It took me nearly 25 years to visit Burrenjim Dam where my younger sister’s body was found after being brutally murdered, and now I have been there four times in six months.
I had always wanted to go there, but initially grief and horror kept me away and later, living a long way from the region, it seemed too remote and difficult to find. It seemed out of reach, as does the answer to who killed Melissa.
But Burrenjim Dam is no longer out of reach, and hopefully neither will be the truth about her murder.
In reality, Burrenjim Dam is quite hard to find. It is in the area of the old Stockrington Colliery, not far from Seahampton, but also not far from Stockrington and West Wallsend, which may have been the last places Melissa was seen, and line of investigation I would like to see developed further.
My first visit
I first visited Burrenjim Dam in October 2018. I was driving to Belmont to visit Melissa’s grave, when the idea gripped me that today was the day to find the dam.
I stopped on the highway and tried to find it on the maps on my phone. It wasn’t visible but a bushwalking website listed the location and I was able to make an educated guess.
I first drove straight past it on the Hunter Expressway before turning back along George Booth Drive, choosing a spot to stop and walk into the bush at what I thought might be the closest spot.
This video – shot on my old phone – shows my first minutes after stepping out on to the dam wall. It is unedited and pretty rough but I want to share it to show truly what our motive is in pursuing justice.
Three more visits
Having found Burrenjim on my own on this lonely rainy day, it set-up a desire to visit again with my wife and other family members on Anzac Day, 2019 – 25 years to the day from when Melissa’s was discovered there.
Making this 25 year anniversary pilgrimage and sharing it through a video my son made, has led to numerous other developments, including significant media coverage, reconnection with police and more.
After the Anzac Day visit, I’ve returned two times more with journalists and television crews who have decided to share the story of the unsolved murder of Melissa Hunt.
Each time I return is different, and my older sister Jenny has now accompanied me twice, which has been powerful. It seems this simple journey is having more impact than I could have imagined.
And each time I return, the water level of the dam has dropped, despite fairly regular rain in the area. Maybe it will just disappear now that it’s grizzly purpose of 25 years ago has finally been undone. Like grief draining away…
For more on the story of the unsolved murder of Melissa Hunt please watch … on … night (coming soon).