One turn of the windmill

Hughenden, 1928 – Fifty-year-old Charles John Burdekin Abbott had made sure the windmill was turned off before he climbed up to do some repairs.

Image: Sharyn Moodie 2021

According to newspaper reports, he and a workboy were at his neighbour’s property Wyoming. His neighbour was in hospital, so he was doing him a favour.   

But a gust of wind was enough to move the sails, somehow crushing his head.

A lad who was working with him noticed a drop of blood fall to the ground and “made the sad discovery”.

Charles was a true outback Queenslander, having been born in Charters Towers, where his family had land interests.

The  Abbott’s property Abbortsford was about 40 miles from Hughenden, Queensland.

A poem found online written about a family reunion in 2012 tells how Charles’ body was brought home to his wife Bea with a sack over his face.

The poem tells a little more about their life at their property Abbottsford, about 40 miles from Hughenden.

It says Charles and Bea brought a house from Charters Towers, board by board, to the property in 1912.

It was considered a prime selection because of its access to sub-artesian water, ironically linked to the cause of his death.

A male child  born that year died from blood loss after a gunshot wound to his knee.

The family was joined by two more children and prospered as demand for wool rose due to its use in solder’s uniforms during WWI.

The poem tells of Charles’ death.

Tragedy struck the family again when Charlie died too soon,
While working on a windmill the wind picked up ’round noon,
A mate brought him to the homestead with a sack upon his face,
Bea was left to cope alone with little help to run the place.

Here is a link to the full poem.

Click here for another Hughenden cemetery story, in which a young girl dies when her brother’s violin case gets caught up in her bicycle wheel.

Charles rests in the Hughenden cemetery, Queensland.

SOURCES: Worker, Wednesday 14 November 1928, p6

Daily Mercury, Wednesday 14 November 1928, p7

The Abbottsford Muster, viewed online at

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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