1901 – Farmer Ernest Pye was walking near the Mudgee Racecourse, central New South Wales, about 7pm one evening when he heard a woman cry.
Turning around, he saw a woman sitting outside her house with a child’s wet body in her arms.
The woman was Helen Cook, the mother of ten children.
She had missed her two-year-old daughter Millie about 6pm, but her other children said she was in another room of the house.
When she went to check a little later, she could not find the girl.
She quickly found Millicent’s body floating in the dam.
Her 10-year-old sister told the inquest she had been at the back corner of the house with Millicent, but when she tried to lift her up she “got in a scot and ran away towards the road; I went inside”.
Poor Mr Pye tried to “pump the water from the body, but he could get none from it, and said he thought the child was dead’’.
The doctor soon arrived and confirmed that he was right.
The gravestone records she is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Cook, although the inquest heard Mrs Cook had been living apart from her husband for nine years, and declined to say who the child’s father was.
Source: Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative, Thursday 19 September 1901 p 9