Growing up in the serenity of the Australian bush, young Samantha Murphy dreamed of becoming famous.
Tucked away in the small Victorian country town of Gordon, about 95 kilometers west of Melbourne’s CBD, Samantha grew up with her sister and beloved parents John and Pam Robson.
At the height of the gold rush, the city had up to eight hotels, banks and several stores.
Today, the publican of the only remaining pub serves beers to a group of die-hard locals.
Samantha, a child of the ’70s and ’80s, spent her time riding her bike through the lush forest, hanging out with friends, and horseback riding.
Like many girls who grew up in the countryside, Samantha (pictured with her husband Mick) dreamed of moving away and doing something with her life before time passed.
She would own many horses throughout her life, showing and jumping them over the years.
Like many girls who grew up in the country, she dreamed of moving away and doing something with her life before time passed.
Her uncle, Allan Robson, remembered Samantha as an enterprising young woman, motivated to make a name for herself.
“Samantha was always going to be someone famous,” he told Daily Mail Australia.
But he couldn’t have imagined the cruel way his childhood dreams would come true.
Wearing black mid-length leggings and a tan/brown T-shirt, the last image of her alive has appeared on the Internet and television screens for the past two weeks.
The image was captured on February 4 at 7am from his home just off Eureka Street in Ballarat East on what turned out to be a stinking hot day.
The mother-of-three had told her husband, Mick, that she was going out for a run and would be back at 9am, but she never returned.
Weeks later, his disappearance continues to baffle seasoned detectives.
Samantha Murphy was motivated, fit and determined to succeed in life.
Police on horseback take a look at Murphy’s property in Ballarat East
It is a mystery that has captivated Australia and devastated Samantha’s family, friends and community.
Samantha’s family told Daily Mail Australia this week they didn’t want people to forget who she was or what she meant to those who knew and loved her.
Speaking in the past tense is something Samantha’s family is reluctantly accepting.
Robson, who is 80 and still gets around on his tractor on a farm north of Ballarat, recalled Samantha pestering him to get her first horse when she was just a little girl.
“I was crazy about horses,” she said.
“She always wanted Uncle Allan to buy her a horse and she was after her dad all the time,” Samantha’s aunt Janice recalled.
“She always wanted one.”
It wasn’t long before his father relented and bought him a pony which he named Harmony.
Samantha’s father John, known to his peers as ‘Pud’, had been a hard-working truck driver who traveled the country alone to ensure his daughters had a good start in life.
His mother, Pam, came from Perth, where most of Murphy’s family on that side still resides.
Samantha’s disappearance has devastated her parents.
‘John went back to work. He said “there’s nothing he can do,” Mrs Robson said.
“And I think if we were put in that position, we would be like that ourselves.”
John Robson had spent most of his life behind the wheel of a truck and continues to work today at just under 80 years old.
‘I’m supposed to be slowing down. “He’s gotten used to long-distance local routes, to the top of New South Wales and that sort of thing,” his brother said.
On Thursday, Samantha’s sister asked Daily Mail Australia not to speak to her parents and declined to comment.
Samantha’s husband has taken a similar stance to the media storm that has caused his wife’s disappearance.
Mr Murphy, with the help of Samantha, runs one of the largest panel veneer shops in the region.
Samantha, who employs more than 20 people, had been described as the “backbone” of the operation, keeping the books and “keeping Mick in line”, according to her website.
Home among the gum trees: Samantha Murphy’s parents continue to live in Gordon (pictured)
Mick and Samantha Murphy’s body shop became a thriving business
In fact, those who knew Samantha claimed that she surely “wore the pants” in the marriage.
‘She was the boss. Mick is different. He is quiet. He remains in the background. He doesn’t say much,” Mr Robson said.
Samantha had met her husband while growing up in Gordon.
Murphy, also the son of a truck driver, was driven to succeed as much as his wife.
“Their business grew rapidly,” Mr Robson said.
It is the largest paneling shop in Ballarat you can imagine.
Mr. Murphy had learned his trade as a young man, working hard in the same business he now owns.
At the helm, Mr Murphy and his wife managed to turn Inland Motor Body Works into a huge success, moving to a large facility on the outskirts of Ballarat.
“It just got bigger and bigger. It’s just continued to grow,” Mr Robson said.
The couple has endured their ups and downs, having struggled to conceive their first two children, which came after grueling IVF procedures.
Through hard work, the couple moved into the sprawling multimillion-dollar property they now own.
Robson said that while Samantha had attended private schools as a child, her first job reflected a work ethic she maintained until the day she disappeared.
“He ended up shoveling dog shit for a living,” Robson said.
“It was the first job he had. Shoveling dog shit in the kennels.
Anyone with information about the disappearance of Samantha Murphy is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.