History, WA History

Poisoned at Day Dawn

Dressed in her best clothes and halfway through drinking her tea, Georgina Hussey doubled over in pain. Unable to bear it, she went to lie down. In bed, she proceeded to have a fit. Horton Sibley, the man she lived with, hovered nearby. He decided to find a doctor. Before doing so, he asked their neighbour, Ellen Clarke, to sit with her. Ellen tried giving Georgina water, but it did not help. After reviving a little, she had another fit. Frightened, Ellen told her younger sister, Janet, to fetch their older sister, Sarah Ann.

Sibley returned without a doctor but received some advice from the chemist, Andrew Taite. It was of no use. Georgina knew her condition was fatal. As Sibley sat beside her, she turned to him and said, “Kiss me Jack, and say goodbye.” On 16 September 1906, at about 7 pm, less than half an hour since the pain started, Georgina Hussey died.

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Historical Snippets

The Case of Frank Griffith

Frank Griffith arrived at Peak Hill in July 1900 after a spell of bad luck prospecting. He obtained employment at the company Peak Hill Goldfields Ltd and started working on the surface before going underground. He planned to recoup his funds before heading out prospecting again.

Peak Hill Gold Mine circa 1900. Courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia (090565PD).

Before starting work underground, he chatted to another miner and showed him some gold he had found at Quinns. The man, seeing a similarity to the specimens at Peak Hill, told him to get rid of it. Frank knew of its origins and was unconcerned. He kept it with him and buried it six inches in the ground at his camp, an act that was common among prospectors.

Almost every prospector had specimens he liked to carry with him, regardless of the risk he ran in keeping them when working for a company.

Mount Magnet Miner and Lennonville Leader (WA : 1896 – 1926); 22 December 1900; Page 2; The Griffith Case
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WA History

The Countess of Bumbinoo

In 1894, a traveller to the Murchison goldfields would board a train at Geraldton headed for Mullewa. They were likely one of many passengers, from the well-dressed new chum to the experienced prospector, all with the same purpose in mind: gold. 

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Historical Snippets, WA History

Cuthbertson Exploration Party

Western Australia – The Coming Colony. – Wanted, a few men, with 250l. each, to join a well-equipped expedition to explore and prospect this new El Dorado, under an experienced Australian explorer; good prospects and profits certain.- Address Cuthbertson. 46. Queen Victoria-street, E.C. [London]

Walter Robert Cuthbertson’s advertisement attracted the interest of ten men: Philip Thomas, Henry James, Alfred Oldham, James Stanford, Robert Muller, Henry Beaumont, John Henderson, Mr W Smythe, Mr H Tarn, and Mr H Walker. Middle-aged, wealthy, and often with backgrounds in mining, they handed over their £250 and signed up for, what sounded like, the adventure of a lifetime.

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WA History

Sister May

Typhoid fever is still very prevalent in the colony. Last week 129 cases with 10 deaths were reported, as against 75 cases and eight deaths for the corresponding period of last year.

Coolgardie Miner (WA : 1894 – 1911); 22 April 1896; Page 5; Typhoid Fever

On 17 April 1896, Sister May, a trained nurse, arrived in Fremantle via the steamship Adelaide. She was born in Bridgewater, Victoria, in 1874, and at age 17, she commenced training to become a nurse at Inglewood Hospital in Victoria. After a year, she moved to Melbourne before leaving for Western Australia in 1896.

Sister May

Two days after her arrival, the Reverend Rowe inducted her into the Sisters of the People. The Sisters of the People was an organisation formed in the 1890s in conjunction with the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Their purpose was to provide nursing services to the sick who could not afford medical help. Often, they went to rural areas. After her induction, Sister May went where she was needed the most and proceeded to Cue.

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Historical Snippets

Bert Snell Goes Missing

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are advised that the following story contains names of deceased persons.

On Christmas Eve in 1933, Bert Snell, who was caretaker of the Yarraquin woolshed, over six kilometres east of Cue, left to visit his mate’s camp. He borrowed some tobacco, and they both walked back towards the shed. Bert’s mate eventually left him, and Bert continued on his own.

On Christmas Day, the manager of the station, Fred Boddington, phoned the shed. No one answered. He continued phoning, but Bert did not pick up. Puzzled as to why Bert wasn’t answering, he made his way to the shed to see what the matter was. When he got there, he found it deserted.

Knowing of Bert’s mate’s camp, he went to see if he had any more information. He told Fred that he walked with Bert a short way, and then Bert continued on his own. He had not seen him since. Fred immediately raised the alarm. Bert Snell was lost in the bush.

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Mysteries

Madoonga Station U.F.O.

As we have been requested in our home State of Victoria to notify the Air Force of any “Flying Saucers” sighted we presume the case to be the same here.

John Morris, 29 April 1955 [NAA: A705, 114/1/197 Page 17 of 210]

The night was clear on Thursday, 28 April 1955. John Morris got up at about 11:15 pm and left his quarters at Madoonga Station near Cue. An orange blur in the distance caught his attention. He called out to his friend, Gary Martin, to look at it. Gary got out of bed and, by the time he got to where John was standing, it had stabilised. An object with orange lights was hovering in the sky. They believed that what they were looking at was a flying saucer.

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Historical Snippets, WA History

A Cue Tragedy

At 9 pm on 23 May 1899, the sound of the bell ringing alarmed the people of Cue. Smoke billowing north-west of the town confirmed their fears: fire.

People rushed towards the origin, and, as they drew closer, many realised that the camp burning belonged to Charles Litchfield, who was the Government surveyor and draughtsman.

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Historical Snippets, WA History

Cue’s Decorated Bicycle Competition

But, as if to make up for the loss of the gum, nature has carpeted the Murchison with wild flowers. The sand in spring time bursts into flower – pink, yellow, and white – in one wave of colour through the land. There are some delicate orchids, but the everlasting is the flower of the Murchison.

The Murchison Times and Day Dawn Gazette (Cue, WA : 1894 – 1925); 28 September 1897; Page 4; The Murchison
Everlastings in the Murchison
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WA History

Frog in a Hole

Harry Ainsworth had done it all. He’d struck gold at Lake Austin, made his fortune, moved into a grand house in Geraldton and in 1895 became Mayor. By the 1900s he’d lost everything. Hoping to recover some of his fortune, he returned to Lake Austin and once more began searching for gold. What he didn’t expect to find was a frog.

Lake Austin with The Mainland in the middle. Courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia (Call Number: 9022.M95H2).
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