Coincident Deaths 1927

From: Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) Tuesday, 4 October 1927: Page 7

Remarkable Tragedy
MELBOURNE, Monday. Tragic circumstances distinguish an accident .which occurred at Bendigo early, this morning. A youth was killed and three other persons were injured. The steering gear of a car failed at a bend, and the vehicle dashed through the parapet of a bridge and plunged into a creek, twenty feet below.

Another man was injured while attempting to render assistance.The casualties were –
Killed. James Francis Drake (18), school teacher, of Bendigo.
Injured Mrs. Bridget Cahill, dislocated sholulder, severe abrasions, and shock.
Thomas William Drake (15), severe abrasions and shock.
Edward Patrick. Drake (20), head injuries, abrasions, and shock.
Andrew Ryan (57), butcher broken leg.

The party, comprising three brothers and their aunt, was proceeding to Axedale, after receiving a message that Mr. Edward Drake, father of the boys, had collapsed and was dying, He had been injured a week previously by falling on some stones while chasing a horse to drive to the funeral of a friend, and did not regain consciousness. Mrs. Cahill was driving the car. When she was about to turn from Baxter Street into McIvor Road, the steering gear failed.

The vehicle ran over the footway, and crashing through the railing, of the bridge, fell into the creek, coming to rest overturned across a cement. invert used for flood purposes. The occupants were immersed in about three feet of water.

Ryan, in attempting to reach the trapped people, jumped from the bridge, and broke his leg when he struck the creek bed. The noise of the crash attracted a crowd, and the occupants of the car were soon released. James Drake was then dead. It was thought that his head struck the concrete invert.

The other injured were conveyed to hospital. Mr. Drake, sen. died about the time of the accident. A double funeral of father and son will be conducted to-morrow.

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

“COINCIDENT DEATHS” Examiner (Launceston, Tas. : 1900 – 1954) 4 October 1927: 7 (DAILY). Web. 4 May 2021 <;.

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Private Charles McKenzie – Killed In Action. Gallipoli

Private Charles McKenzie

Service Number: 357

14th Australian Infantry Battalion

Australian Imperial Force, First World War 1914-1918

Born in 1894, at Axedale, Victoria Australia

Parents: William and Mary McKenzie

Enlisted at Melbourne

Next of Kin: Mary McKenzie, Chillingollah, Victoria, Australia

Died aged 21, on 8 August 1915 at Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Turkey. Killed in Action.

Cemetery or Memorial Details: Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Cannakale Province, Turkey


The following form was sent to Private McKenzie’s mother to fill out and return to ensure her son’s name was listed on the Roll of Honour at the Memorial War Museum

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mckenzie.jpg

AWM145 Roll of Honour Cards 1914-1918, War, Army

Railway Disaster Inquest 1900

From: The Weekly Times, Melbourne, Vic 1869-1954, Saturday 13 January 1900, page 26


The adjourned inquest on William John Langley, Benjamin Burston, and Blanche Hoskins, who were killed in the New Year’s Day railway disaster, was resumed on Monday, before Mr Dwver. P.M.. and a jury of seven.

The Coroner, in summing up, said that it was clear that the engine driver had given two whistles, which were heard by the drivers of other vehicles. It seemed clear that the responsibility of the accident rested upon James Brown, the driver of the vehicle. He apparently was lost in thought and heeded nothing. It was for the jury to seriously consider whether he was guilty of manslaughter.

After an adjournment of an hour and a half, the jury brought in a verdict that the deceased met with an accident by a collision between the cab and the train, and that the driver of the vehicle was guilty of negligence, but not wilful negligence; that the railway department contributed to the collision by not having the belt of timber at the approach to the crossing removed; and that they (the jury) were of opinion that the whistle, when approaching the crossing, should have been of much longer duration. The Coroner said that the verdict regarding James Brown was ambiguous. The jury, after a consultation, said they did not find him guilty of manslaughter.

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

The plaque below was erected in memory of those who died in the New Years Day railway accident.

The marble tablet below, was erected by teachers, scholars and friends of St Paul`s Sunday School in memory Blanche Lois Hoskins, John Langley and Benjamin Burston who died from injuries received in the New Years Day train accident.

Plaque 2 : 22-April-2015

From: The Argus (Melbourne) 20 June 1900

A large congregation assembled at St Paul’s Church on Tuesday night, when Archdeacon MacCullagh unveiled a tablet in memory of Blanche Lois Hoskins, Benjamin Burston, and John Langley, the victims of the New Year’s Day railway fatality. Archdeacon MacCullagh referred at some length to the circumstances surrounding the calamity in terms of regret and sorrow, and a special service was held in connection with the ceremony. 
The Argus (Melbourne), 20 June 1900.

THE AXEDALE DISASTER. (1900, January 13). Weekly Times (Melbourne, Vic. : 1869 – 1954), p. 26. Retrieved March 24, 2021, from

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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 <;.

How Bushfires Are Caused 1893

Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), Friday 7 April 1893, page 3


An elderly man, giving the name of Charles Seward, was brought up at the City Police Court (Mr Leader, D.M., presiding), yesterday, on remand charged with wilfully and maliciously setting fire to a fence belonging to Mr. N. Ingham, of Axedale, on the 29th of March. The prisoner pleaded not guilty.

.Sergeant Fahey, who conducted the prosecution, stated to the bench that the proceedings had been brought under the 196th section of the Crimes Act.

Napthalie Ingham, contractor quarryman, and licensed victualler, residing at Axedale, deposed that the prisoner called at his hotel on the 29th of last month, at about eight o’clock in the morning. Witness was behind the bar, and accused ordered a pint of beer, which was given him, and for which he paid. Accused said, “I have come from Melbourne. I am going to Toolleen to work for a man there for 8s per week and my keep.” Witness said, “You needn’t go any further, I’ll give you that.” Accused said, ” All right.” Witness wanted to put accused to work at once, and he said that he was not particular for that day.

Accused commenced to blow the bellows in the blacksmith’s shop, and witness said to him, “If you’re going to start work, you’d better get the axe and barrow, and go out for some firewood.” Accused replied, “The **** barrow is no good, and I can’t use it.”

Witness then told him that he had better “move on” along the road to the place he intended making for originally. Accused asked for a glass of beer, but witness refused to give him any. Accused then left the place.

That was about 10 o’clock in the morning. About four o’clock that afternoon, in consequence of something he heard, he visited his property, which is situated on the Toolleen road. He took two of his men with him. They found about half a mile of brush fencing burning. Witness and his men with the assistance of several other persons extinguished the fire. The damage to the fencing amounted to about £20, Witness was positive the accused was the man who was in the bar on the morning in question, and he did not give the man the slightest provocation.

Sergeant Fahey (to prisoner) : Have you any questions to ask the witness?
Prisoner : No. It is quite correct what he says.

.John Johnson, a laborer, working at Axedale, deposed that on the 29th of March, he was walking along the road from Axedale to Toolleen. When about four or five miles from Axedale, he saw that Mr. Ingham’s fence was on fire in two places. He got a green bough and tried to beat out the fire, but could not do so. He walked on for about 20 yards, when he came across the accused, who was just getting up after having set lire to the fence in another place. Prisoner : You did not.
Sergeant Fahey (to prisoner): You’ll have an opportunity of questioning the witness later on.

Witness continuing: The accused produced a card upon which the address of P. J. Cooney, Campaspe East, was written, and said ” Am I on the right track for that ?” Witness replied in the affirmative. Accused said to witness,” Did you see me drop my match?” and witness replied, ” Yes; you set fire to the fence.” Accused asked to whom the fence belonged, and witness replied that it was the property of Mr. Ingham. Accused said ” What? That Lancashire **** on the hill. If I had known it belonged to him I would have set fire to it in 40 **** places.” Witness and accused walked along the road for some distance until they reached the place where witness was cutting wood. Accused sat down on a log and told witness that he had been at Ingham’s, but left there as he did not like cutting wood for women, and besides, the wheel barrow was no good. He sat down on a log and afterwards went to sleep.

The P.M. : Did it not surprise you to see the man setting fire to the fence?
Witness : Yes. I couldn’t understand it unless he had a “down” on Mr. Ingham.
The P.M. : But in any case did it not surprise you?
Witness : Yes.
The P.M. Didn’t you try to put the fire out?
Witness: Yes. But I couldn’t do it, as the flames were over my head.
The P.M. Did the accused help you?
Witness : No. He walked on ahead.

To Sergeant Fahev : When I was returning home in the evening, I saw Mr. Ingham and some other men putting the fire out. I gave him a description of the man I had seen set fire to the place. A man named Collins was there, but he came after I had seen the accused set fire to the fence.

Prisoner: Was it not a mile away from the fire when you caught up to me ?
Witness : No, it, was not 200 yards.

The P.M. You said that you saw the prisoner getting off his knees after setting fire to the place? Witness : Yes.your worship, I was about 50 yards away when I saw him set fire to the fence. When he saw me he walked quickly away, so that it was about 200 yards from the fire before I caught up to him.

Prisoner: Did I.not sit down on a swag and wait for you?
Witness: No.

Sergeant Fahey: Have you any other question to ask?
Prisoner : It is no use asking him anything.
Sergeant Fahey : If you could shake his evidence, it would be of some use to you.

In reply to Sergeant Fahey, the witness stated that on the day following the occurrence, he gave a description of the man to Constable Haydon. He was positive that the accused was the man.

Prisoner: Did you see me set fire to the fence?
Witness : Yes I did.
Prisoner: You did not.

Sergeant Fahey : The witness is on his oath, and his statements must be accepted.

Mounted-constable Haydon deposed that the matter was reported to him on the evening of the 29th. He arrested the accused the same night, camped about a quarter of a mile from Toolleen. There was another swagman with him at the time. After looking at both men witness said to the prisoner, ” Where did you come from?”

Sergeant Fahey: Why did you address tho prisoner?
Witness : Because he tallied with the description given me by Mr. Ingham.
Sergeant Fahey : What did he say to your first question?

Witness stated that the accused said he came from Axedale. He produced a Labor Bureau ticket bearing the name of Chas. Seward and addressed to P. J. Cooney, Campaspe East. Witness told accused that he was charged with setting fire to Mr. Ingham’s fence, and he replied ” I never set fire to it, and anyone who says that I did would be telling a lie.” Accused was then taken into custody. On the following morning witness saw Johnson, who gave him a description of the man whom he had seen setting fire to the fence. The description tallied exactly with the accused.

This closed the case for the prosecution.

The P.M. (to the accused): You are at liberty now to make a statement if you choose, or you can be sworn and give evidence on your own behalf, but I tell you that on the evidence that has been adduced, you will be committed for trial. I would advise you to reserve your defence until the case comes on in the higher court.

The prisoner: I would like this court to deal with the case now.

The P.M: It cannot be dealt with here. It is a felony.

The accused was then committed to take his trial at the next sitting of the Supreme Court for the hearing of criminal charges, to be held on the 26th inst.

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

HOW BUSH FIRES ARE CAUSED. (1893, April 7). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2021, from

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O’Keefe Rail Trail Axedale #OnePlaceJoys

The O’Keefe Rail Trail

When I saw the prompt one #OnePlaceJoys, I immediately thought of the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Whenever I’m on it, either riding my bike or walking, it really does gladden my heart. I like to think of the rail trail, as my ‘happy place’. I’m sure it brings much happiness to the residents of Axedale also, as it’s existence enables families to exercise in safety, away from the traffic. I love seeing others enjoying the trail as much as I do.

The O”Keefe Raiil Trail is a disused train line between Bendigo and Heathcote, a distance of approximately 45 kilometres. Axedale is situated about halfway along the trail. Trains stopped running in 1956. The disused trail remained unused until the first section of The O’Keefe Rail Trail was opened in 1993. There are plans in place for the trail to continue on from Heathcote to Wallan. It is envisaged that in the future it will be possible to ride the entire distance, from Bendigo to Melbourne, on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. I truly hope that I’m healthy enough to do it, when the time comes.

OKeefe Rail Trail

When I was living in Axedale, I loved being able to ride or walk outside the front gate, and almost immediately, be on the rail trail. As a keen cyclist and walker, I’m a passionate advocate for the O’Keefe Rail Trail. The safety of the rail trail is perfect for families. Cyclists also feel safe on the rail trail as they are separated from the traffic. I would have appreciated having a rail trail, such as The O’Keefe, so that my children and I could have ridden our bikes in peace and safety.

As an added bonus, The O’Keefe Rail Trail is very scenic. Venturing along the trail, you will pass through many different types of scenery. There really is much to see, including nature reserves and box ironbark and yellow bark woodland reserves. Very little remains of the former train stations along the trail, but where possible they are marked with station signs.

Axedale – Then and Now

History on the Rail Trail

In 2018 a traditonal railway goods wagon, which was once used by the Railways, was placed on the rail trail, to honour the railway line. The railway wagon was covered with graffiti, but has since been restored by volunteers.

Bike Repair and Water Stations

The Friends of the Bendigo Kilmore Rail Trail have installed to bike repair stations on the trail. One of these is situated at Axedale Park. These stations provide a rack for hassle free bike repairs, repair tools and a foot inflated pump for pumping up tyres. This repair station is a great asset for the Axedale community as well as the rail trail, as locals are able to use it for their bike repairs. Situated near the repair station is a potable water station, which can also be used by the community.
O’Keefe Rail Trail brochure
O’Keefe Rail Trail A4 map

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Affiliation Case Axedale 1904

From:  Bendigo Advertiser, Tuesday, 20 September 1904, page 4


Much time was taken up at the City Court yesterday in hearing a ease in which Bridget McGrath, a young unmarried woman, proceeded against James Hawkins, for the maintenance of his illegitimate child. The parties both reside in the Axedale district. Mr. Kirby appeared for complainant, and Mr. O’Halloran for defendant.

In answer to Mr. Kirby, complainant stated that on the 10th October Inst. Hawkins, who is the son of a neighbor, in company with a man named Frawley, came to her home. She gave them afternoon tea, and the two men then went outside to sharpen their axes. After doing this, Frawley departed, and witness went out to take in some clothes off the line.

She took them into her bedroom, and Hawkins followed her, and took advantage of her. About the first of May, she asked Hawkins to marry her, her sister Nellie, also asking him. Hawkins was promised a farm, and a sum of money, if he would marry her, but he refused. She had been put to a good deal of expense by her confinement. Ellen McGrath, sister of the previous witness, deposed, that when she found out her sister’s condition, she spoke to Hawkins. He denied the paternity, and said he had only put his hands on complainant’s shoulder.

James Hawkins, the defendant, denied on oath having anything to do with Miss McGrath on the day mentioned. He admitted, however, being at the house for some time on that day, but nothing unusual occurred. It was only about 10 minutes from the time Frawley left, till Nellie Hawkins arrived at the house. .

After taking farther evidence, the magistrates adjourned the court for 10 minutes, to consider their verdict. On returning, Mr. Moore P.M., said that they had decided that the complainant had proved her case.

An order was made for the payment of 7/6 per week, with £10 pre-maternity expenses, and £3/7 costs. The defendant was ordered to find one surety of £50, as a guarantee that he will comply with the order. On the application of Mr. O’Halloran, three days were allowed, to find the surety.

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

“AFFILIATION CASE.” Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918) 20 September 1904: 4. Web. 11 Sep 2020 <;.

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The Axedale Platypus

The Axedale Platypus is a sculputre that sits alongside the Campaspe River on the Axedale Riverwalk. In 2013, the Axedale River Reserve was rejuvenated, and the platypus was an addition that was made at the time. The reason for choosing a platypus as the sculpture to depict Axedale, was because native playpus are known to inhabit thie Axedale section of the Campaspe River.

Victorian artist, Yvonne George was the artist selected to create a sculpture depicting “an exciting aerial view interpretation of a platypus, moving through and creating, rippled water movements” –

Before the form of the statue was decided, the artist held an outdoor workshop at the River Reserve, with residents, who gave her their inpu, and contributed ideas towards the design of the statue.

The finished statue is made of steel and stands over two metres tall. If you are on the Axedale River Walk, which is abutts the Reserve, and forms part of the O’Keefe Rail Trail, you cannot miss the imposing presence of The Axedale Platypus.

Along with the installation of the Platypus structure, at the Axedale Riverwalk, there are now native plantings, new picnic tables and benches.

The Axedale Riverwalk is a beautiful and peaceful place to visit in any season, and while there, I never tire of looking at this sculpture. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a platypus in the river, but I always look when walking or riding by.

From: The Riverine Herald, Saturday, 07 March 1908, Page 2

Friday. March 6

In yesterday’s “Bendigo Advertiser” a paragraph appeared, re the finding of a platypus at Axedale, and also stating that the animal is rarely found in Victoria. There are numbers of Ornithorinchi, in the Campaspe, in the neighborhood of Rochester, and on any evening, they can he seen disporting in the deep holes, by anyone who can keep quiet.

The rivers in Gippsland, notably the Morwell, Tyers, Tarwin, and the Traralgon Creek are alive with them. In the Morwell river a dozen can be seen at a time in one hole. There is also a goodly number in the Merri and Hopkins rivers at Warrnambool. The Gellibrand and Carlisle Rivers, in the Beech Forest are a favorite haunt. Dozens of streams, which the writer has visited, contain the animals, but they are generally to be found away from towns. – The platypus is far from being extinct in Victoria.

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This sign can be seen on the Axedale Riverwalk

*Ornithorinchi – refers to Ornithorhynchus anatinus which is the species name of the platypus, sometimes called the duck billed platypus. The platypus is a semi aquatic, egg laying mammal.

ROCHESTER. (1908, March 7). The Riverine Herald (Echuca, Vic. : Moama, NSW : 1869 – 1954; 1998 – 2002), p. 2. Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

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Deaths of Two Children 1874

From: The Bendigo Advertiser, Wednesday 28 October, 1874, page 3

The district coroner held an inquest yesterday at the Raglan Hotel, Axedale, on the body of Ann Mulcare, a child ten weeks old, who had been found dead in a cradle on the previous day. The evidence given showed that the child had been left at home, in charge of an elder sister, whilst the mother was in Sandhurst.

The child had been put to bed, but on going to the cradle afterwards, the sister found that the child was dead. In putting her to bed, care was taken that the clothes did not cover her face, and these were in the same position when it was discovered that the child was lifeless.

Dr. Macgillivray stated that he had made a post-mortem examination of the body, which was that of a well-nourished child. The brain was much congested, and the lungs in part only, showing that the child had not been suffocated. The cause of death was congestion of the brain. The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical testimony.

An inquest was subsequently held at Drake’s Hotel, Campaspe, on the body of Bertie Gloster, a child five months old, who also died on the previous day. Rosa Gloster, the mother, stated that a week ago, the child took a cold, but finding that it was not getting better she determined to come to Sandhurst for medical advice. On the road, about two miles from her place, the child died. Dr. Macgillivray stated that the cause of death was acute pneumonia and pleurisy, and the jury returned a verdict to that effect.

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

INQUESTS. (1874, October 28). Bendigo Advertiser (Vic. : 1855 – 1918), p. 3. Retrieved February 22, 2021, from