News & Updates


May 14, 2024


Authors Rebecca Hazel and Ryan Butta joined us at the SMSA to discuss Rebecca’s journey writing “The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife”.

We invite you to listen to a recording of this event using the play button above.

About the book:
Teacher and former rugby league player Chris Dawson appeared to have it all – a loving family and a beautiful home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. But in the summer of 1982 his wife Lynette disappeared and not long afterwards Dawson married a much younger woman a former student.

Less than a decade later this young woman escaped the marriage and went to the police to record her suspicions that Dawson had been involved in Lynette’s disappearance. A homicide investigation followed but got nowhere until 1998, when Detective Sergeant Damian Loone was handed Lynette’s file. For nearly two decades he made it his business to honour Lynette and to find out what had happened to her. His work led to two coronial investigations, but no charges.

Around this time Rebecca Hazel was working in a women’s refuge on the Northern Beaches when a colleague shared her story of enduring coercive control at the hands of Dawson, when she was his student, and then wife and she shared her suspicions about the fate of his first wife Lynette. These revelations affected Rebecca, and eventually she decided to investigate.

Over years, coroners, police and journalists all shared with Rebecca their knowledge of the case, and disappointments that it remained unsolved. Until, in May 2018, Hedley Thomas launched the Teacher’s Pet podcast, and in December 2018, Chris Dawson was charged with murder. He was convicted in August 2022.

Rebecca Hazel has spent ten years working to ensure that the stories of two women who were misused by Chris Dawson are heard, that their perpetrator was brought to justice and that Lynette’s family can properly honour their much-loved sister, aunt, cousin and mother.

About Rebecca Hazel
Rebecca Hazel has worked in family law; in a women and children’s refuge; helped establish and worked in the Women’s Family Law Support Service at the Family Court in Sydney; and briefly in domestic violence policy at Legal Aid. She lives in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Photo credit: © Rebecca Hazel

About Ryan Butta

Ryan Butta grew up in regional New South Wales.

Before he started writing he worked in international trade and has lived and worked extensively overseas. He is a writer, author and editor.  When he is not writing Ryan enjoys fly fishing, cooking over flame and telling people that he once played cricket for Argentina. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese but mostly enjoys long silences.

Ryan currently lives in the NSW Kiama with his wife, Carolina, and a Cavoodle called Canela and is working on his second work of Australian history.

Photo credit: © Ryan Butta

Instagram: @ryan.butta | X: @RyanButta | Facebook | RyanButtaAuthor | Substack | |

The Schoolgirl, Her Teacher and his Wife is for sale at your local bookstore and  SMSA Members can borrow a copy from our Library.


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