Journalist Wayne Grant was first to learn about the kidnapping at Faraday State School. It was around 4:40pm on Friday, October 6, 1972, when his phone at Victoria's The Sun newspaper rang.
A man spoke. "I'll say this only once. I've kidnapped the pupils and the teacher from Faraday State School."
The caller detailed his ransom, said a note was in one of the front desks in the classroom, and then hung up.
"No more school today, kids."
There were only seven students in class at Faraday State School that day; the youngest aged 5, the eldest 11. Four others were off sick.
That was the sum of the tiny Calder Highway town's student body. The schoolhouse was a single granite building constructed in 1869; its staff, a sole teacher named Mary Gibbs.
Miss Gibbs was playing a game with the students that afternoon, shortly before the final bell, when two men burst through the door. Edwin Eastwood and Robert Boland. One was armed with a sawn-off rifle and disguised behind a balaclava, while the other wore dark glasses and a hat.
"There's no more school today, kids," one said, before herding the stunned children and their teacher into a red delivery van and tearing off into remote bushland near Lancefield.
By the time Wayne Grant received the call and raised the alarm, parents had already done the same. They'd arrived for pickup to find the classroom empty. Miss Gibbs' Holden Torana was parked out the front.
Eastwood and Boland's ransom note was written in clear, capital letters.
They demanded $1 million, in $20 and $10 notes, placed into nine suitcases.
"We are not going to waste anyones [sic] time by making idle threats," the note read, "so we will cut it short by saying that any attempt to trace us or apprehend us will result in the annihilation of every hostage."