Danger on the Roads

Danger – always present in varying degrees but rarely thought about.

Being alive is dangerous

Crossing the road is dangerous

Driving a car is dangerous

And a hundred years ago driving a horse and buggy could be dangerous.

Here is  a photo taken on the occasion of the wedding of Garnet Waldemar Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923.  There was someone missing from the wedding.

The wedding of Garnet Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923

The wedding of Garnett Fricke and Ida Kirk at Maryborough in 1923

The bridegroom, Waldemar Garnett Fricke  ( 1881-1940) was the baby of his family and the eldest of the family had been a brother Charles Frederick Henry Fricke, born in 1865.

But one day in October 1911 Henry was trotting along  Bucknall Street in Carisbrook , in Central Victoria, driving his horse and buggy with Mr Bruhn, a former Mayor and a butcher, as his passenger,  Garnett was a farmer and the pair of them had been visiting Mr Bruhn’s farm.  They came to a railway crossing which was about 100 yards from the Railway Station and were looking at the Melbourne bound train which was standing at the station. But they failed to notice that the train from Melbourne, travelling in the opposite direction, was nearly upon them until it was too late.

Newspaper reports tell how the train crashed into them.  Bruhn was thrown over the fence of the railway line and was cut about the face and bruised on the chest.  Henry was thrown under the train and had his legs nearly severed.  He died a few hours later after having been taken to the Maryborough Hospital.

A prze winning horse and buggy from the State Library of South Australia

A pr1ze winning horse and buggy from the State Library of South Australia

This is an example of a four wheeled buggy used in Australia

In November the coroner  heard from witnesses who gave conflicting evidence about the train’s whisle being sounded.  He brought in a verdict of death by the culpable neglect of the driver and the fireman  who were charged with manslaughter and  were sent for trial.

Then in December  a Nolle Prosequi was issued, i.e. the case of manslaughter would not go ahead possibly because of the difficulty of proving the case.  I believe this is not the same as an acquittal and the case could have been re-opened in the future.

The now unusee Carisbrook Railway station as seen from near the Nucknall St crossing.

The now unused Carisbrook Railway station as seen from near the Bucknall St crossing.

You can see how it was a single line track but originally there was a short piece of parallel track so that two trains could pass.  On the day of the accident one train was in the station waiting for the other to pass.

Another view of the station platform but this time looking towards Bucknall St

Another view of the station platform but this time looking towards the Bucknall St  crossing.

A Goole Map showing the raiway line running from bottom letft to top right and crossed by Bucknall  St to the right of the image.

A Google Map showing the railway line running from bottom left to top right and crossed by Bucknall St to the right of the image.

You can see the two railway buildings, one each side of the line, towards the bottom left of the image.  The platform is the upper building.

 

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A cautionary tale for any era.   Don’t allow yourself to be distracted when driving. It’s too dangerous.

Now I’m off to see who else has been living dangerously in the danger-themed week at Sepia Saturday

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13 thoughts on “Danger on the Roads

  1. La Nightingail

    That is a sad story and your admonishment should be taken to heart because I think we’ve all been there at one time or another, distracted for ‘just a moment’ while driving – looking down for a second to adjust the sound on the CD player or change the temperature setting . . . whatever . . . and you look up and something has suddenly happened in front of you! Your heart races, you slam on the brakes, and usually, thankfully, you stop in time and hopefully the person in back of you does too.

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  2. gluepot

    A poignant story, and I particularly like the photos of the abandoned station platform and railway track, which somehow bring a lot more gravitas to the tale.

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  3. Jackie van Bergen

    Those poor men, they really didn’t know what hit them did they?
    I think there are still quite a few country crossings in Australia like this – I never trust the flashing lights etc and double check and double check.

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  4. Bob Scotney

    And we still get similar accidents to people in cars and on bicycles today; people take their lives in their hands when they ignore warning lights and traffic barriers.

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  5. Mike Brubaker

    A very interesting presentation of an unfortunate accident. Just this afternoon my dog learned a lesson about the consequences of not looking when crossing a street. She had escaped though the garden date to chase an imaginary rabbit and a moment later on returning she didn’t see a car coming and collided with the rear wheel, narrowly missing the front bumper and tires. She was so frightened that she raced back into the house and cowered in her safe cubbyhole until reassured that she was okay. Of course I was the one who neglected to watch the gate. Inattention is indeed the main cause of accidents like this.

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  6. jofeath

    Excellent photographs and historical research, as usual. Nolle Prosequi does mean that the case could have been reopened if further evidence had come to light, but it sounds like it never did. Even though the driver and guardsman weren’t convicted and probably believed they had blown the train’s whistle, they would have had to live with what happened for the rest of their lives.

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  7. Pingback: Why we need a Garden | Bound for Australia

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