Writers at Stanton - Rebecca Hazel

21-Feb-2019 • 1pm


The School Girl Her Teach and His Wife - Rebecca Hazel



'I could have chosen to turn away from this dark story. It wasn't mine, after all. What exactly was I doing? But whatever had happened to Lynette Dawson all those years ago, her daughters, her family and her friends hadn't been able to turn away from it, and neither could Jo. So I decided not to either.? In 2007, while working at a local women's refuge, lawyer Rebecca Hazel struck up a friendship with one of her colleagues whose name was Joanne Curtis. One day, while chatting over coffee, Jo told Rebecca about her past- about a missing woman, a husband who got away with everything, and a vulnerable schoolgirl at the centre of it all. Lynette Dawson disappeared from Sydney's Northern Beaches on 9 January 1982 and has not been heard from since. For eighteen months before she vanished, her husband Chris had been in a sexual relationship with his seventeen-year-old student, Jo Curtis. Just days after Lynette went missing, Jo moved into the Dawson family home to live with Chris and his two young children. Later, they got married. Then, after almost ten years, Jo left him, taking only the little girl they had together. It was some years before Rebecca decided she would write about what happened to Jo, and to Lynette. She spent many days with Jo, picking over what she knew and what prompted her to finally leave Chris Dawson and go to the police. No charges have ever been laid over Lynette's disappearance, despite the recommendations of two coronial inquests, and Chris Dawson has always strenuously maintained his innocence. The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and His Wife is a meticulous and compelling account of one of Sydney's most puzzling cold cases, brilliantly reconstructed from court transcripts and interviews with key players, including Lynette's friends and family, policeman Damian Loone, who has been investigating her disappearance for nearly twenty years, and crucially, Joanne Curtis herself.