How two boys, 16 and 17, disappeared from an Outback cattle station in 1986

Two teenage boys leave the safety of their homes for the remote Kimberley region in Australia's far north-west to work as jackaroos in their first big adventure.

Before the end of the year they will disappear together in the desert - their bodies discovered months later and hundreds of kilometres away in one of the most inhospitable places on earth. 

One boy had scratched out a last loving note to his family; the other had two bullet holes in his head. 

More than 30 years later it is still unclear exactly what happened to James Annetts and Simon Amos that drove them out into the Great Sandy Desert to their deaths. 

James, 16 , and Simon, 17, separately answered advertisements in 1986 to work as jackaroos at Flora Valley station, about 120km east of Halls Creek in Western Australia.

Halls Creek - population about 1,500 - is 150km north of Wolfe Creek Crater, the dramatic feature created by a meteor strike which featured in the 2005 Outback horror movie Wolf Creek. 

The poor state of the roads in that part of the country means a 150km journey can take seven hours to drive. 

James Annetts was just 16 when he answered a newspaper advertisement for jackaroos on a cattle station in Australia's far north-west. Within months he and fellow jackaroo Simon Amos, 17, were dead. James is pictured in November 1986, just before he and Simon disappeared

James Annetts was just 16 when he answered a newspaper advertisement for jackaroos on a cattle station in Australia's far north-west. Within months he and fellow jackaroo Simon Amos, 17, were dead. James is pictured in November 1986, just before he and Simon disappeared

Roads in the Kimberley region of far north Western Australia (pictured) are so poor it can take seven hours to drive 150km. James Annetts, 16, and Simon Amos, 17, were left alone on cattle stations about 180km apart and had to drive up to 14 hours a day checking water bores

Roads in the Kimberley region of far north Western Australia (pictured) are so poor it can take seven hours to drive 150km. James Annetts, 16, and Simon Amos, 17, were left alone on cattle stations about 180km apart and had to drive up to 14 hours a day checking water bores

James Annetts wrote a dying note to his family on a plastic water bottle which was found near his remains. The scratched message on the lid of the bottle read: 'James, My Follt. I allways love you Mum and Dad, Jason, Michelle, Joanne.' On the handle was written: 'I found peece'

James Annetts wrote a dying note to his family on a plastic water bottle which was found near his remains. The scratched message on the lid of the bottle read: 'James, My Follt. I allways love you Mum and Dad, Jason, Michelle, Joanne.' On the handle was written: 'I found peece'

The advertisements placed on behalf of Australian Stations Pty Ltd had called for 16 to 18-year-olds to work in their cattle operation and stated no experience was necessary.

James was from Griffith in the New South Wales Riverina region and arrived at Flora Valley in July. Simon, from Adelaide, reached the station the next month.

The boys could have had no idea when they left their respective home towns the appalling conditions they would face in the Kimberley. 

When the boys arrived in north western Australia the cattle industry was in decline and station management had been cutting costs. 

Flora Valley was run by manager Giles Loder and also occupied by his pregnant wife, a governess, a cook and a dozen stockmen.  

After seven weeks at Flora Valley, the boys were each sent to work as sole caretakers on two other remote properties about 180km apart. 

James went north-east to Nicholson station and Simon south to Sturt Creek. 

Working alone, the boys were paid little money for their toil which included daily bore runs to check that windmills and other equipment were functioning.

'Bore running' meant round trips of 12 to 14 hours a day over ungraded tracks in vehicles with no air conditioning.

Vast expanses of uninhabited land in the Kimberley region of Western Australia contributed to the bodies of jackaroos James Annetts and Simon Amos not being discovered for four months 

'A sad loss not forgotten by the people of the Kimberleys': The deaths of James Annetts and Simon Amos remain a mystery, more than 30 years after they disappeared in the desert

'A sad loss not forgotten by the people of the Kimberleys': The deaths of James Annetts and Simon Amos remain a mystery, more than 30 years after they disappeared in the desert 

Their accommodation was equally primitive. Sewage sometimes flowed into the showers when the toilets were flushed and touching light switches could cause electric shocks. 

James and Simon each had a radio to keep in contact with Mr Loder but there was little other outside support. 

On Wednesdays when the boys would drive to Flora Valley to pick up their mail and supplies they could socialise briefly with other staff on the main station.

But on the afternoon of Monday, December 1, both boys missed their twice-daily radio calls to Flora Valley. 

When Mr Loder visited Nicholson two days later, James and Simon still had not called and the Datsun utility kept there for James's use was gone.

There was no sign of Simon at Sturt Creek and the next day it was reported the two boys were missing. 

It appears James

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