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”

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”

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”

Death a final prison for Moondyne Joe

Fremantle – The handcuffs on notorious Western Australian bushranger Joseph Bolitho John’s final resting place symbolize a lifetime of imprisonment – and of persistent escapes. It can only be assumed that he didn’t escape from this final confinement. His tombstone features a pair of handcuffs, a reference to his times in prison and his abilityContinue reading “Death a final prison for Moondyne Joe”

Steps away from safety

1906 – Albert Keys and his partner were only a few steps away from safety as they left their gold mine shaft. They were also in the last days of working the site. The duo had been working the Lily mine near Cue for some time and planned to abandon it  in about a week.Continue reading “Steps away from safety”

Schoolteacher takes a fatal horse ride

1904 – “A strange incident” declared the Bunbury Herald’s headline when Darradup schoolteacher John Bowler died while exercising a race horse. The South Australian boarded with the Longbottom family at their home about 240 kilometres from Perth, and had gone to the exercise track with two male members of the family, keen to give theContinue reading “Schoolteacher takes a fatal horse ride”

Flying pioneers diced with death

1924 – Aviation in Australia was just out of its first decade when popular young pastoralist Samuel “Keith” Mackay died in an aeroplane accident at Port Hedland, Western Australia. Mackay, 24,  had asked the pilot, Leonard Taplin, who worked for WA Airways and had been chartered for the flight to take Mackay home to hisContinue reading “Flying pioneers diced with death”