A West Australian man has appeared in court charged with murdering his mother and her partner at their quiet rural property.
Delys Eleanor Weston, 62, and Professor Gavin Mooney, 69, were found dead with severe head injuries at their Mountain River home in the Huon Valley, south-west of Hobart, early yesterday morning.
Nicolau Francisco Soares, 27 and of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and will reappear in the Hobart Magistrates Court on January 7.
According to locals, Ms Weston and Professor Mooney, who had moved to the area to retire in 2011, were community minded and had helped organise a recent market at Mountain River.
Yesterday, Professor Mooney's former colleagues at Perth's Curtin University remembered him as a ``brilliant academic who wanted to make a difference''.
Professor Mooney was the director of the social and public health economics research group at Curtin from August 2000 until his retirement in October 2008.
Professor Mooney had many books to his name after a career in health economics spanning more than 40 years.
In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town as ``one of the founding fathers of health economics''.
Curtin University vice-chancellor Jeanette Hacket said that during his time at the university, Professor Mooney was ``instrumental in establishing health economics at the faculty of health sciences''.
``But it was Gavin's enduring commitment to improving Aboriginal health that he will be remembered for,'' she said.
``He worked at both academic and community levels to pave the way for Aboriginal control of Aboriginal health services.''
Detective Inspector Peter Powell said the couple was found in a television room.
He said Mr Soares had been staying at the Mountain River home for about three weeks.
``There is no obvious motive to us at this stage,'' Detective Inspector Powell said.
He said police found a hammer and a sledgehammer near the bodies.
The incident is the second alleged double murder in the South in less than a week.
On Sunday, police were called to a property in the upper Derwent Valley town of Hamilton where Meagan Wilton, 31, and Benjamin Eyles, 34, were shot dead.
Police will allege that Ms Wilton's 59-year-old former partner was responsible.
He is in hospital in Hobart with a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
``We all understand sometimes in domestic situations and in times of the year like this coming up to Christmas, often families have issues and stresses on them that sometimes result in these tragedies,'' Detective Inspector Powell said.
He said crime scene examinations at the Mountain River property would continue today.
Police have also spoken to neighbours and want to speak to anyone who knew the couple.