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Little Boy Lost

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There’s another story from around this area that I remember as a school kid in New Zealand.

It’s centred around the town of Llangothlin about 48 km along the New England highway from Armidale.

At 9:00am on Friday, 5 February 1960 a 7-year-old boy, Steven Walls, became lost in the New England Ranges in country that was described as “Man killing country”.

Four days later at 2:00pm on Monday, 8 February and against all odds, Steven was found.

Little Boy Lost

Steven Wall recovering in hospital with his parents after the ordeal

Steven and his father were out rounding up sheep on their property at Llangothlin and a small number broke away from the main flock. Jacko, Steven’s father said matey (which was Steven’s nickname) get Bing the dog and round up the strays. Jacko told Steven to meet him by the farm gate with the big log when he had found them. There were 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.  Four days later he was still looking for his Dad.

He was found sitting miserably on a log on a densely timbered mountain slope, seven miles from where he was first lost. Apart from exhaustion, he was little the worse for his ordeal in the bush. More than 2000 searchers turned out for what developed into Australia’s biggest ever hunt.

When he was found he was saying ‘Where’s my Daddy? Where’s my Daddy? Bill Scrivener who found him reportedly asked, ‘Why do you want your Daddy son?” Steven replied ‘Because he’s lost and I’ve been looking for him.”
The search by thousands of locals, including Aboriginal trackers and expert horsemen and bushmen from as far away as Warialda, inspired Johnny Ashcroft to write the hit song “Little Boy Lost” that was number 1 on the hit parade for 6 weeks both in Australia and New Zealand in 1960.

The incident was also immortalised in a movie that was made in 1978.

This is the song which backs a clip from the movie.

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