Axedale Burial William Ryan 1914

Axedale Catholic Cemetery

 William RyanWilliam Ryan died in the Hustler’s Reef Goldmining disaster in Bendigo. On 02 May 1914 at about 10pm, an explosion occurred on the 13th level of the mine at 321m. All seven miners working at that level were killed. Five widows and ten children were left to mourn their loss. This was the worst mining accident on the Bendigo Goldfields.

From: Bendigo Advertiser, Monday 04 May 1914, page 6


On Saturday night at about 10 o’clock the most terrible accident ever recorded in the history of Bendigo mining occurred at the Great Extended Hustler’s mine, when seven miners were launched into eternity with appalling suddenness. Occurring at so late an hour, and its nature and extent being for some time wrapped in obscurity, the news of the fatality did not become generally known till yesterday morning had advanced, and the first intimation many persons received was when the intelligence was conveyed to hushed audiences in some of the churches.

As usual, vague rumors as to the extent and nature of the accident got abroad, but it soon became definitely known that seven miners had perished as the result of an explosion, not, as is usually the case, at the working face, but in a crosscut and level, by reason of the ignition of a large quantity of explosive material which was stored in the crosscut at a place set apart for it, in accordance with the regulations.

The force of an explosion of this character has often been exemplified. A well-known instance in the history of Bendigo mining is the dynamite explosion which occurred in 1881 at the enginehouse of the New Chum Consolidated mine. The building was wrecked, and seven men were injured, one of them—the enginedriver—succumbing a few days later. On Saturday night the explosion was confined to the crosscut and adjacent workings, and the position of the bodies of the men, and the nature of their injuries are sufficient to show that the men were killed instantaneously.

Four bodies were found in the crosscut and three in the level. The fumes descended into the lower levels, and for a time placed the lives of other miners in jeopardy. Owing to the injury to the shaft, and the necessity to proceed cautiously, some hours elapsed before these men were raised to the surface, after which efforts were made to recover the bodies of the seven miners who had met their death.

How the accident actually occurred will never be known, and explanations can only be surmised. The holes had been drilled in the workings, which are some distance from the crosscut, the machines had been removed, and preparations were apparently in progress for charging the holes. How far this operation had advanced may be explained at the inquest, but the actual cause of the explosion will remain a mystery. If it was through any blunder or carelessness, the man responsible has perished with his companions, and if it was brought about by any unexpected occurrence, its nature is not ascertainable. The explosion itself has removed every clue.

The one dreadful fact remains—that seven men who were looking forward to a respite from work during the day of rest, have been suddenly cut off, and many families have been plunged into mourning. The accident has cast quite a gloom over the city. The most poignant grief will naturally be felt by relatives and friends of the dead miners, but the public generally will be profoundly shocked by what is little short of a calamity, especially when it is borne in mind that practically everything has been done to prevent accidents in our mines that human ingenuity can suggest.

How much provision the deceased miners have made for those dependent on them may be shown in a day or two, but this dire event surely emphasises the necessity for every miner becoming a member of the Miners’ Association or some organisation which provides for him in sickness or in case of accident, and for his relatives in the event of death. We have always contended that this is one of the first duties of every miner, on account of the perils which beset his path from the time he leaves the surface till he returns.

Already movements have been started for the relief of those who may be plunged into distress by Saturday night’s explosion, and it is certain that the public of Bendigo will respond liberally to the appeals which are being made. We can only add that it is with profound sorrow we place the details of this terrible accident before our readers, and in doing so we desire to express our deep sympathy with all who have been called upon to suffer bereavement.

*please note: paragraphs have been added for ease and speed of reading.

 Link to further information about the Hustlers Reef Gold Mining Disaster

From: Bendigo Advertiser, 06 May 1914, page 7 
From: The Bendigo Independent, Monday 04 May 1914, page 6

The funeral of the late Mr. William Ryan, who was killed in the disaster, took place yesterday to the Axedale Cemetery, leaving the residence of his mother, Mrs. Ryan, McLaren Street. It was largely attended, and a choice collection of flowers was received from sympathising friends. Artificial wreaths came to hand from Mr. and Mrs. Palamountain and Bridge Street friends, and Mr. and Mrs. Bacher. The coffin-bearers were Messrs. W. Knight, J. M’Namara, D. Ferrari, M. Ferrari, A. Lindrea, and A. Jackson. The chief mourners were the widow (Mrs. W. Ryan), Mrs. Ryan (mother), Mrs. Bartlett, Miss M. Ryan (sister), Mr. and Miss McNamara, Mr. D. Ryan, Mr. and Mrs. H. Fogarty, Mr. and Mrs. McDonald. The Rev. Father Ellis read the burial service. Messrs. Fizelle and Mulqueen were the undertakers.

in loving memory
william ryan
who was accidentally killed
at the great extended hustler’s mine
bendigo 2nd may 1914
aged 26
sadly missed

The Great Extended Hustlers Mine Disaster Memorial

September 2020), memorial page for William Ryan (1888–2 May 1914), Find a Grave Memorial no. 159241478, citing Axedale General Cemetery, Axedale, Greater Bendigo City, Victoria, Australia ; Maintained by Tony (contributor 47889408) .
“THE BENDIGO ADVERTISER.” (1914, May 4). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 6. Retrieved September 21, 2020, from

WILLIAM RYAN. (1914, May 4). The Bendigo Independent (Vic. : 1891 – 1918), p. 6. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

AXEDALE CEMETERY. (1914, May 6). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 7. Retrieved September 18, 2020, from

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