Tag Archives: Filmer

Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses

Transport is important to us in one form or another. If nothing else it sure beats walking.   However, the subjects of this installment of Misadventures, Deaths and Near Misses should have stuck to Shank’s pony.

Click on the links to read each article in full.

HORSES

Described as an “energetic” gentleman, Fred Heathcote, having just displayed his cricketing prowess on the field, gave a display of his riding prowess.  Unfortunately, his mount was  freshly broken and reared, falling onto Fred.  Despite an operation in excess of four hours, Fred was expected to make a full recovery

“Look what I’ve done, I’ve broken both my wrists” were the words uttered by Frank Millard upon seeking help after a horse accident.  Frank’s horse had taken him under a low branch.

In 1896,the horse of William Lucas shied at two dogs and somersaulted.  William received concussion, the horse was shaken.

A witness description of the accident involving John Beglin in 1894, suggested the horse “danced on the man while on the ground”  This sounds like it was rather a spectacular fall in which John sustained possible internal injuries.

HORSE DRAWN VEHICLES

Add a wooden attachment to horse, laden with people,  and accidents are bound to happen.  Take, for example, Patrick Power of Byaduk in 1889. The Port Fairy Cobb & Co coach was not far from Koroit when it broke an axle and tipped.  The coach driver fell on top of Patrick leaving him in need of medical attention

Not so lucky was  Oliver Filmer also of Byaduk. In early January 1900, Oliver and six others were returning from an outing to the Byaduk Caves when the horses bolted down a hill.  The buggy went over an embankment and capsized.  All the occupants were thrown out, including Oliver who sustained head injuries and later died.  Oliver was father-in-law to Absalom Harman, the son of Reuben.

In 1901, Mr H. J. Thompson was standing on the back board of a buggy as it went up a steep hill near Wickliffe.  The buggy wheel fell into a rut, Mr Thompson fell forward and hit the wheel with his leg.  Suffering lacerations and a dislocated knee, he was still able to catch the train home from the Wickliffe station.

Thursday April 20, 1876 was a day of accidents and  Mr & Mrs Webley  and their daughter, all of Byaduk, were caught up in the dramas.  While returning from Hamilton to Branxholme in the darkness, a pin holding the buggy shaft fell out and Mr Webley turned the horse across the road to stop it, but the horse went up an embankment, dropping Miss Webley out the back.  The horse then continued on down a cutting and Mr & Mrs Webley tumbled out.  Mr Webley received cuts, Mrs Webley, a broken arm and Miss Webley was not injured.

Similarly, on the same day, Alfred Bennett had a hair-raising experience when his horse, pulling a dog-cart, bolted.

Lucky Hector McDougall had “no dangerous consequences” after his accident when he tangled with a dray’s wheel.

Table Talk. (1864, December 5). Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 – 1876), p. 2 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article64632822

Mr Blackney, was left with cake on his face after an incident in Hamilton in 1942.  While his back was turned, his horse bolted, pulling a cart laden with cakes.

CAKES FLEW WHEN HORSE BOLTED. (1942, September 15). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72705327

I’m sure a piece of cake helped residents recover from their “mild shock” at finding cakes at their front gates.

After a fun day at the Byaduk Coronation Celebrations in 1911, which included a fancy dress football match, the Smith Familyof Warrabkook met with disaster while travelling home.

SERIOUS ACCIDENT AT BYADUK. (1911, June 27). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73162971

CARS & MOTORCYCLES

If horses and carts weren’t bad enough, throw cars and motorcycles into the mix, and disaster was almost ensured, especially if they all came together at once.  It also appears that with only a lucky few having a motor vehicle in the early days, it was not unusual to pile as many people into the car as possible.

Driving a Damlier home from a day’s shooting at Kirkstall in 1914, George Lock and his four passengers came to grief on the Port Fairy Road on the outskirts of Warrnambool.  It was 7.15pm and the road was dark and narrow.  George, having moved aside for an oncoming car, failed to see the unlit cart of a Chinese market gardener following behind the car.  His car hit the cart sending vegetables across the road.  Debris hit the car’s steering wheel sending the car out of control and into a fence and embankment, throwing the occupants from the car.  George Robinson received the most serious injuries, a ruptured liver.  The Chinese gentleman was lucky to avoid injury and was last seen chasing his horse, also very lucky, down the road.

T.S.A Laidlaw had a scary experience in his new Oldsmobile after leaving Byaduk bound for Macarthur.  The car got into the gravel, crossed the road, went over a prostrate telegraph pole, up an embankment and then overturned.  The car was extensively damaged, Mr Laidlaw wasn’t.

Robert Rymill, a 38-year-old grazier from Penola met a tragic end in a very early motoring accident.  In 1906, he was driving his 15hp Darracq from Melbourne home to Penola when he failed to take a sharp turn at the bottom of a hill, taken while travelling at 12mph.  The car’s wheels slipped and it overturned.  Robert’s passenger, his young gardener was thrown clear, but Robert was pinned underneath the car.  While initially conscious, Robert had passed away by the time help arrived.  This was despite the best attempts of his passenger.

If you are wondering what a Darracq looks like, this clip shows a much more powerful 1905 model travelling a lot faster than 12mph, but you get the idea.

Mr Dotzauer, in 1904, was riding his motorcycle between Terang and Noorat when a horse ran across his path. Mr Doutzauer broke his collar-bone, damage to the motorcycle and horse unknown.

Mrs Living got more than she bargained for when she hitched a ride in Mr E.J.Coopers sidecar one Friday night in 1932.

HORSE JUMPS INTO SIDE-CAR. (1932, April 19). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved October 18, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72600659

Len Austin’s accident was caused by a truck tyre, but no, it didn’t run over him.  While working as a road contractor, he noticed a bulge in the truck’s tyre.  The tyre suddenly blew and the expelled air caught him the eye.

Messrs. W Smith and Michael Hickey’s day took a turn for the worse in 1923 while driving a gig with a saddle horse tied to the shafts.  A car with five occupants approached and the saddle horse, obviously not used to the mechanical beasts, shied and found itself on top of the car.  The car rolled, but with plenty of help on hand, it was righted and the driver and his passengers continued on to Horsham.  The horse’s journey ended at the scene.


A Life Cut Short

In September 1929, the Advocate from Burnie, Tasmania, reported on the Harman family and their longevity.

Family's Longevity. (1929, September 10). Advocate (Burnie, Tas. : 1890 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved December 19, 2011, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67674788

Jonathan died the next year, George made it to 96, Walter 90, Alfred 81 and Sarah (Mrs Adams), 86.   Add brother James who died in 1916 at the age of 86 and the average age of six of the seven children of Joseph and Sarah Harman that came to Australia was 88.

Reuben Harman did not achieve the longevity of his siblings. He died in 1883 aged 44 but if he had of lived on, he would have been the third pea in a pod, with brothers James and Jonathan.

Reuben was born in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire in 1839 and by the age of 12, he was already working as an agriculture labourer as the 1851 UK Census shows.  He was the youngest of the trio of brothers who sailed to Sydney aboard the “Kate” in 1854, aged 15.

The earliest record I have found of Reuben in Australia, was in 1864 when he married Elizabeth Oliver.  Elizabeth was the sister of Mary Oliver who had married Jonathan Harman two years earlier.  They resided in Byaduk where Reuben farmed with his brothers.  He acquired land and his  home property was “Berry Bank” at Byaduk.  Reuben and Elizabeth raised six children:

Bertha:  Birth: 1866 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1892 to Felix Alexander James FULLBROOK ;  Death: 1932 at Nambowla, Tasmania

Absalom:  Birth: 1868 at Byaduk’;  Marriage:  1904 to Hazel Maud FILMER;  Death 1954 at Bannockburn, Victoria.

Gershom:  Birth: 1869 at Byaduk;  Marriage: 1905 to  Elizabeth HILLIARD;  Death: 1940 at Hamilton.

Jessie:  Birth: 1871 at Byaduk;  Marriage:  1898 to Walter GREED;  Death: 1949 at Hamilton.

Beatrice:  Birth:  1878 at Byaduk;  Death:  1929 at Hamilton.

Sarah Mulbery:  Birth: 1880 at Byaduk; Death:  1931 at Hamilton.

I have found two references to Reuben at Trove , both from the 12 months prior to his death.

The first  article about Reuben was for a transfer of a lease from himself to brother Jonathan,  found in the Portland Guardian of May 23, 1882.

The Guardian. (1882, May 23). Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953), p. 2 Edition: MORNING.. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71582275

The second, in The Argus of August 19, 1882, reports on  the Hamilton ploughing match at Strathkeller, east of Hamilton.  Reuben won Class A, a division down from Champion Class, in heavy conditions.  His plough of choice was the Lennon, also favoured by brother James. He rounded out the day with a second place in the Best Harness class.

HAMILTON PLOUGHING MATCH. (1882, August 19). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1956), p. 11. Retrieved January 2, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11550437

On April 28, 1883, Reuben Harman passed away aged just 44.  I must get his death certificate (in a long line of other must get certificates), to find what took Reuben so young, when his siblings lived long lives.  Reuben was buried at the Byaduk Cemetery.

Headstone of Reuben, Elizabeth, Beatrice and Sarah Harman, Byaduk Cemetery

James Harman was the executor of Reuben’s Will and was very exacting in his application for probate.  Reuben’s estate was to the value of  £1226, quite a tidy some in 1883.  His assets included 128 acres of land, divided into two parts, one with a two roomed slab hut with an iron roof and slab partitions.  There was also a further 26 acres of land, 3 horses, 17 head of cattle, 150 sheep, a buggy and a almost new plough.  There is  a record of an interest he had in selected land of 70 acres.

After Reuben’s death,  Elizabeth was left to care for the children, then aged 17 down to three.  The first to marry was Bertha in 1892, when she was 26.  Gershom and Jessie also married, however the two youngest daughters, remained unmarried.  Elizabeth, Beatrice and Sarah eventually moved into Hamilton, with the two girls working as knitting manufacturers.

In 1907, Elizabeth returned to Byaduk to represent her family in a photo at the Byaduk and District Pioneers day.  She appears in the group photo from the day.

Elizabeth died in 1919 at Hamilton.  Beatrice and Sarah only lived for another 10 and 12 years respectively, both dying at 52.

This is last story of the four Harman boys who travelled independently to Australia.  The final three Harman siblings, Sarah, Walter and Alfred, travelled with their parents, Joseph and Sarah to Australia.  Sarah was 11, Walter 10 and Alfred only three.  The stories of those three Harmans are very different from their four older brothers.


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