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Hamley Bridge Railway Station, South Australia
THIS is part one in a series of three on this fatal rail accident near Tarana where eight died and nine were injured.
The accident was caused by the derailment of the rear carriages of a western-bound mail train due to a broken rail.
Bathurst's Beavis Bros travelled out to Tarana in their buggy to take these albumen images on April 27, 1892.
Rail accidents in NSW always attracted a morbid curiosity, with crowds travelling out to see the aftermath of wreckage and human carnage.
Almost two years previously to the day, on April 25, 1890, there had been another accident on the Great Western Line near Bathurst.
Bathurst newspapers recorded the earlier event when a mixed train, after being shunted at Kelso Railway Station, set off to climb the one-in-50 grade.
It stopped at Raglan Railway Station in order to unload parcels and allow passengers to be set down and others to board.
Unfortunately, the drawbar between the third and fourth vehicles broke, allowing the release of the bulk of the train, which ran back down the hill, there being no continuous airbrake throughout the train.
This allowed the runaway train back down the grade and it crossed the Macquarie River bridge and ran into the Bathurst Railway Yard. There, it collided with the awaiting following goods train.
Four passengers in the rear of the mixed train were killed and three others injured.
Almost two years later, on April 27, 1892, tragedy struck again. Newspaper reporters were quickly on the scene as there would be an inquest as bodies had been located.
The accident took place between Sodwells and Tarana Station and was described as a terrible scene.
The accident occurred within three miles of Tarana, at a point at which the line runs between two high banks of rock.
The cause of the accident turned out to be a defective rail near a curve. The engine, lavatory car and main portion of the sleeping car had passed over it.
The hind part of the sleeper appeared to have left the rail and the mail van telescoped and then crashed into the boulders, dragging with it the brake van.
The guard, being on the alert, noticed the jar at once. Having put on the brake, he jumped with his companion out into the darkness and so escaped serious injury.
The ends and sides of the mail van were driven in. Mail guard Mr Wiburd and his assistant were engaged in the van at the time and were driven with force under one of the benches.
The letters were strewn about in all directions in the van, but none were thrown out.
Mr Wiburd left the van as soon as assistance arrived, then found that his hip had been injured, but not seriously.
The mail guard had narrowly escaped death, and but for the temporary protection of the bench, must have sustained serious if not fatal injuries.
Dr Kirkland was ably assisted in the Bathurst hospital by Mr Mills, the resident dispenser, and the nursing staff, who were occupied for three hours in dressing the wounds.
Every attention was paid to the injured ones and it was not thought that any of the cases would prove fatal.
The injured were conveyed into Bathurst on a train before being taken to hospital in any available horse-drawn carts.
Among the passengers was Mr McGowan, secretary of the Railway Ambulance Corps, who had been on his way to Dubbo to deliver lectures to the pupils.
He rendered signal service to Dr Kirkland and others in their attention to the wounded.
The members of the Bathurst Ambulance Corps also put the knowledge they had obtained to practical use and were among the foremost in rendering assistance at the Bathurst station.
Alan McRae is with the Bathurst District Historical Society.
This article first appeared on www.westernadvocate.com.au
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