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”

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”

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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?”

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Heat too much for teen

1901 – Eleanor Mary Spencer was one of two people to die of ‘heat apoplexy’ (heat stroke) at Cue on January 7, 1901, claimed The Southern Cross Times and numerous other newspapers. It was a week of temperatures above 38 degrees, in the remote Western Australia outback mining town. The other victim, they said, wasContinue reading “Heat too much for teen”

Molten metal a nightmare death

1909 – Mining accidents were common in the early days of the 20th century, yet when Ambrose Fox was burnt to death by an explosion of molten metal in the Great Cobar mine, his funeral was said to be the largest the town had ever seen. The 44-year-old was killed after a repaired appliance knownContinue reading “Molten metal a nightmare death”

Train accidents ran in the family

To have one son killed while working in a railway yard is unfortunate, but to have a second son die almost the same way three years later is beyond words. Twenty-seven-year old Robert Webster was a shunter at the Kelso railway station, the other side of the Macquarie River to the Bathurst Station, New SouthContinue reading “Train accidents ran in the family”

Jockey predicted his own death

Jockey John J Evans had a premonition that he would not make it through the day of racing at Coolgardie on August 11, 1901. He was right. His mount, Arthur, refused to rise at the first obstacle in the first race of the second day of the sixth Coolgardie Cup, the hurdle. It crashed intoContinue reading “Jockey predicted his own death”

Paddle steamer accidents often fatal

Steam paddle boats accidents were common and often fatal on the rivers of inland NSW, prompting this scathing opinion in the press by an unnamed correspondent. It followed the death of 28-year-old Henry Pitcher on board the steamer Princess Royal on August 15, 1870 – the same year the vessel was launched. “As the Princess Royal arrivedContinue reading “Paddle steamer accidents often fatal”

Typhoid terrorised the nation

Epidemics of infectious diseases came and went in early Australian history – smallpox, measles, the plague, Asiatic and Spanish flu – but typhoid was considered endemic. Outbreaks in the goldfields were inevitable, with overcrowding, no sanitation, a limited water supply and co-existing gold fever. It tended to occur in healthy young men and showed noContinue reading “Typhoid terrorised the nation”

Drowned learning to swim

The evening of February 18, 1909, a number of women and children went to one of the Great Cobar mine tanks to “bathe’’, something they enjoyed regularly. Cobar, in mid central New South Wales, was a stronghold of copper and gold mines, starting from the 1870s. By 1909, the hot, dry town had hit itsContinue reading “Drowned learning to swim”