Man speaks of gruesome discovery

A DAIRYVILLE man who took his three children and the family dogs for a swim in a waterhole on the family property on Sunday afternoon made a gruesome discovery when he found half of a badly decomposed body near the swimming hole about 4pm.

“We smelt something and thought it was a dead ’roo but then saw it was the bottom half of a torso,” said the man who does not want to be further identified.

“My daughter did not understand what it was – it was quite badly decomposed – but I recognised it immediately so I took the kids home straight away and rang police.

“It was not in the water but up a bank and tangled up in branches and flood debris.”

He said while it was possible to tell that the body was that of an adult (police have said it is male) the upper half of the body from above the waist was missing.

He said Coffs Harbour police were quickly on the scene.

The man said his three-year-old twins did not see the body and his eight-year-old daughter saw it but did not understand what it was, until she heard radio reports yesterday, after which he and his wife had talked to her about it.

Like others, he is puzzled about how the body came to be in his creek.

“It’s a dead end valley – nobody has a reason to go there,” he said.

The remains were found on the bank of Wayper Creek (also called Cedar Creek) which runs through Cedar Valley into Urumbilum Creek just near where the body was found.

Peter Fraser, who lives near the junction, said the area had 300mm of rain last week and if the remainder of the body had been in the creek before the flood it was probably in the Pacific Ocean by now.

“The water went over the bridge (variously known as Bark Hut Bridge, Secomb’s Bridge or Frasers Bridge) and the junction with Wayper Creek scoured out last week,” he said.

The Urumbilum is a tributary of the Orara River which joins the larger river below the Upper Orara Recreation Reserve.

Wayper Creek descends into Cedar Valley down a steep course which includes a number of waterfalls, the last falling about six metres.

The floor of the small valley is occupied only by the Pacific headquarters of the Christian Assemblies International (CAI) community, which occupies a large gated rural compound.

A spokesman for CAI said none of their members or visitors was missing.

He said from time to time abseilers from Armidale arrived at Cedar Valley, having made their way down the precipitous Eastern Dorrigo escarpment, but it happened rarely, perhaps only once a year on average.

The arrival of a convoy of police and emergency services vehicles startled the quiet Dairyville community yesterday, with police cars forced to weave their way through cattle being mustered along the road, with one farmer thankful it was not a blitz on bike helmets.


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