ON 25 August 2020, Annemarie (73), my wife of 46 years, mother of our two children, friend, travelling companion and the love of my live, disappeared without a trace from the north Red Cliff camping ground in Yuraygir National Park.
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We were enjoying a short break with long-term friends.
Annemarie, a university qualified nurse and midwife, was born in South Africa and we met when I was a postgraduate student at university in Johannesburg.
Our children were born in Africa.
Renee and husband Ian now live in Brisbane with their two daughters Sadie and Scarlett. Stephen and wife Kate live near Guildford, England, with their two daughters Isabel and Emma. The separation from my family due to Covid19 has made this tragedy even harder to bear.
By all measures Annemarie and I had a wonderful, fulfilling and fortunate life together living in South Africa, Rhodesia, Canada and finally Coffs Harbour where we made great friends. Annemarie gave up her nursing career to devote her time to the children and run the family home.
Later she ran my office and worked as a bookkeeper.
We were a good team.
My life and that of our friends was so enriched by Annemarie’s African connection.
Annemarie introduced me to the wonders of African game parks in the 1970’s resulting in multiple visits whilst living in South Africa and Rhodesia.
We were lucky enough to share with Coffs Harbour friends two extraordinary 4-wheel drive bush camping trips in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.
We loved travel and managed many memorable trips to all corners of the world.
More recently we enjoyed 4-wheel drive camping trips in outback Australia including three trips across the centre of Australia with groups of friends.
The search for Annemarie was thorough and extensive but, to date, frustratingly unsuccessful. The entire police team were professional and compassionate.
A sincere thankyou to Police Search and Rescue, Detectives, SES, RFS, Surf Life Savers, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and a huge number of the general public who searched for many days.
Whilst the police are continuing their enquiries it is cruel to think that we may never know what happened.
To lose someone so special is hard and I will have to rely on the wonderful memories and the support of my children and families, my brother and his wife and our friends.
By David JEFFERY