neglected cemetery monuments always seem to stir the imagination. The story, the photos, the song, and the video images all have a haunting nostalgia about them. Like something out of an ancient legend or a nightmare that we’ve all had at least once in our lives.

    • Thanks. I never know if a video will be one of those that can’t be seen in other parts of the world. But I think it helps with context.

      Sometimes, I think a neglected memorial is the fate that awaits us all. There’s a certain humbleness that comes with seeing one that is so evocative.

      • I, too, think that a neglected memorial awaits us all. Unless we choose to become ash and scattered back over the Earth, which will be my case. No visible signs left behind for others to ponder.

    • Thank you very much. It defies belief that a 4 year old could survive alone in the bush for so long. At least February is summertime here, which may have worked in his favour. I’m wondering were he found water, though.

    • Thank you. There’s so much more to explore at that cemetery, as you’s appreciate.
      I honestly thought it was a boy, given the style of clothing and the era of the gravesite. A little girl would have been in a longer dress, maybe.

  2. What a wonderful choice – both story and shots – for the challenge. Have never heard of this but absolutely loved it. Was so happy it turned out he was found and not buried under that statue!!!

    • Thank you, actually it didn’t occur to me that the statue may have been assumed to be that for the boy in the story, since it happened so far away and I knew the outcome. Now that I look at the post with fresh eyes, I can see that is how you saw it. A surprise happy ending is always a welcome relief.

  3. what an emotional post, Lignum… and what a story… I fully believe the little boy went looking for his father for four days…Children always know the right way, we grown-ups often get lost …
    your photographs are very beautiful… !!

  4. In the mind of a child the adults are lost. Children see things in a different light. They think pure thoughts. Evil does not exist for them. Then in an unmagical moment they cross over and evil exists and the childhood protection is gone.

  5. The decayed status tells much of the sobbing story. Excellent images, Dragon.Thank you for the video link, like the end of the story.
    I remember the photos of this cemetery you have posted.

  6. 😀 I have searched for the video on you tube and then I noticed that you had enclosed the same one here. I have always found your cemetery shots inspiring and particular, and this one too. I have expected the song to be less upbeat, but I would like to see this movie. Great response to WPC!

  7. What a sad and beautiful story! I’m happy that the boy was ok at the end. Steven would be almost 50 now. I hope he is doing well.
    You were right that the statue seems telling Steven’s story. I wonder what is the true story behind that statue.
    The story has a good ending. Why I feel there is a big rock on my chest..

    • Searching google, I discovered he is a farmer, and about to celebrate his 60th. I guess he was always meant to be a farmer.

      Sadly I don’t know the story of the statue. Perhaps we’re all destined to be like the statue – forgotten with the passage of time.

  8. It’s a miracle he was still alive. I wonder how that event shaped his growing and adult years. Did he have a stronger bond to his daddy? Was he more vigilant and fearful for his children or did, with his notariety just want to forget about it?

  9. Lucky that little guy was found! I did find it amusing he saw the situation the other way round – so typical of little children! Always love your cemetery pictures, those stone angels are wonderful to look at. A real sense of lost time in those monuments.

    I’m not one to visit cemeteries much, but since me parents died I discovered this awesome cemetery nearby. The old part fascinates me, I love the way the trees have been allowed to grow really tall and the wildlife has taken over. I’ve yet to capture some great images, but maybe one day. If you are ever in the direction of Norwich on your travels, let me know and I’ll give you directions, I’m sure you’d take some fantastic pictures there. It’s quite a different cemetery to this one, I think this one is a lot more attractive, but Rosary Cemetery has a great Victorian charm. I’ve actually been inside this mausoleum
    And I thought this one of the chapel was quite suitably spooky!! 😉

    • Thanks for the photos, Suzy. The overgrown nature adds a lot of character. I find quite calming and interesting walking through the old sections of cemeteries. There’s a lot of history amongst the neglect.

  10. Hola LD, aquí no tenemos los colores brillantes de la naturaleza. Sí los matices del blanco y el negro que invitan a pensar: qué es la vida, de dónde venimos y hacia dónde vamos inevitablemente. Gracias por invitarnos a pensar por medio de esas maravillosas fotos.

    • Hola Juan. Pero en Cuba tienes color en la vida basado en las fotos que he visto de tu país. Espero ver que cuando visite Cuba más tarde este año en un tour.

      Gracias por su visita como siempre.

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