A MAN who went missing at Halls Gap 35 years ago has been declared dead.
A concerned friend reported Brunswick's Clarence Sharrock missing to Stawell police on August 2, 1978.
His car was found outside Belbra Nursery at Halls Gap, with a note to call his girlfriend if he did not return by the end of the month.
Mr Sharrock has not been heard from since.
He left behind a daughter and a son.
Police searched in vain for Mr Sharrock, then 62, for two days.
Deputy State Coroner Iain West said those who knew the man believed he might have staged his disappearance to start a new life.
"He was unemployed and in financial difficulties," Mr West said.
"Police investigators were told of one past occasion when Mr Sharrock did not make contact with his family for 16 years."
He had used several names during his lifetime, including Rex Sutherland, Harold Sharrock and Ronald Sutherland.
"He resided between Brunswick and the Caraville Caravan Park, Fawkner," Mr West said.
"Mr Sharrock was described by those who knew him as totally unreliable and full of grandiose ideas."
The man's missing person's file was reviewed in 2011, but investigations did not reveal whether Mr Sharrock was still alive.
Mr West found on Monday that Mr Sharrock must be dead, because of how long he had been unheard from and how old he would be if he was still alive.
"The material before me does not permit a finding, however, as to when, where or how Mr Sharrock died," he said.