When I first thought that I would write this article I was unaware of how many persons from the various branches of my large family tree had met with accidents resulting in injuries or death until my sister and I pooled our research to come up with this sample of some of our relatives from this category.
Gilgandra Weekly and Castlereagh
- 1 March, 1934. Mr Harry Pye was the victim of a rather serious and painful accident at the Gilgandra Flour Mill … which resulted in the loss of a finger, whilst another finger was badly mangled. … the victim having his hand caught in a beater.
Rosedale Courier – 19 February, 1914.
“Mr Walter Barker, contractor, of Rosedale, met with dreadful injuries at the Woundellah gravel pits, the result of a dynamite cap exploding. … The two fingers and the thumb on his right hand were almost blown off, and the index finger on his left hand was shattered, while Mr Barker’s face was also injured.
Mr Barker had a miraculous escape from sudden death. Had he not been holding the cap in a certain position, his head must have been blown off.” His thumb and fingers were amputated.
When he was six years of age, Dick O’Connor, son of Thomas O’Connor, lost his foot in a farming accident at Millicent, SA. 19 Dec 1901. “The little fellow was out with his father, who was using a mowing machine, when the horses attached to the machine swerved, the child was knocked down, and coming in contact with the machine one foot was completely severed, and the other badly cut. Ligatures were at once applied, and the lad was brought in a distance of 12 miles for treatment. The doctor was not at home at the time, and that added to the trouble. This morning the boy is still alive, but little hope is entertained for his recovery.” Fortunately, Dick survived and was able to walk with a false leg.
Portland Guardian – 24 April 1914
Buggy accident. Mr and Mrs William Leddin were driving their buggy to church, “when the vehicle skidded on the shockingly bad piece of road … with the result that the buggy was completely overturned and Mrs Leddin was thrown out on her head and rendered unconscious, and Mr Leddin was entangled under the buggy”. They escaped with minor injuries.
The Argus – 5 August, 1902.
Patrick Sinnott of Yambuk, “whilst leading a team of horses attached to a wagon, …slipped and fell, and the wheels passed over one of his legs, with the result that the bone was smashed and the foot badly crushed”.
The Sydney Morning Herald – Saturday 28 February, 1925.
OVER-HEATED FAT. EXPLOSION AT FLEMINGTON. FIVE PERSONS INJURED.
The explosion of a quantity of over-heated fat resulted in five persons being more or less severely burnt in a house in Marlborough-road, Flemington, yesterday.
The fat, which had been placed in a fuel stove, exploded when Hector Mellish, 18 years of age, opened the door of the oven. Flames spread over the floor of the kitchen, and the clothes worn by Mellish ignited. Two other members of the family, and two members of another family, entered the room, and in trying to extinguish the fire were all burnt about their shoulders, heads, and arms.
The injured were: -
Harold Edward Mellish, aged 24 years: severely burnt about the head, face, and arms.
Hector Mellish, aged 19 years; severely burnt about the body, head, and arms.
Beryl Mellish, aged 11 years; burnt about the arms and neck.
Mrs. Bartlett, aged 31 years; severely burnt about the shoulders, neck and face.
Eileen Bartlett, aged 9 years; burnt about the hands and neck.
All the injured resided in the house in which the fire occurred, and, with the exception of Eileen Bartlett, were so severely burnt that they had to be admitted to the Western Suburbs Hospital.
Hector Mellish, who was splashed with the boiling fat, had his clothes almost completely burnt.
Portland Guardian – 20 April, 1877.
Seventeen year old Patrick O’Connor was killed when he fell through the trapdoor of a railway truck – “before the engine could be stopped, he was killed, torn and mangled dreadfully.” His 14 year old brother, Thomas O’Connor was also on the train and identified his brother’s body after the accident.
FATAL BUGGY & SULKY ACCIDENTS:
John Downing Pye
“Mr. John Pye, of Budgee Budgee, had been found in the bed of Pipeclay Creek on the Casellis road, very seriously injured. Dr. Nickoll had been sent for, and met the injured man as he was being brought into town in Mr. Adam Roth’s van, in which a bed had been placed. The doctor at once saw that the injuries were of a terrible nature, and would probably terminate fatally, and ordered the patient’s removal to Mrs. Crawford’s private hospital.
… Mr. Pye had driven into town to attend the sale yards, and left fairly late in the evening, but his exact movements we have not ascertained. The next time the unfortunate man was seen was at about half-past six yesterday morning, when he was found lying face downwards on the Mudgee side of Pipeclay Creek, with the upturned spring cart lying a short distance in front of him…
When the injured man arrived at Mrs. Crawford’s Hospital, Dr. Nickoll made a further and more detailed examination and he held out practically no hope of a recovery, and about 10.30 last night the unfortunate man expired, without recovering consciousness. The news was received with much regret, as the deceased was well-known in Mudgee, having lived for some time at the West End.”
The Dubbo Liberal and Macquarie Advocate. 15 August, 1922. –
Mrs. Susan Pye, of Eumungerie was driving in a sulky into Dubbo. “She had not proceeded far when she fell out and received serious injury, having sustained broken ribs and suffered much from shock. She was taken to Park View boarding house, where she died.”
The Argus from Belfast Gazette, Feb. 14. 1862
Johanna Pye, the 16 year old daughter of Thomas Pye “was thrown from her horse, and, her foot hanging in the stirrup, she was dragged about half a mile, receiving such severe injuries on the head that, after lingering in a state of insensibility, she died on Wednesday night”.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
Port Fairy Gazette – 7 September, 1925.
John Thomas Madden was riding his Indian motorcycle, to which was attached a sidecar, when he collided with a cow straying on the road. “Mr Madden was thrown on the back of his head, sustaining a fracture to the base of the skull and other injuries.” He was taken to the Port Fairy Hospital. “From the first examination Dr Jones held out no hope, the patient never rallying, he passed away a few hours later.
Tuesday 18 February, 1936. The Argus.
“Geelong and District. Killed in Motor collision.
Henry William Pye “Harry”.
Admitted to the Geelong and District Hospital at 11 p.m. on Sunday suffering from a compound fracture of the skull, Mr. Henry William Pye, aged 24 years, of Verner street, South Geelong, formerly of Ballarat, died early on Monday morning. His wife, Mrs Alice Pye, aged 21 years, who was admitted at the same time suffering from a fracture of the base of the skull, is in a critical condition. Mr. Pye and his wife were returning from Queenscliff to Geelong in a light tourer motor-car when the vehicle collided head on with another car travelling in the opposite direction. Mr. Pye’s car skidded across the roadway and then turned over twice, completely wrecking the hood, portion of the bodywork, and three of the wheels. Mr and Mrs. Pye were taken to the Geelong Hospital by Mr. A. Johnson, builder and contractor, of Ballarat.”
Alice Pye died a fortnight after the accident.