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”