Merv Romeo, a familiar voice from Episodes 01 and 13 of the podcast, offered intriguing insights into his childhood experiences near the foothills of Black Hill. Responding to recent discussions, Merv reminisced about the days when he and his friends would engage in spirited games of Cowboys and Indians within the cutting, exploring the expanse around and beneath the hill.
"I explored all over and under the hill. At that time all the caves and tunnels were still open…..then some fella kidnapped a girl and kept her prisoner in one of the tunnels….so the council gated and padlocked all the tunnels and filled in many of the mine shafts".
Merv was referring to an incident from 1998. Ballarat Policeman Peter Anderson made a heroic crawl along a 70-meter tunnel, leading to the successful rescue of a 16-year-old girl from the clutches of a serial sex offender. This harrowing incident not only left an indelible mark on the local community but also underscored the importance of safeguarding these spaces for the well-being of all residents.