Wrong brother named drowned

It is bad enough to lose a child to drowning, without the press reporting the wrong child had died.

In 1897, The Gympie Times correctly reported that Robert Oxlade, aged eleven years, son of a respected townsman, whilst fishing in the river (most likely the Macintyre) with two other lads, fell into the water.

“The body was quickly recovered but all attempts at artificial respiration failed,” it said in its pages the next day

But a week later, Brisbane paper The Week reported that Arnold Oxlade, aged 11 years, had fallen into the river while fishing with his brother Robert and a lad named O’Connor. It said Arnold fell in, but was rescued by Robert and O’Connor.

“The boys gave the alarm, but the lad had been too long in the water, and artificial respiration was found useless,”

The week

Robert’s broken headstone, shared with his father Charles, lies on the ground in the Goondiwindi cemetery.

SOURCES: Gympie Times and Mary River Mining Gazette  Saturday 13 February 1897 p 5

The Week  Friday 19 February 1897 p 11

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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