Strangers in life, neighbours in the after-life

It is unlikely Sydney Constantine Tolley and Edwin Poyner knew each other in life, but they shared more history than their bones decaying together in the dry Norseman cemetery in WA.

They both came from Adelaide families, both were one of five sons and both died of bowel-related illnesses.

Tolley was a successful barrister in Adelaide, who had moved to Western Australia to gain his qualifications to practice there.

This required a period of residence, which had almost been served in the gold mining community of Norseman  when he ‘suffered an attack of peritonitis’ (inflammation of the peritoneum) and died.

One of his five brother was his partner in the practice.

Edwin Poyner, who died two years later of “inflammation of the bowels”, was a miner.

 More than 120 years later, their gravestones endure, giving little indication of the similarities or differences between these two men.

Norseman, Western Australia

Sources: Chronicle,  Saturday 1 August 1896 p 9

The Advertiser, Wednesday, 19 January 1898, Page 3

The Advertiser Saturday 25 July 1896 p 5

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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