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”

Misheard blast kills miner

1873 – Joseph Paxton’s mining company was said to be one of the best-managed in the Hills End district of New South Wales. However, when it came to mining in the early years of Australia, anything could happen. And unfortunately it did, to one William Oliver. Basically, Oliver heard a bang, thought the explosive chargeContinue reading “Misheard blast kills miner”

Eileen didn’t get to father for Christmas

1921 – Seventeen-year-old Eileen Flynn’s “splendid physique’ (as described by the newspapers)  wasn’t enough to save her life when she went horse riding. She and her mother had been living apart from their father/husband for two years, while he was at their home in Broken Hill. This arrangement was a result of industrial unrest atContinue reading “Eileen didn’t get to father for Christmas”

Three children die on their way to town’s day of fun

August 15, 1888 – Almost all of the children of Bourke, country New South Wales, were in the back of horse-drawn vehicles heading to the country town’s picnic ground by the Darling River. The Annual Children’s Picnic procession would have been full of laughter and expectation, as the annual event brought the town together.   ThereContinue reading “Three children die on their way to town’s day of fun”

Rumours flew over missing man

1896 – There was great suspicion about Kalgoorlie when James Moore went missing for a day. He had acted as accountant/confidential clerk for local auctioneer J Miller and Co for two months and had gained the confidence of his employers. However, he was missing, and so were the keys to the business safe. Moreover, heContinue reading “Rumours flew over missing man”

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”

Ruby remembered with racist headlines

This story has been written as a snapshot of media attitudes and language regarding First Nations people in the 1940s. It highlights how much things have changed, and how much they haven’t. None of the attitudes reported in any way reflect my personal views. Ruby Jackson’s final resting place lies at the end of aContinue reading “Ruby remembered with racist headlines”

Gone and quite forgotten

Headstones are an effort to leave a permanent reminder of our demise. But they too, return to dust. There are countless gravestones like this over our big country, decaying, decayed, destroyed. I shall tell the sad story of two of them now, and revive their memory, if only for a short time. James Gray’s crackedContinue reading “Gone and quite forgotten”

Grim demise for Gaiety Girl

1906, Kalgoorlie – Lilian Harcourt, 34, died a barmaid, but she had packed some excitement into her short life. She ‘breathed her last’ at the Shamrock Hotel, one of two hotels she had worked in for the majority of the past five years. “Rheumatic gout, upon which supervened a wasting complaint, was the cause ofContinue reading “Grim demise for Gaiety Girl”

Train takes life of exemplary teetotaller porter

Benjamin Ezzy was a porter at the Bathurst Railway Station who made a fatal mistake. The 21-year-old had worked there for four years, having risen from the dirty position of lamp cleaner to porter by 1889. It was 2.30 one October afternoon when the goods train from Wallerawang arrived on the “up line’. It usuallyContinue reading “Train takes life of exemplary teetotaller porter”