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Coroner unable to determine cause of death in early 80s


Coronial findings have been released into an elderly Hobart man who never returned from a bushwalk at Knocklofty Reserve in the 1980s.

Nearly 40 years have passed since World War II veteran and former tin prospector Byron Balfour Woolley, known to most as "Bert", set out for a hike from the West Hobart home he shared with his cousin.

It was a favourite activity for the 71-year-old who suffered from depression and previously ran a newsagency on the West Coast.

Coroner Simon Cooper says Bert had only packed some basic supplies, which indicated he wasn't planning to be gone for long.

Mr Cooper's found there's not enough evidence to determine how and why Mr Woolley died.

"Searches for Mr Woolley in the local area, and further afield, proved fruitless. No trace of him since 11 October 1982 has ever been found. I am satisfied he is dead. Beyond that, I am unable to make any further findings. It is, I think, reasonable to conclude he went walking, probably nearby.  How and why he died are not questions that can, on the evidence, be answered," the report states.

"I convey my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr Woolley," it concludes.