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”

Settler’s wife burns while cooking dinner

1926 – “Harry, I am in flames,” Florence Muir cried.  She had just put a pot of apples on the stove, and while walking to the table smelt something burning. She looked down and saw her dress on fire, the flames quickly growing. Her husband, Harry was having a rest as he waited for hisContinue reading “Settler’s wife burns while cooking dinner”

Amputation saved life – briefly

1880 – Henry Yelverton was considered the most experienced timber merchant in the colony of Western Australia. Yelverton was the man responsible for supplying timber for and constructing the Busselton jetty, the 1.8k heritage-listed landmark and major tourist attraction. He was certainly one of the richest men in the region. As well as his timberContinue reading “Amputation saved life – briefly”

Teen sulky driver hits stump

1922 – Fourteen-year-old John Geoghegan was driving home in a sulky with his sister when it hit a stump and overturned. They were about six miles from Jarrahwood, a small settlement between Busselton and Nannup in Western Australia. His sister was thrown clear. A local woman, Mrs. Buckingham, who was riding home, found the boyContinue reading “Teen sulky driver hits stump”

Busselton’s old cemetery boasts many great stories

The stories this graveyard could tell. The Old Busselton cemetery lies within cooee of the famed Busselton Jetty, the southern hemisphere’s longest timber jetty. The man who was responsible for the supply of that timber lies in the cemetery. Henry Yelverton died in a timber industry accident that led to an in-the-field leg amputation. ReadContinue reading “Busselton’s old cemetery boasts many great stories”

Massacre sign does not tell full story

It was commonly known as the Wills massacre, but the history of the battle which took place at Cullin-la-ringo near Springsure in Central Queensland is being slowly reshaped. The 1861 attack, in which 19 European men, women and children were killed, was the single largest massacre of colonists by Aboriginal people in Australian history. ButContinue reading “Massacre sign does not tell full story”

Cowcatcher kills engine driver

George Kembery (also called Kimbery by the newspapers) was an off-duty engine driver who fell asleep on the railway tracks at the Bogantungan Railway station. This obviously wasn’t a clever place to sleep, especially at 3am on a Sunday morning when the goods train from Emerald was due. The first anyone knew of his presenceContinue reading “Cowcatcher kills engine driver”

Was this the Wheeler?

Springsure – Does this fallen, eroding gravestone honour the man after whom the Capricorn Coast’s controversial Mt Wheeler was named? Now known as Gai-i, the popular narrative for a long time was that the mount was named after cruel Native Police inspector Frederick Wheeler, who was allegedly involved in a massacre of local Darumbul people.Continue reading “Was this the Wheeler?”

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 inContinue reading “Strangers in life, neighbours in the after-life”

Love for speedway takes bonzer chap

Saturday night motorcycle racing at the Claremont Speedway was one of the most exciting things to do in Fremantle in the late 1920s. Daring young men would fling their motorbikes around the dirt and cinder track, thrilling the spectators. Percy Mulligan’s proud parents were there the night of March 2, 1929 when he became theContinue reading “Love for speedway takes bonzer chap”