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Fight Against Maturity

20 million Australian dollar diamond mystery in WW2

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A king’s ransom of diamonds Missing In Action

More light has been shed on a story from the Kimberley that involves a plane crash, a beachcomber’s luck, and a cache of diamonds worth more than 20 million dollars.

In March 1942, a Japanese air raid on Broome killed hundreds of Dutch refugees who had escaped the invasion of Java.

A Douglas DC 3 Dakota was also shot down to the north of the pearling town.

The pilot, Captain Ivan Smirnoff had been entrusted by a Java based Dutch jeweller with a valuable package which he had to deliver to an Australian bank. Captain Smirnoff survived the attack and subsequent crash of his DC3 on an isolated beach near Beagle Bay. Other passengers weren’t so lucky, dying of their injuries or of thirst.

As for the valuable package, it was lost in the wreckage and it contained about six thousand diamonds, worth more than 20 million dollars in today’s money.

Enter a beachcomber, Jack Palmer. Jack found the wallet of diamonds and shared them out with friends – but not all that were reputed to be in the jeweller’s package.

Perth based journalist Juliet Wills became fascinated by this tale of lost treasure while researching the archives in the Battye Library [and] she’s written a book called The Diamond Dakota Mystery.

While some of the diamonds were recovered, Juliet wonders if there might be more than grains of sand sparkling along the region’s beaches!

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More, including a six minute RAM audio clip at this link.  ABC Kimberley WA

August 14, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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