Family day out ends in tragedy

A drowning accident attended by strangely pathetic circumstances occurred in the vicinity of the Lower King Bridge on Sunday afternoon, the victim being Edward, aged between 8 and 9.

The Albany Advertiser

1912- The Albany Cuddihy family  – mother and father, their four children and an adult friend drove out to the mouth of the King River on this Sunday morning, settling down close to the bridge.

Image: Sharyn Moodie

After lunch, Edward, the second son, some siblings and friends were fishing from the bridge, with Mrs Cuddihy not far away chatting to a lady friend. Mr Cuddihy and his friend walked into the bush to look at a horse.

Article image from the National Library of Australia’s Newspaper Digitisation Program

Mr Cuddihy and his friend walked into the bush to look at a horse. It wasn’t until he returned about 5pm and they were preparing to go home, that it was noticed that Edward was missing.

The bridge in 1905.

They searched the night through for him, and the next morning Mr Ashman drove the 13 kilometres back to town  to report the incident.

Two search parties in cars headed to the bridge, and along with a policeman, Constable O’Brien, explored the terrain, only returning to town at 4 o clock the next morning.

A 20-strong mounted party was then organised, along with an indigeneous tracker.

However, they arrived at the scene to the news that the boy’s body was found.

It had been discovering lying face down in 60cm of water about 200 yards below the bridge.

“A nasty wound was on the head and it is surmised that the little fellow fell from the bridge and struck a waling piece, being rendered unconscious.

“The water hereabout is no more than 3ft. deep and unless he had been injured the boy, would not have drowned. 

Edward’s gravestone in the Roman Catholic section of the Albany Memorial Cemetery. Image: Sharyn Moodie.

The boy’s father was a local councillor, and the funeral was very well attended.

Albany, WA.

Sources:  Lower King and Bayonet History Association. History of Lower King, https://lowerkingbayonethead.weebly.com/lower-king.html

The Albany Advertiser, Wednesday 1 May 1912, p3,  Saturday 4 May 1912, p3.  

 Western Mail, Saturday 4 May 1912 – Page 30

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.

One thought on “Family day out ends in tragedy

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