Shortcut ends to gruesome demise

headstone of Alfred James Hockey at the Orange cemetery.
Orange cemetery: Alfred James Hockey, native of Ballarat, Victoria, accidentally killed at Orange,  aged 64 yrs. Image: Sharyn Moodie

It was 64-year-old Alfred James Hockey’s habit to meet the Forbes mail train by taking a short cut across the tracks at Orange Railway Station.

He had “rheumatism’’ and so avoided the longer route via an overhead footbridge, half a mile away.

His mangled remains were found near the station by two railway shunters on March 29, 1921.

He had been dragged about 25 metres by the train.

 “The back had been broken about the middle, and a mark and bruises traversed it. Some of the organs, particularly the lungs, had been forced out of the thorax.’

reported the local newspaper

His left arm was nearly severed above the wrist. Death had been instantaneous.

It is thought he had verbal permission to take the short cut, although no one at the inquest admitted to that.

There were signs posted at the station declaring the route Hockey took was forbidden.

Sources: Leader (Orange, NSW : 1899 – 1945) Monday 3 April 1922 p 1

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) Friday 31 March 1922 p 10

Orange, NSW

Published by Sharyn Moodie

Travelling around Australia for work, I've found so many amazing headstones. But what is more amazing is the stories behind some of these deaths, and the way newspapers of the day reported them.

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