Body at Ivanhoe Golf Course

On Tuesday, September 29, 1970 at 5.30pm, a man’s body was found in scrub near the edge of the Ivanhoe Public Golf Course. He was about 42 years old (but ‘looked older’), 170cm tall, and of ‘neglected’ appearance. He had greying and curly auburn-coloured hair and a moustache. What 3 Words approximate geolocation: trend.alive.hung

North Port light rail stop, present day

North Port light rail stop, present day

He was wearing two green T-shirts, a green zippered jacket, shorts and thongs. In his pockets was a bottle containing angina tablets, and a day old one-way railway ticket from the now closed North Port railway station in Port Melbourne. His identity remains unknown.

Details of scene
The body was found in the late afternoon by an Alphington man lying face down on a track through the scrubby, timbered area nine metres from the third tee green (as it was in 1970. The layout of the fairways presently may be different). He appeared to have collapsed whilst facing or walking into the scrubby area away from the golf course. The weather had been cool and no rain had fallen for five days. He was dressed very lightly for the season and the below average temperature. Daylight saving time was not observed that year; sunset was about 6.20pm. A search of the immediate area revealed no pertinent items. There appears to be no mention of the case in the Melbourne newspapers on microfilm at the SLV. The Google News Archive also has no mention of the find.

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Ghost platforms at Flinders Street station

Medication:
A bottle containing 75 tablets recorded as having the name ‘Angine’ or similar was found in the deceased’s hip pocket. This may be a reference to a common over-the-counter heart medication Anginine which has been available without a prescription.

Coronial investigation
A post mortem examination and pathology report revealed no suspicious circumstances or ‘forms of violence incurred to his body,’ or injuries other than minor scratches on his face, but noted his lungs were ‘congested’ and his heart diseased. The Coroner ruled the cause of death was ‘myocardial degeneration.’ No photograph of the unknown man was taken, nor inquest launched. The case was assigned ‘Body card’ series number 1970/3572 by the Public Records Office of Victoria.

Case reopened
In 2012, reports were published in The Age of January 5 and The Herald Sun of January 6.

Deduction

  • If his estimated age was 42, then he was born around 1928;
  • In the absence of an estimated time of death, we must assume he died sometime after the Monday train journey, but before 5.30pm Tuesday;
  • We can assume he would avoid or minimise all activities leading to chest pains, and taking medication with unpleasant side effects (such as severe headache);
  • His history of chest pains, inadequate footwear, and the absence of money and keys on his person all suggest he intended to venture only a short distance as his condition precluded physical exertion unless absolutely necessary;
  • A nearly full bottle of non-prescription angina tablets suggests he had recently visited a pharmacy, clinic or hospital, perhaps where medication was dispensed without fee;
  • That such vital medication remained in his pocket indicates the onset of symptoms and death without warning;
  • That he was not reported missing suggests he was solitary and/or perhaps itinerant or an interstate or international traveller;
  • He was young to suffer angina; if congenital, one or both parents perhaps had already succumbed to same;
  • His neglected appearance may indicate temporary homelessness, and perhaps an encampment nearby; longer term vagrants tend to fuller beards and heavier clothing;
  • If he was sleeping rough near the golf course, he may have kept personal items hidden in a cache nearby, and; for a man of poor health, his visit to someone or some place near Port Melbourne on the Monday indicates its importance;
  • His green T-shirts and green zippered jacket may suggest he had been in military service or had undertaken National Service before ill health supervened. The Repatriation Hospital is within 3 km of where he was found;
  • Light clothing may indicate he travelled recently from a place with a warmer climate; the Port Melbourne train ticket may indicate a maritime or naval connection;
  • There is a strong Scouts and Sea Scouts link with the area;
  • Vagrants resided in a now-demolished grandstand at the time in nearby Ivanhoe Park, according to anecdotal evidence from a long term resident;
  • There is a cul-de-sac path branching off the main river track into a small promontory south of the golf course; this may have afforded sufficient seclusion for an encampment;

    Cul-de-sac path leading onto a promontory into the Yarra River near the Ivanhoe Public Golf course

    Cul-de-sac path leading onto a promontory into the Yarra River near the Ivanhoe Public Golf course

  • The journey by rail between North Port railway station and Ivanhoe is approximately 13 km, changing trains at Flinders Street station;
  • Ivanhoe railway station is approximately 1.5 km from the golf course by foot;
  • If he died on Monday, his body lay there overnight; if he died on Tuesday, where did he stay on Monday night?
  • Does the one-way ticket suggest he intended not to return home the same day?
  • He may have resided near Port Melbourne and traveled by train to Ivanhoe, or vice-versa.
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