1890 – Orange, NSW railway employee Edward Morris stepped off a shunting train into a light post and was thrown back onto the line.
Morris had been warned that the post was there. His fellow workers were concerned about the dangerous position of a number of new posts erected that day to provide light for shunting.
And when Morris was found by the line, with one arm lying four feet away, his scalp and an ear torn off, he said he had hit the post when jumping off the train.
He was taken to hospital, where he died of “nervous shock, induced by the severe injuries received, producing collapse and death’.”
“The poor fellow was at once taken to the hospital, where he succumbed at 11 o’clock.
“Deceased was about 35 years of age, and leaves a wife and four children, one being an infant only a few days old,” it was reported – erroneously, as his gravestone says he was 28.
An inquest was held, where further details emerged.
George Cather, who was shunting with Morris that night, deposed that he and Morris had been shunting No. 4 train from Molong, which arrived at 8.10 in the evening.
Both stepped into the brake van at the platform and the train moved on.
Cather was at the brake about 10-12 feet from Morris, when, noticing; that the train had gone too far, he applied the brake and looked out of the window.
He said he had not heard any noise from Morris, but thought he heard a slight noise like the “jarring of a door”.
After the train had stopped he immediately noticed Morris was missing.
He and engine driver John Davidson went searching and found Morris unconscious by the track.
Morris recovered his sense enough to speak of the pain in his arm, apparently not realising it was cut off.
Davidson told the inquiry he had warned Morris of the posts along the line before leaving the platform, because he considered they were in a dangerous position and said he had complained about them.
Fred Richardson, local stationmaster, said a large portion of the shunting had to be done at night time, so it was necessary to have the yard lighted.
However, he said officials from Sydney picked out the position where the posts were placed; he only pointed out which parts of the yard needed lighting.
He did not know by whose order or authority the posts were erected.
SOURCES: The Australian Star Monday 20 October 1890 p 6
Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal Thursday 30 October 1890 p 2
National Advocate Thursday 30 October 1890 p 2
The Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday 29 October 1890 p 6