From living a life of luxury to great poverty, the case of Margaret Clement, “The Lady of the Swamp,” is one of Australia’s greatest mysteries. Margaret’s father had been a director and a large shareholder in the Victorian gold mining company responsible for the Long Tunnel mine at Walhalla. He sent his daughters to expensive private schools and provided for them the very best that life had to offer. He purchased Tullaree, a mansion surrounded by paddock. He stocked it with sheep and cattle.
After he died, the left the abode to his daughters as well as a hefty sum of money. Two of Margaret’s sisters were married by now, so she and her older sister, Jeannie, travelled around Europe with their inheritance. They eventually settled in at Tullaree. However, as the money dried up, the mansion soon fell to disrepair. Weeds started to grow around the once-lavish house and swamps started to surround it when drainage channels silted up. Their once luxurious clothes were now replaced with tattered old clothes. They withdrew contact with the outside world and lived a life of seclusion in their swamp. When Jeannie died, Margaret became completely reclusive. All she had for company was her little dog, Dingo.
In May of 1952, it was discovered that 72-year-old Margaret had disappeared from her swamp. No body was ever uncovered. Rumours swirled around the town. Was she murdered? Police wanted to drain the swamp, assuming she had fallen in accidentally and drowned. Townsfolk disagreed, Margaret knew the swamps like the back of her hand. She often waded through them with no issues. Two weeks before her disappearance, three men drove into Buffalo asking for directions to the house where “the lady of the swamp” lived. Another theory was that she was killed by Stan and Esmie Livingstone who had purchased Tullaree but allowed Margaret to live the rest of her life there.
The fate of Margaret Clement still remains a mystery.