While attending an Australia Rules football match at the busy venue on August 25, 1973, Ratcliffe and Gordon were permitted by their carers - Gordon's grandmother and Ratcliffe's mother and father - to go to the toilet together.
The two children had done this trip before at the family-friendly event. But the girls never returned, with frantic efforts to locate them in the crowd coming to nothing.
Later, multiple reports came in revealing the two girls had been sighted looking 'distressed' and in the company of an unknown man.
The disappearance of the two young girls has remained one of Australia's most mysterious and disturbing cold cases.
Their presumed murders are sometimes thought to be related to the Beaumont children disappearance in 1966. The police sketch of the man seen with the two girls resembles that of the man witnessed with the Beaumont children.
Like with the Beaumont's case before them, all investigations have come to nothing - with no trace of the two girls or their abductor ever found. But Joanne’s sister Suzanne has never given up on finding her lost sibling, and getting some degree of closure for the families of the girls. She is speaking up in a bid to keep the crime in the public eye – hoping that finally the pieces will fall together, and there may be some movement in the case.
Suzanne tells the compelling new podcast New Idea Investigates: Little Girls Lost of the last witness accounts of her sister, 'It's heartbreaking to know that she [Joanne] was obviously upset. It breaks my heart to know that somebody could be so sinister to take two innocent girls.'
The investigative podcast aims to shed fresh light on the 44-year cold case and explore what really happened.
In each installment, listeners will hear from family, as well as leading detectives and experts, to uncover the facts that have never been reported.
Listen to the series trailer below:
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Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Joanne Ratcliffe and Kirste Gordon is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.