Lightning hit trio, killing one

1928 – Charles Dunbar’s life was over in a flash.

Charles Dunbar’s stark headstone in the Yalgoo cemetery. Image Sharyn Moodie 2020

The workman was camped out about 50 miles north of Yalgoo, WA, which is still a remote place to be today.

He was with his boss,  Mr McPherson and the boss’s son Ross, when the three of them were hit by lightning.

It was about 7pm and the trio had been clearing bush away from a new well, in preparation for erecting a windmill.

After tea, Mr McPherson went about 20 metres away to keep the fires going on some stumps which were being burnt out, when all three men were struck by lightning.

Mr McPherson lost consciousness, but when he came to he crawled to where his son and Dunbar were lying on the ground.

He said his son got up and “staggered around for a while, but Dunbar was killed outright.’’

After the two survivors had recovered from their shock – both physical and emotional, Dunbar’s body was brought into Yalgoo.

Mr  McPherson said the experience was as if he had been struck on the head with a lump of wood.

Dunbar, 25, was Scottish and single.

He was buried in the Anglican portion of the sun-bleached Yalgoo cemetery.

Yalgoo, Western Australia

Sources: Daily Telegraph and North Murchison and Pilbarra Gazette, Saturday 15 December 1928, p2

 Geraldton Guardian, Thursday 6 December 1928, p2

The West Australian, Thursday 20 December 1928, p20

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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