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Merimbula Scouts robbed while camping at Aragunnu – everything gone

By Ian Campbell 4 March 2019
Jo Thorpe and Don Peterson - still smilling! Photo: Ian Campbell.

Jo Thorpe and Don Peterson – still smiling! Photo: Ian Campbell.

A dint in the charm and reputation of the Sapphire Coast, with thousands of dollars in camping gear stolen from local scouts at Aragunnu between Tathra and Bermagui on Sunday morning.

Three Venturers from Merimbula Scouts and their two leaders lost everything they had with them, all stolen as they look one last look around this magical place.

“I’ve hiked all over the world and this has never happened,” says Venturer leader Jo Thorpe.

“There was a reasonable amount of people camping at Aragunna and as we went around asking people if they had seen anything, or noticed any cars driving in and out, the comment we had from three or four people was – I’ve camped here for 30 years and this has never happened.”

Jo and her husband Don Peterson set out with three fourteen-year-olds from Goalen Head on Saturday morning, headed for the idyllic campground within Mimosa Rocks National Park under their own steam.

“We’d walked the eight kilometres to Hidden Valley, the most amazing part of the coast, over Bunga Head, which I’d never been to before, we were all so excited, we were navigating with compasses, finding our way and we got to Aragunnu and had a great camp overnight,” Jo says.

It was the first big overnight hike for all three kids, for one of the boys it was the first use of his treasured hiking backpack. All three had just returned from the Australian Scout Jamboree and had graduated to the next level of the famous outdoor skills organisation.

Mimosa Rocks Walking Track, Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek, NPWS.

Mimosa Rocks Walking Track, Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek, NPWS.

Having packed up from their night and getting ready to hike back the party of five decided to take a look at the ancient Aboriginal middens in the area and track down the wreck of the old steamer, SS Mimosa – which hit rocks in the area in 1863.

“It was all only 500 metres from our camp, so we didn’t take our packs, we put them down behind a really big log, and in the 10 – 15 minutes we were away our packs disappeared,” Jo says with a tremble of emotion in her voice.

“Thousands of dollars worth of camping gear was stolen in the blink of an eye plus two tents that had been donated to Merimbula Scouts by Bendigo Bank.”

Jo and Don also lost their phones, GPS, car keys, and wallets.

“I have to say a huge big thanks to Catherine Green of Jindabyne, she was camping next to us, and the Merimbula Public teacher from Mogareeka who was surfing at Aragunnu, they gave us a lift back home,” Jo says.

“Anybody out there who sees people with camping gear they wouldn’t normally have it probably belongs to us, the boys and Merimbula Scouts.

“We’re still counting the cost but at the moment we’re looking at a replacement value of about $5,500 for packs, tents, sleeping bags and mats, stoves, wet weather gear, clothes, GPS etcetera.

“People trust each other down here, everyone we’ve spoken to is really rattled.”

A report has been filed with police, anyone with information is asked to contact their local station.

“This is not the story the kids thought they’d be taking to school on Monday,” Jo says.

If you’re in a position to help, please donate to:

Account: Merimbula Cub Scout Group

Bank: Bendigo Bank, Pambula
BSB: 633-000
Account: 157-609-280 

Reference: Stolen gear and your name

Mimosa Rocks at Aragunna, in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek, NPWS.

Mimosa Rocks at Aragunna, in Mimosa Rocks National Park. Photo: John Yurasek, NPWS.

What's Your Opinion?

19 Responses to Merimbula Scouts robbed while camping at Aragunnu – everything gone

Jeanette Atkins Jeanette Atkins 6:42 pm 05 Mar 19

That’s disgusting.... karma will get you scum bags 😡

Valerie Little Valerie Little 1:43 pm 04 Mar 19

Can't believe someone would stoop,so low. Someone will find out something. Ears to the ground everyone.!

Angelika Pfeiffer Angelika Pfeiffer 12:30 pm 04 Mar 19

Check out local markets, near n a bit further, Cobargo, I was told they're a great place for selling stolen stuff.

Bronwyn Wright Bronwyn Wright 10:37 am 04 Mar 19

So Hope the thrives will be caught! Shocking!

Coral Mackenzie Coral Mackenzie 10:08 am 04 Mar 19

What routers! How can people do such things to others! I hope someone comes forward with some information to assist in the recovery of this equipment.

Richard Barcham Richard Barcham 9:38 am 04 Mar 19

A couple of young blokes were spotted checking for open car doors in Bega a couple of evenings ago. It was reported on Bega Buy Sell Swap. Be vigilant.

Wendy Wait Wendy Wait 9:36 am 04 Mar 19

Awww Jo and Don that is horrible. What’s wrong with people! Really sorry to hear. I lost my gear and a few children’s packs also in the Cathedrals many years ago!!! Scumbags... hope they get returned.

We can loan some packs? Stove and fuel bottles?

Cath McWhae Cath McWhae 9:30 am 04 Mar 19

Unbelievable. Please list items needed to replace the missing ones

Leonie Johnston Leonie Johnston 8:44 am 04 Mar 19

Scum bags bad Kramer will get them

Marnie Meacham Marnie Meacham 8:44 am 04 Mar 19

Louses for sure.

Christopher Nicholls Christopher Nicholls 8:43 am 04 Mar 19

Happy to contribute in donations if this doesn't get recovered....

    About Regional About Regional 9:14 am 04 Mar 19

    Thanks Chris - donation details in the story.

Ruth Ayling Ruth Ayling 8:43 am 04 Mar 19

Thank you for reporting this so quickly Ian, hopefully these will be returned soon before Jo tracks them down.

Maree Hinchcliffe Maree Hinchcliffe 8:34 am 04 Mar 19

Im so sad that scum spoil the joy of camping n make people wonder if its worth the risk.

Ann Schroeder Ann Schroeder 8:25 am 04 Mar 19

That is really low.

Hope they get there gear back.

Alison Oakley Alison Oakley 8:05 am 04 Mar 19

Is there a photo of tents or whatever was stolen? Possibly will be selling online so people could keep an eye out for sales of certain items.

Jennifer Buckett Jennifer Buckett 7:51 am 04 Mar 19

Can you believe this so sick sort for your loss.

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