The mysterious tale of the three lost children remains one of Daylesford’s most important stories 150 years after the tragedy occurred.
On the morning of June 30 1867 seven-year-old William Graham and his brother four-year-old Thomas wandered into the bush with their five-year-old friend Alfred Burman, never to be seen again.
For days afterwards more than 100 people from the town scoured the bush but to no avail, with the search eventually being called off. Some weeks later a secondary search would find the remains of the two youngest boys huddled in the cavity of a large tree, with the older boy’s body protecting them.
The tense days and tragic ending have since been turned into a play, which will premiere at the Daylesford Town Hall later this month.
Of the 16 cast members, half are locals from the Daylesford area who were eager to take part in the production.
Director Megan Riedl, who is from Ballarat, said the Daylesford community had welcomed the production with open arms given the significance of the 150-year anniversary.
It’s fitting there's something momentous to mark what is a pretty special anniversary.Megan Riedl - director
“There’s a feeling that thank goodness something’s being done (to mark the event), it’s become a bit of a focal point,” Ms Riedl said. “It’s fitting there's something momentous to mark what is a pretty special anniversary.”
The original stage production, which is titled ‘Hollow’, will be performed across three days from Friday June 30 to Sunday June 2.
Additionally, 175 Daylesford primary and secondary school students will be given exclusive viewing of the production on the Friday morning prior to the public premiere.
Ms Riedl said she had been impressed by the level of knowledge about the tragedy within the local community, which she had experienced first-hand through the the Daylesford children who are taking part in the production.
All of the children taking part in the production are Daylesford locals and despite the tragedy occurring some 140 years before most were born, the tale is a familiar one.
“All of the kids have learned about it in school and many of them have visited the museum so they’ve got a pretty good understanding of the story,” Ms Riedl said.
“In terms of the characters and the timeline (of the production) it’s very much based on real fact.”