Lithgow residents' wounds and puzzles re-opened

MISSING PERSON: Nine year old Robert Mulhollan,-Green went missing from Portland in the 1960s. Photo: AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, MISSING PERSONS website/Apple Maps
MISSING PERSON: Nine year old Robert Mulhollan,-Green went missing from Portland in the 1960s. Photo: AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, MISSING PERSONS website/Apple Maps

EVERY year when Missing Persons Week focuses on the never ending search for answers, there are old wounds and old puzzles re-opened in many communities.

In Lithgow, older residents in particular pause to again wonder just what happened in two of our most memorable missing persons cases, the disappearance without trace of Portland schoolboy Robert Mulhollan and industrial chemist Ervin Toeroek.

Nine year old Robert Mulhollan, also known as Robert Mulhollan-Green, signed the roll after Portland Central School sports day at the town's swimming pool on the afternoon of November 17 in 1967.

For all intents and purposes he then simply disappeared, leaving Portland with its most enduring mystery.

The only clue was the discovery of his schoolbag in the front yard of the family home, not far from the pool.

Over the following days and weeks police, military, sniffer dogs and civilians conducted a massive search and members of the public phoned in discoveries of suspected 'bush graves' as far away as Lithgow's Scenic Hill, all of which led nowhere.

Just a few years ago, police received a tip off from a local resident that led them to carry out a major excavation in the back yard of the former family home.

Again nothing.

THEN there was the baffling case, also in the 60s, of Ervin Toeroek who vanished, never to be seen again.

Ervin was an industrial chemist employed at the then busy Glen Davis shale oil refinery and was building a home in Glen Davis in preparation for an intended marriage.

Ervin travelled to Sydney to attend a soccer match involving the visiting Hungarian Rapide side and returned that night to the hostel.

Next morning he was gone, leaving behind his vehicle and belongings and the half complete home at Glen Davis.

Ervin seemingly had no known personal issues that would cause him to willingly disappear.

Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.