Stepney Alured Clarke 1839-1889 NSW :: Genealogy
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Stepney Alured Clarke 1839-1889 NSW

Journal by janilye

As a 10 year old, I recall sitting on Blaney railway station in the middle of the night waiting to change trains for Cowra, where I was a boarder at the school. I would sit on the hearth in the waiting room trying to keep warm by the a dying fire. Today, when I remember Blaney I remember thinking it was the coldest place on earth.
I've since found out that Blaney was also the scene of one of the most frightful suicides on record, which took place on Friday night 12 April 1889 at about a quarter to 8 o'clock.
Mr. Stepney Alured CLARKE, the council clerk, blew his head off with a charge of dynamite.
I believe, just as shocking, was the graphic detail in which the press of the day published the story.

[A brief telegraphic account has already appeared, but we take the following details from the S. E. News.] A special council meeting was to take place at 8 o'clock, and a finance meeting at half-past 7. When the finance meeting met they found the papers and everything on the table ready for the meeting, but the council clerk was outside conversing with Alderman Gillkrest. He shortly afterwards went into the council, but soon left again, and a very few minutes afterwards a report was heard which shook the Town Hall. The mayor and Alderman STINSON then went out, and on going at the back of the Town Hall they found the council clerk lying at the back of the hall with his head completely blown off and the skin and brains scattered all over the wall of the building. Some time after deceased's hat and a portion of his skull were found in the yard of the Commercial Bank, which adjoins the Town Hall. The report of the explosion caused as much excitement as though an earthquake had occurred, people running out in the streets in all directions, wondering what had taken place. It appears that a special council meeting was called in consequence of the last audit, just finished, showing a probable deficiency of about ?70, and it is supposed that the council clerk was endeavouring to get Alderman GILLKREST to assist him in his unpleasant position, and, having failed, he thus put an end to himself. After the unfortunate thing occurred Mr. BARRY, one of the auditors, received a letter through the post thanking him and the other auditors for their kind consideration and not blaming them at all. Alderman Gillkrest also received a letter enclosing the key of a box in the council chambers, stating it contained something belonging to Mr. BLOOD, a cousin of deceased. The box has not yet been opened. Though a diligent search has been made for the key of the safe it cannot be found anywhere. The explosion broke some windows in the vicinity. In addition to severing the head from the body, deceased's legs and one arm were broken. Deceased is well connected in England, and one of the oldest residents of this district, and this sad end has cast quite a gloom over the town. If the explosion had occurred in the council chambers of the Town Hall it is most likely the aldermen would have been blown to atoms. Crowds of people assembled to witness the horrible sight.]

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by janilye Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2011-06-05 13:06:05

janilye - 7th generation, Convict stock. Born in New South Wales now living in Victoria, carrying, with pride 'The Birthstain'.

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by jrourke on 2014-09-01 21:32:04

Yes, I remember waiting near the fire in the cold for a train. Luckily I wasn't waiting for another train though, as Blayney was my stop.

Thanks for sharing.

by janilye on 2014-09-01 21:55:09

Lucky you, home to a warm house.
Just thinking (Travelling alone on trains at 10.) Wouldn't hear of it these days; and I did that from age 9 to 15. One night I remember there wasn't any fire and the train was hours late. The station master came into the waiting room and tossed a long metal container onto the floor and said "Here! put your feet on that". It was filled with hot water I think; anyway, I ended up sitting on it.

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