Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Sylvina TARI

Inquest into the Suspected Death of Sylvina TARI

Delivered on :27 May 2020

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : On the morning of 13 August 1977 Ms Tari remained at the old camp on the opposite bank of the King Edward River from the main Kalumburu Mission Settlement. She was reported to have walked away with some dogs and despite searches of the area in the following days Ms Tari was not located.

Ms Tari left her camp taking with her walking stick and three dogs. It was believed that Ms Tari was unwell at the time and went out to the bush to die. Three men from the camp went to look for Ms Tari, but could not track too far before night fall approached. The next day people from the Mission went out and attempted to track Ms Tari. They searched all day but lost her tracks in “grass country” and this was described as being about 3 miles from Ms Tari’s camp. Ms Tari’s three dogs returned to camp at different times. Once the dogs had returned to the camp it was thought that Ms Tari was no longer alive.

On 17 August 1977 Wyndham police were advised that Ms Tari was missing but there appears to be no record of any official search by police having been made.

The Court heard evidence from the New Norcia Benedictine Community that a father who had visited Kalumburu in late 1981 had met Ms Tari and after he returned to Kalumburu following a period of absence in February 1982 he was informed Ms Tari had died. There is no official record of her death and in 2019 she was still officially recorded as a missing person, the Coroner found some of the information provided by Father Anscar about Ms Tari, supported Ms Tari’s disappearance for a period of time and her return at some stage to the old camp which was not reported.

The Coroner was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt Ms Tari is deceased and her death occurred sometime in late 1981 to early 1982 in Kalumburu. The Coroner was unable to determine how the Ms Tari died and made an Open Finding as to the manner of death.

Catch Words : Long Term Missing Person : Open Finding

Last updated: 18-Jun-2020

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