Flying pioneers diced with death

1924 – Aviation in Australia was just out of its first decade when popular young pastoralist Samuel “Keith” Mackay died in an aeroplane accident at Port Hedland, Western Australia. Mackay, 24,  had asked the pilot, Leonard Taplin, who worked for WA Airways and had been chartered for the flight to take Mackay home to hisContinue reading “Flying pioneers diced with death”

Frank died on his way to war

1915 – PRIVATE FRANK CURRAN died before he could make it to World War I, but the Catholic priest who anointed him as he died proclaimed him “as big a hero as if he had died in the trenches”. The second son of the Coonabarabran postmaster, Frank was only 19. According to his enlistment records, he wasContinue reading “Frank died on his way to war”

The Yalgoo outrage

The Yalgoo outrage, the Yalgoo horror, the Yalgoo mystery. Thus read the many headlines in 1903 when Solomon Lowns became the recipient of Australia’s first postal bomb, which blew off his lower left arm. It was a far cry from the publicity when he died alone among his mining machinery near the remote Western AustralianContinue reading “The Yalgoo outrage”

Albany Memorial Park holds history in its bones

Like ribs on a skeleton, the many aged gravestones of Albany Memorial Park cemetery protrude from either side of the highway as you make your way down the slope of Middleton Road towards the glistening Southern ocean. The cemetery covers about 2.5 hectares and has about 5000 graves, ranging from unmarked, through simple wooden markersContinue reading “Albany Memorial Park holds history in its bones”

Colonial leader laid to rest – twice

1835 – Western Australian pioneering doctor Alexander Collie wanted to be buried next to his close friend and Aboriginal leader Mokare*. Mokare had travelled alongside Collie as he explored the south of the state, and played an important part in maintaining friendly relations between the land’s inhabitants and the newly arrived Europeans. He was aContinue reading “Colonial leader laid to rest – twice”

Killer erected memorial to his victim at cemetery

It’s a solid wooden cross, standing slightly apart from others at the Albany Memorial cemetery. The words are simple :- H Rodber, AB HMS Diamond, killed June 2 1885, aged 33 years The memorial was paid for by the man who killed the able seaman. So how did Henry Rodber (also spelt Rhodber in someContinue reading “Killer erected memorial to his victim at cemetery”

Ganger callous of danger

1898 – Veteran railway workers appear to become callous of danger, the coroner said as he closed the inquiry into George Searson’s unnecessary death. Searson had been a ganger in Victoria for nearly 40 years but had been run over by a railway trolley and killed. The incident occurred after two train trucks had beenContinue reading “Ganger callous of danger”

Pilot smashed between launch and barque

1891 – Ship’s pilot Arthur Thompson was crushed between two boats as he attempted to move from one to the other. He had just piloted the barque Mary Stewart through King George’s Sound as it was towed by the launch Escort. They were two miles beyond Bald Head  – near Maud Reef in a lineContinue reading “Pilot smashed between launch and barque”

Gallant endeavour or just a tragic mis-step?

1906 – Albany Police’s Inspector James Connor came to a sad end in the most innocuous way – on a Saturday afternoon fishing excursion with his son and nephew. But did he die in a gallant effort to rescue a boy who could swim well, or did he simply fall in? James had finished workContinue reading “Gallant endeavour or just a tragic mis-step?”