‘I finally got around to developing that old roll of 35mm film we found at the back of Dad’s desk.’ Maurice said as he took the express delivered package into the kitchen. His sister May was kneading the sourdough, her hands covered in flour, Maurice laughed at her when she looked up at him. May, how do you manage to get flour everywhere when you bake? he said. ‘You watch yourself ' she said with a laugh, ‘otherwise Mr Smarty Pants you can make the bread next time.’
May had called Maurice ‘smarty pants’ ever since their Mother had called him that when he excelled in his first year of school and never stopped being in the top 3 in his class thereafter. His academic achievements culminated in graduating with cum laude honors with a science degree in genetic engineering and biotechnology.
The two siblings only a year apart, were inseparable growing up, when they were teenagers Maurice told May that he thought he was gay but asked her to keep that as a secret and he would ‘come out’ when he was ready.
It was soon after he graduated that he told his parents that he was gay. His parents were disappointed that he hadn’t told them earlier as they had always been very supportive and proud of his achievements. They understood his need to keep it secret particularly with the stigma around the subject in the era of the 70’s and he not wishing it to have an affect on his academic ambitions.
At University he met Trevor, the two of them formed a bond and a determination to fight the prejudice around the subject of being gay. They both ‘come out’ at the same time and over the years both of them individually developed a high profile. Maurice was a recognised academic and professor at the university and Trevor a successful graphic designer with his own successful advertising agency with May as his business partner.
Using their influence in the community they became strong advocates for supporting people with HIV AIDS as well as achieving a number of milestones in creating a wider society acceptance of the LBGQT community and were relentless in supporting the cause for same sex marriages.
The legalsing of gay marriage by the New South Wales goverment in 2017 was the biggest milestone for both of them allowing them to legally marry after a forty year relationship. At the time of their marriage Trevor was battling cancer and had bravely fought all the way to ensure that the day of their marriage was a happy occasion. They celebrated at a wine farm in the Hunter Valley with forty of their close friends, 'their family’ they called them. It was not many months later that Trevor finally gave up the fight and passed away in Maurice’s arms. His death came as a hammerblow to Maurice, but he promised Trevor that their legacy would continue with the various foundations that they had established together.
May, alone after a messy divorce, insisted that Maurice move in with her, the arrangement worked well for both of them.
‘Come on let's have a look at the photos’ May said as she placed two mugs of cappuccino on the dining table.’ She opened up the envelope and extracted a bundle of A4 size photographs. ‘These look good, great quality. Oh look these were taken at the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras.’ ‘Looks like the 1983 parade’ Maurice mused as he flipped through some of the photos. ‘It is the 1983 parade! Look there you and Trevor are on the float; she said pointing at the image of two bare breasted men in shorts with cowboy leggings and holsters on their hips, cowboy hats perched at an angle on their heads. ‘A bit risque at the time’ Maurice chuckled. ‘I didn’t know that Dad had taken these, it was so supportive of him to come to the parade.’ May said with a sigh. Maurice continued looking through the glossy prints spread on the table. ‘How about this’ he said ‘pics of us in the Blue Mountains with Mom and Dad, that was a few weeks later, in fact the last time we holidayed together as a family. Remember he treated us to a luxury weekend at the Carrington to celebrate his 60th, he insisted that he wanted a quiet private family get together and shunned the idea of a ‘big do!’ It was a great weekend, if I remember the weather was a little bit ‘iffy’ but we still managed to get in a good couple of hikes.’ ‘Yes and look at us at the 3 Sisters at Echo Point us all posing. There you are with dear Mum you look like sisters. I am so glad we have these pics as I remember being cross with myself forgetting my camera at home.’
In Aboriginal dream-time legend has it that three sisters, 'Meehni', 'Wimlah' and 'Gunnedoo' lived in the Jamison Valley as members of the Katoomba tribe.These beautiful young ladies had fallen in love with three brothers from the Nepean tribe, yet tribal law forbade them to marry.The brothers were not happy to accept this law and so decided to use force to capture the three sisters causing a major tribal battle.As the lives of the three sisters were seriously in danger, a witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe took it upon himself to turn the three sisters into stone to protect them from any harm. While he had intended to reverse the spell when the battle was over, the witchdoctor himself was killed. As only he could reverse the spell to return the ladies to their former beauty, the sisters remain in their magnificent rock formation as a reminder of this battle for generations to come.
‘Oh here we are standing next to the old Holden wagon, how many memories we have of Dad’s Holden and all the trips to Bondi and up and down the coast with the surfboards on top.’ ‘Let me have a look at that one’ May said taking the photo from Maurice. She laid two other photos beside it pointing at the one with the Holden. ``Look behind us,’ she said. ‘This man, next to his motorbike,’ she tapped the image of the man. Here he is again on the track to the view site and look in front of him a young man with a yellow jumper. Oh no!' May gasped. ‘Look the motorbike guy looks as if he is confronting the man in the yellow jersey. You can just see them at the large tree down the track.’ ‘Probably just friends meeting up’ Maurice said dismissively ‘No Maurice, this looks a little weird to me let me have a look at the rest of the photos.’ May laid out more photos of the location pictures. 'Okay look, there's the man in the yellow jumper you can just see him at the back of the car park quite a way from the bike guy. Then there is the yellow jumper guy walking along the path on his own. You can’t see the bike guy yet. Then in this pic the bike guy is closer, and here they are together. If you look at the last photo of us all posing with the Three Sisters in the background there is no sign of the yellow jersey but the bike guy has now turned around and is walking back to the car-park.’
‘It was Dad’s birthday weekend. I am going to google the date for the news of the day’ May said as she scrolled her phone to the Sydney Morning Herald archive website. ‘No nothing on that date, let me have a look at the next few days after that. Oh hell! Let me read this to you. ‘Suspected gay hate crime in the Blue Mountains. Following the spate of Gay hate crimes in Sydney the police are concerned that the discovery of a young man found dead at the bottom of the 3 sisters view site in Katoomba may have been as a result of a gay hate crime. Anyone with information which may assist the police in the death of this young man….etcetera etcetera …’ May looked at Maurice, they had both paled and sat in silence for a while looking down at the photos.
Four weeks later.
‘Is that May?’
‘Chief Superintendent here, I thought I would let you know that we have taken a man into custody. He has been on our watch list for many years but now, thanks to the evidence you handed to us this ‘cold case’ of the Blue Mountains incident may finally be solved. We will keep you informed.’