Fence the dams, the town cried

Charters Towers, 1885 – The drowning death of Nell Richards led for calls for the town’s dams to be fenced before any more children were lost. Elizabeth Ellen, known as Nell, was watching her younger sister bathe with several other children at  Mr Mill’s dam at the top end of Mosman Street. Nell was onContinue reading “Fence the dams, the town cried”

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?”

Pyjamas led sailor to final sleep

1898 – W Satterley died for the sake of a pair of pyjamas. He was a carpenter on the cargo ship Cornwall, which was moored at the Albany wharf. It was on its way to London with frozen goods including beef. As he shook a quilt over the side of the boat in the earlyContinue reading “Pyjamas led sailor to final sleep”

Father couldn’t save drowning son

1903 – Grazier Andrew Muir was unable to save his son when he got caught in the surf off the south western Australian coast. In fact, he had to be rescued himself. Mr Muir, his third son Melville and another man George Arber, all of Mt Barker had gone to visit his cattle run atContinue reading “Father couldn’t save drowning son”

Toddler “got in a scot” and drowned

1901 – Farmer Ernest Pye was walking near the Mudgee Racecourse, central New South Wales, about 7pm one evening when he heard a woman cry. Turning around, he saw a woman sitting outside her house with a child’s wet body in her arms. The woman was Helen Cook, the mother of ten children. She hadContinue reading “Toddler “got in a scot” and drowned”

Siblings drown while fetching water

While a river-side plaque tells the story of a sad drowning in Menindee’s Darling River, the nearby cemetery reinforces just how dangerous it was to early settlers. Robert and Elizabeth Scobie, aged 9 and 7, had only been in Australia for six months when they drowned in 1883. They had emigrated from Scotland, and theirContinue reading “Siblings drown while fetching water”

Flow in river claimed two lives

A recent flow of water had been enticing many swimmers to the Bogan River below Yee War’s garden near Nyngan, New South Wales. But on February 5, 1931, after 5pm, there were only three present. Only one lived to tell the tale. Rosie Pines, 44, a strong swimmer who had herself helped rescue a womanContinue reading “Flow in river claimed two lives”

Swimmer not strong enough

1928 – Leslie Wren Ellis was a waterside worker who perhaps should have stayed waterside. He planned to buy a fishing boat which was moored in water off the town of Thevenard, South Australia. The best way to inspect it was to swim out to it, and although his friends advised him not to doContinue reading “Swimmer not strong enough”

Fatal boat ride for non-swimmer

“I don’t think anything could sink this boat”. Bothwell, just before the boat sank William Bothwell couldn’t swim. He lived in the driest part of the continent, yet he still managed to drown in a boating accident. It was also the boat’s maiden voyage. It was made of galvanized iron, and was launched on aContinue reading “Fatal boat ride for non-swimmer”