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  • 24 years of age at time of disappearance.
  • Fair complexion.
  • 180cm (5 feet 10 inches) tall.
  • Medium build.
  • Blue eyes.
  • Blonde hair.
  • Speaks with an accent described as English.



  • Reserved accommodation at a backpackers in Perth on Thursday 11 December 1997 for a week.
  • Changed plans the following day, cancelling his reservations to travel around Australia.
  • Contacted his girlfriend from Carnarvon on Wednesday 17 December 1997, advising he was travelling with a male known as ‘Marco’.
  • Was last seen obtaining a food voucher from a welfare organisation in Carnarvon.
  • Mr French’s identification and bank account were used over the following year with a male person subsequently charged in relation to its use.



Mr French was born in March 1973 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Mr French moved to Australia with his family in 1986 and settled in Perth. He attended high schools in Bassendean, before starting a business course at a college in Perth. Mr French was known to his friends and family as Maddison. His interests included fishing, weight lifting and horse racing.



On Thursday 11 December 1997, Mr French booked into a backpackers on Hay St, East Perth intending to stay for one week.  On Friday 12 December 1997 Mr French changed his booking and departed the backpackers and Perth.

On Wednesday 17 December 1997, Mr French made a reverse charge telephone call to his girlfriend from a public phone box in Carnarvon, advising  his girlfriend he was travelling around Australia with a male named  “Marco”.

On this day, Mr French attended at welfare organisation in Carnarvon to obtain a food voucher. He spoke with an officer there and was provided with a food voucher to be spent at a local supermarket.

In March 1998, having made many enquiries into the whereabouts of their son and having had no further contact with him, he was reported as missing by his family.

Inquiries revealed Mr French’s identification and bank account were used over the following year by a man at the below locations:

  • Port Hedland – Late December 1997.
  • Kununurra – Early January 1998.
  • Darwin (Northern Territory) – Mid January 1998.
  • Coogee (New South Wales) – Late February and early March 1998.
  • Randwick (New South Wales) – 19 March 1998.
  • Coogee (New South Wales) – 6 November and 9 November 1998.

A 25 year old man was arrested and charged in relation to the fraudulent use of  Mr French’s credit card on 10 November 1998.

The person or persons responsible for Mr French’s disappearance have not yet been identified.

If you have any information about William Maddison French’s disappearance, or his movements around Western Australia in December 1997 please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or make an online report below. Please remember that you can remain anonymous if you wish and rewards are offered.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

Working Together by DuShong

The artwork titled ‘Working Together’ represents the Aboriginal tribes of Western Australia working together in harmony to rejuvenate the land by controlled fires.

In this artwork it also represents our community today working together to keep our neighbourhood safe from crime.

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