Steps away from safety

Cue Cemetery. Image Sharyn Moodie 2020.

1906 – Albert Keys and his partner were only a few steps away from safety as they left their gold mine shaft. They were also in the last days of working the site.

The duo had been working the Lily mine near Cue for some time and planned to abandon it  in about a week.

It was a Saturday morning and the men were working below on a pillar of stone.

About 10.30am they finished taking it out, and they began to leave the mine face.

But the footwall slid away, letting the supporting timber go. Mullock from an old workings rained over the two.

Chesson, who was in front, got clear, but the large rocks trapped Keys  by the hips and buried him in a rush of rubble.

Chesson frantically tried to keep his mate’s face clear, and successfully cleared it three or four times, but more debris kept running from the footwall.

He ran to the surface and called for help.

By the time he got back, another fall of earth had completely covered his mate.

Several men arrived and helped try to clear the body, but it took until 2pm before he was removed, dead.

Local Dr Blanchard, who attended the scene as soon as he heard of the accident, waited until the body was recovered. He said Keys was only lightly bruised, and death was by asphyxiation.

Albert was described as a quiet, steady, single man with a wide circle of friends.

He played with the  Railway Cricket Club, and that club’s fixture with the Workers, on Sunday, was postponed as a mark of sympathy.

Cue cemetery, WA


 Day Dawn Chronicle, Wednesday 21 March 1906, p2

The Daily News, Friday 23 March 1906, p1

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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