Disaster: New Years Day Excursion to Axedale Station 1900

From: The Adelaide Observer (S.A. 1843-1904) Saturday 6 January 1900, page 33

MELBOURNE, January 1.

A shocking railway fatality occurred this morning at a point about four miles distant from Bendigo. A vehicle containing a picnic party of eleven persons, of ages ranging from sixteen to twenty years, and driven by a careful driver named James Brown, was crossing the railway line when it was run down by a special train conveying children of the Bendigo Congregations. Sunday School, to the picnicking ground.

The driver, James Brown, states that when crossing the Heathcote line he suddenly heard a whistle, and saw a train, within twenty yards of him. Then came an impact, and he was thrown to the ground. The horses were carried along the line, while the vehicle slowed right round. A boy and a girl in front of the vehicle were injured, but several inside were much hurt.

Dr. Bassett, who was in the train, attended to the injured, who were sent back in the train to Bendigo, and thence conveyed to the hospital.

John Langley was crushed about the head and chest, and has since expired. Benjamin Burston, son of the head teacher at Gravel Hill, has had has arm amputated at the elbow, and is very weak and in a low state from the shock. Blanche Hoskins, a daughter of C. R. Hoskins, is suffering from concussion of the brain, and is in a low condition. Maurice Fogarty has a severe wound in the face. Fred Wickeby has his left arm broken, but has been able to leave the hospital.

The excursion train, after returning to Bendigo, started again for Axedale Racecourse. There is a cattle pit at the crossing where the collision occurred.

The injuries to Miss Hoskins were found to consist of a compound depressed fracture in the top of the skull and concussion of the brain. There are strong hopes, however, that the young lady will recover. Young Benjamin Burston’s injuries are terrible, and it is feared that he will succumb., He had a compound fracture of the right elbow joint, and the lower arm was practically torn off. He has suffered much from hemorrhage, and the shock was so terrible that although the arm has been amputated above the elbow, the patient’s recovery is very doubtful. H. Fogarty suffers from shock and cuts about the face, and is still unconscious, but the case is not considered to be dangerous.

Besides those already named there were several other occupants of the cab, who were only slightly injured, and who went to their homes. By the time the train, with the injured people, arrived at Bendigo Station, ambulances had been thoughtfully provided by the Stationmaster, and Drs. Gaffney and Murphy were in attendance, but the patients were quickly conveyed to the hospital, where Drs. Long and Patnam had everything in readiness to receive them.

At a late hour to-night news was received from Bendigo that Benjamin Burston, who was terribly injured in the railway accident this morning, had succumbed to his injuries. Miss Blanche Hoskins is in a critical condition. The doctors performed the operation of trephining the skull, and found there had been laceration of the brain. Wickeby, who had his left arm broken. is otherwise unhurt. Fogarty’s lower jaw has been found to have been badly fractured.

The vehicle was smashed, and both horses were killed. One of the horses was killed instantly, while the other was carried along for 20 or 30 yards, and reeived injuries from which it died very shortly afterwards.

The scene .that followed was appalling, the occupants of the vehicle having been thrown about in all directions. Instinctively those who were not hurt got out of the road, only to find a large proportion of their comrades unable to do so.

MELBOURNE, January 2.

Miss Blanche Hoskins, who was seriously injured in the railway, accident near Bendigo yesterday, died today, making the third death. The other sufferers are progressing favourably.

An inquest on the bodies of John Langley and Benjamin Burston was opened this morning at Bendigo, The bodies were identified, and a visit of inspection was paid to the scene of the accident. Langley was eighteen years of age, and the son of a well known grocer. Burston, aged eighteen; was a jeweller by trade. Miss Hoskins, aged eighteen, was the daughter of an ex-Mayor of Bendigo.

*Please note Punctuation and paragraphs have been added to the above transcription for ease and speed of reading

“RAILWAY DISASTER IN VICTORIA.” Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 – 1904) 6 January 1900: 33. Web. 24 Mar 2021 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162415889&gt;.


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