1900 to 1909

Historical information from 1900 to 1909.


January, 1900

• A triple fatality occurs at the McIvor Road crossing on the outskirts of Bendigo.

The year starts with a tragic accident on New Year's Day. A picnic party, heading from Bendigo to Axe Creek, does not see or hear an Up picnic train on its way to Axedale, approaching the McIvor Road crossing [Junortoun]. Two persons are killed and three are injured. [One of the injured dies later, in hospital, as a result of her injuries.] Hundreds visit the scene the following day with much evidence still visible. The gatehouse had been removed and replaced with cattle pits some time past. There is an even worse trap, the crossing beyond Axe Creek where the road branches off towards Kimbolton. [This would probably be Giri's Road which crossed the line at an angle.]

The inquiry into the deaths of John Langley and Benjamin Burston takes place at the Bendigo Hospital where formal identification occurs. The inquiry is adjourned until January 8th. The local District Traffic Superintendent, places an engine and van at the disposal of the jury and they are driven out to the scene. Miss Blanche Hoskins succumbs to her injuries and becomes the third fatality. She is the daughter of Cr. Hoskins and was 17 years of age.

The jury is taken to the top of the incline near Grassy Flat [This would have been near Atlas Road.] where a good view of the contour of the road and railway line is obtained. The jury rides down the road in a cab while the engine proceeds to the crossing. After seeing the tests, the majority of the onlookers favour the idea that the Gatekeeper should be retained at this point as, due to the approaching angle and thickly shaded timber, a train cannot be seen if anyone approaching is more then 30 yards [27.5m] from the crossing. [The people in the vehicle that the accident vehicle had passed just before the accident, had no difficulty in seeing that a train was approaching as they were reported as having tried to give warning. The Gatekeeper was withdrawn on 13/2/1896 and there were no reported accidents in 4 years.] The Commissioner of Railways, Mr. Mathieson, while deploring the lamentable accident, does not consider that the blame for the casualty should be thrown upon the Department. All that is required is due care when approaching level crossings. Also, as there is no turntable at Axedale, trains terminating there must run tender first in one direction. [The view that the responsibility of care should not be that of those crossing rail lines still exists today.]

December, 1900

• Among others, Napthali Ingham's publican's licence is renewed.

March, 1901

• Olinda Oliver, a dressmaker of Ingham's Siding, Axedale, reports that her white muslin dress, a violet coloured cashmere dress, two pink blouses, a flowered muslin blouse, a blue print blouse, a violet and brown silk sash, and five white muslin aprons, have been stolen at the Bendigo Station. The value is £3.

August, 1901

• Trespassing on the railway:

A youth, aged 14, named James Boland, appeared at the City Court yesterday to answer a charge of trespassing on the railway near Axedale, on the 6th July last. The circumstances under which the charge was brought are of a decidedly novel character, and Mr Kirby, who appeared for the defendant, adopted a line of defence quite in accordance with the unusual nature of the offence.

Inspector Borsum, of the Railway Department, prosecuted, and told a peculiar story. He said that the defendant had been working for a woodcarter at South Heathcote, but had evidently decided to leave him and come to Bendigo, where his mother resided. On the 6th July, he was found on the railway line near Axedale, in a bruised condition, bleeding from a wound on his hand, and suffering from lacerations generally.

Constable Burke, of Axedale, was communicated with, and the lad told him that he had got on the train at North Heathcote, and while leaning out of the carriage window, had fallen, owing to the door suddenly opening. He stated that he had paid 8/6 for his ticket. The lad was taken to the Axedale police station, and afterwards treated at the Bendigo Hospital where he remained for a week.

It had since transpired, however, that the boy had not fallen out of the train at all. He was walking along the line, and had attempted to board the train while it was in motion, with the result that he had met with the injuries described. Evidence in support, of the prosecution, was formally tendered.

Mr Kirby said that it was true that the lad was walking along the line. The train was going very slowly up the hill between Knowsley and Axedale, and as the defendant was imbued with true boyish instincts, the idea of clambering on to the buffer entered his mind, and he proceeded to do so. Suddenly, however, he was knocked off his "perch," and in addition to being bruised and wounded, he was rendered half unconscious. His (Mr. Kirby's) impression was that the lad really believed he had fallen out of the train at the time he told his story. He thought that a very light fine would meet the case.

The Bench inflicted a fine of 2/6, with £2/4/6 costs. Inspector Borsum, remarked that if the costs were not forthcoming, no steps would be taken to press the lad for their recovery.

December, 1901

• Following a request for them, the Strathfieldsaye Shire Council receives a letter from the Acting Commissioner of Railways, regretting that he could not see his way to put in cattle pits at the crossing near the Axedale Station, and also stating that the current approaches appear to be in good order. A further communication states that the passenger traffic at Axedale Station is not sufficient to justify any station building expenditure. Mr. Burke moves that the Department be again urged to construct cattle pits, and that district Parliament members support the request. He also moves the same thing for improved passenger accommodation.

No entries for 1902

October, 1903

• The 6.05am train from Bendigo, emerges from the cutting after having just passed the picnic [Axedale Racecourse] siding, when the Driver sees a man, John Hamilton, aged 53, lying across the rails. He is thrown from the cowcatcher and receives severe injuries to his side and head. He is taken by the train as far as Knowsley [possibly Heathcote] and then by litter to Heathcote Hospital. There is little hope for his recovery.

Hamilton is well known in the Axedale district and had been employed for years as an engine driver on the railways. He had more recently been driving a wood saw at Axedale station. Recent rains had swollen the creek [Hargreaves Creek] between the station and the town, making it impossible to get to the station other than by the rail line. He may have been going to work via the line when the train came along.

A later article states that Hamilton said he was employed by Mr. S. Rahilly, and was out looking for his horses. The train had come along and he was trying to get out of its way in the cutting when he tripped and fell on the rails. If the speed of the train had not been so reduced by its driver, Hamilton would probably have been killed.

John Hamilton, is rapidly progressing towards convalescence and will shortly leave hospital.

March, 1904

• A shocking fatal accident occurs on the railway line near Axedale. A line Repairer is killed, the accident being witnessed by his wife and three children, aged 2 to 5 years, who were also involved.

The victim is Edward Booth, aged 43 years, residing at Ingham's Siding, between Axedale and Knowsley. The family had been attending a picnic that was held at Axedale Racecourse, and he was taking his family home on a trolley. The party had just reached what is known as Heffernan's Cutting [between Ingham Siding and the Campaspe River] when they saw a train approaching from Knowsley. Booth stopped the trolley, jumped off and assisted his wife and children. He was trying to remove the trolley when it was struck by the train. Although Booth was clear, the trolley was not, and it was sent flying. A piece of it struck Booth, inflicting a gaping wound to his forehead, fracturing his skull, breaking several ribs and badly smashing his left hip. He had persisted in his efforts to remove the trolley, but did not have enough room to get himself completely out of harm's way. The family was conveyed by the train to Bendigo where they went to hospital.

Booth had worked for the Railways for 14 years and had been stationed at Ingham's Siding, in charge of the line from Axedale to Knowsley, for the last 4 years. He died a few hours after the accident.

The article continues with a comment that the line has earned an unenviable reputation for lamentable railway fatalities. It also mentions that there have been many railway trolley accidents throughout the state. [I remember as a Repairer in the 1960s that a new regulation came into use where permission had to be sought from the Train Controller before any track inspection vehicle was to be placed on a running line.]

• The Railways Commissioners decide to cancel the train running from Bendigo to Heathcote and back on Mondays and Tuesdays. The train will now run on Saturdays only.

• Owing to confusion with the similarity of the names 'Axe Creek Station' and 'Axedale Station', the Stationmaster, Axedale, sends a letter to the Shire of Strathfieldsaye, stating that the Railways Commissioners invited the Council's attention to the similarity which was causing delivery problems. A resident suggests that the place be called 'Koala.' The Commissioners preferred a one-word name. 'Stonebridge Park' had previously been proffered. Cr. Long suggested 'Longlea' which was eventually used.

August, 1904

• The Bendigo Fire Brigade plans to hold a picnic at either Derrinal or Axedale on New Year's Day.

February, 1905

• A meeting is held at Riley's Hotel, Bendigo, to protest at the increased freight rates for firewood. The rate for a 12 ton truck from Axedale was raised from 18/6 to 23/- or nearly 25%, making it the same as from Heathcote. The Chairman of the meeting suggested that carters cart their wood to Bendigo by road.

April, 1905

• The train service is now reported as such, that the feat of traveling 15 miles [24km] each way from Kilmore to Pyalong and back, takes two days.

November, 1905

• A great many Sunday schools have availed themselves of the opportunity to hold their annual picnics outside Bendigo with no fewer than 13 outings with 20 trains. Covered-in trucks will be used on account of the heavy demand on the Department's resources. Five special train trips are arranged for Axedale.

December, 1905

• First Prize for the Axedale Station in the Railways Gardening Competition. The Stationmaster is Mr. J. Nankervis who took over in 1904. He is ably and willingly assisted by Ganger Cummins and his staff who have made a wonderful difference to the station's appearance. Mr. Nankervis took first prize for Sebastian Station before his arrival at Axedale. He is about to be transferred to Bayswater.

September, 1906

• Nearly 3 inches [76mm] of rain falls and the Campaspe River rises 20 feet [6m] in 4 hours. By midday, it is within a few feet of the top deck of the railway bridge. The railway bridge was in great danger at the height of the flood as immense trees bumped into it. The flood waters washed the embankment away where Kimbolton Road passes under the nearby bridge, causing the rails to drop several inches. The river at the railway bridge must have been half a mile [0.8km] wide. The racecourse was almost completely submerged. The McIvor Road bridge was completely under water for several feet and immense logs were passing over the handrails without any difficulty. the level exceeded the 1970 levels by several inches.

The telegraph wires which are attached to the rail bridge are broken in several places and tangled against the great logs piled up 20 [6m] or 30ft [9m], against the bridge, completely cutting off communication with Melbourne.

Mr. Heffernan, of Marydale, will be a big loser with fencing, the whole of the fence on the flat being down. In fact the fencing for a quarter mile on each side of the river is down.

The usual train from Bendigo, due at Axedale at 5.30am, did not arrive until 7.30am and had to proceed slowly over the river and its approaches. Nearby bridges have been washed away.

• Napthali Ingham is proceeded against for neglecting to furnish proper returns of his income for the years 1903, 1904 and 1905. Ingham, 'not well up with figures', had got his wife [Mary] and daughter [Alice Louisa] to fill in his return. He is fined £10 for 1903 and £20 each for 1904 and 1905, as well as the addition of double the amount of tax evaded in each case.

January, 1907

• Axedale Stationmaster, Mr. J.H. Lewis, has been transferred to Bayswater.

As this article is a little hard to read, its contents are repeated here.

The local station has again been awarded first prize for the best kept station in its section. The prize is £7/7/0 and the Stationmaster, Mr. Lewis is to be complimented on the vastly improved appearance of the place.

The trees planted last year are kept in a well forward state and will soon afford welcome shade to those who are often compelled to wait for belated trains. A large variety of flowers has been kept in bloom throughout the hot weather, a strip the full length of the buildings along the platform making a particularly good show. Numerous big sunflowers, at present in full bloom, have a very pretty effect, and are quite a relief to the eye when everything else is dry and burnt up. When it is remembered that the plants and trees have all to be watered by hand at regular intervals.

Mr. Lewis deserves great credit for the excellent appearance of his garden station. His efforts are ably seconded by Ganger Cummins, who takes special care to have the roadway, platform and yard in faultless condition. [Was the water supplied from the well where Ganger Spain had his accident in 1890?].

May, 1907

• The Strathfieldsaye Council had again requested that the crossing gates at Axedale be replaced with cattle pits. After due consideration by the Railways, the request is again denied. However, instructions for better operation of the gates are issued.

August, 1907

• Complaints are made to the Railways Department that Bendigo excursionists were refused permission to enter the recreation reserve at Axedale last Boxing Day. The Secretary for Lands advises the Commissioners that necessary instructions have been issued that the right of the public to access the reserve must be at all times maintained.

September, 1907

• One of the most sensational railway accidents that has occurred in the Northern District for many years, took place at Ingham Siding where, through the alleged failure of a Signal Adjuster to re-lock the points, a train loaded with timber, and consisting of an engine, 26 trucks, and a guard's van, crashed into a wood siding, smashing several trucks to matchwood, and leaving things in a general state of chaos.

The privately-owned siding, under Government supervision and management, about 50 yards [46m] in length exists for the convenience of woodcutters. At 7.15am, a train with Signal Adjuster O'Sullivan on board, left Bendigo for Knowsley for goods purposes. It was O'Sullivan's job to examine, clean and oil the points at various places on the line. He alighted at Axedale to attend to his duties there, while the train proceeded to Knowsley. Having finished at Axedale, he proceeded to Axedale Racecourse and then Ingham Siding. He was in sole possession of a key for the purpose of unlocking and locking the various points. Ingham has an Annett Key lock attached to the points.

Sullivan unlocked the points to perform his work and, as it eventually was approaching the time he was to be picked up back at Axedale, he hurried his work and then hurried back to Axedale. In the siding at Ingham were five trucks, one of which was loaded with wood. O'Sullivan neglected to close and relock the points, thereby leaving the path set from the running line into the siding. The train was signalled leaving Knowsley but eventually became long overdue at Axedale and could not be heard approaching. The Stationmaster, Mr. Philpot, remarked to O'Sullivan, 'I wonder where the train is.' O'Sullivan realised, when looking for his key, that he must have left it in the points at Ingham. He placed a trolley on the track and headed for Ingham, hoping to arrive before the approaching train.

Approaching Ingham from Knowsley, there is a long decline of 1:50 [2%] gradient. As the loaded train passed over the points, it was suddenly diverted into the siding at about 40 miles [64km] per hour. The Driver applied the Westinghouse brake but could not stop in the short distance. The wheels tore up the rails and the locomotive buffers struck the first two empty vehicles in the siding. At the other end of the siding, almost at the dead end, were three other trucks, one loaded with wood. These were crashed into, propelling the dead end buffer stop into the air. The engine continued on past the dead end, ploughing its front wheels into the clay, sinking up to its axles. It had carried the five trucks in front of it and one of the trucks ended up 30ft [9m] in the air, on its end, on top of the others.

By some fortunate means, the locomotive, a new D.D. type, escaped with hardly a scratch, while Driver Seymour escaped with a severe shock. Fireman Bell, with a dislocated shoulder after being thrown from the footplate, picked himself up and started walking to Axedale to report the accident. He met Signal Adjuster O'Sullivan. Details were telegraphed to Bendigo and a casualty van was despatched to the scene.

A following mixed train from Knowsley, with passengers, was brought up to the scene, about 20 passengers walked around the accident, and continued to Bendigo in carriages attached to the casualty van. They were delayed two hours.

A large gang, under the supervision of District Officers, cleared the scene. The telephone wires were tapped to provide telegraphed progress reports to Melbourne and Bendigo. The truck which was standing on its end over the funnel of the engine was brought down with difficulty. The railways steam crane was requisitioned from Newport to retrieve the 93 ton tender and engine on temporary rails to the track, as well as the other vehicles. Signal Adjuster O'Sullivan is suspended.

Had the mixed train, with passengers, preceded the goods train, as often happens, the results would have been disastrous.

A general report of the cleanup is published:

A large gang of workmen made an early start yesterday morning to repair the damage and clear away the debris at Ingham's Siding, half way between Axedale and Knowsley, where the wood train on Wednesday, as already reported, crashed into a dead end, through the failure of Signal Adjuster 0'Sullivan to relock the points leading from the main Bendigo line.

By nightfall, the wreckage had been stacked on a special casualty train, which had been sent to convey the ruined rolling stock to Newport. Tho train arrived in Bendigo on its return journey at 8.30p.m., and the half-dozen trucks were piled high up with wreckage. This was left in Bendigo last night, and Roadmaster Campbell, who had superintended tho work of laying the new rails at the siding, returned again to the scene of the disaster to superintend the replacing of the engine on the rails.

During the day, the tender was hauled on to siding by means of the steam crane. Assisted by flare lights, the workmen labored until a late hour to extricate the engine, which, after great difficulty, was pulled back on the rails. As far as could be seen last night, the engine has escaped serious damage. In a few days the "dead end" will be replaced. When the workmen completed their labours last night, the siding had been repaired sufficiently for trucks to be run there for the convenience of wood merchants today.

October, 1907

• A horse falls into a cattle pit at Axedale and is killed, the cow catcher is twisted and the brake gear damaged.

November, 1907

• Five special trains are timetabled for the Hibernian picnic at Axedale. However, the event is poorly patronised with only 35 passengers presenting. The railway authorities put it down to too many picnics at this time.

December, 1907

• Axedale farmers hold a picnic. Unfortunately, the newspaper coverage is completely unreadable.

May, 1908

• Axedale again wins Best Kept Station. This time, its the chrysanthemums and other plants.

February, 1909

• Cr. Somerville, Strathfieldsaye Shire Council, moves that a deputation should ask for a grant in connection with the Axedale Recreation Reserve. As the Railways run weekly excursions to Axedale, that would be a good argument in favour of the application.

March, 1909

The Government Gazette announces that the temporary reservation, by Order of the 24th October, 1870, of one acre of land in the town of Axedale, being Allotments 1 and 2 of section 6, as a Common School, is about to be revoked.

May, 1909

• Mr. J. Ingham, an Axedale resident, passes away at a Bendigo hospital. An obituary is published:

A very well known identity of the Bendigo district, in the person of Mr. John Ingham, of Ingham's Siding, Axedale, died in Nurse McKinnon's private hospital during Saturday night, at the age of 80 years. The deceased gentleman was a native of Lancashire, and came to Australia about 1856 being followed a couple of years later by his wife. He followed the occupation of a quarryman at Brunswick for some time and then came to Axedale, where he carried on an extensive business for the past 30 years. Ingham's Siding was named after him. The late Mr. Ingham paid a visit to England some time ago but returned to his business again. He became ill some weeks ago and was a patient in Nurse McKinnon's private hospital for the past three weeks. His death, which was not unexpected, occurred as stated during Saturday night. The deceased gentleman leaves a widow and one daughter, two sons having pre-deceased him. The funeral will take place today from the residence of Miss A. Barfield, in Olinda Street, Quarry Hill.

[During research for this collection, I became puzzled about a number of things: (1), I had two Ingham's - Napthali and John and references to both of them being involved in the quarry business at various times; (2), I had reference to an old building on Ingham's Hill, Axedale, as being Ingham's Hotel and, elsewhere, as Deane's Hotel; (3), I had indications that, when John Ingham died, Mr. V.A Deane appeared and was involved in the same activities and at the same places as Mr. Ingham. Further research around these points eventually gave clarification.

Clarification 1 - The Births, Deaths and Marriages Index did not show the death of a John Ingham in 1909. However, the details shown in the above obituary, are identical in every way with the BDM Index details for Napthali Ingham. That tells me that they were one and the same or, if you like, Napthali was commonly known as John.

Clarification 2 - Napthali Ingham owned Ingham's Hotel on Ingham Road, Axedale, when he died in 1909. He was survived by his wife, Mary Ann [nee Cheshire] and a daughter. The daughter is Alice Louisa. Alice married Victor Allen Deane in Toorak in 1909 and they would have come to Axedale, to her mother, Mary Ann, at what was then, Ingham's Hotel. In other words, from 1909, the Deane's, and Alice's mother, were living at the Hotel from that time forward. There is the connection to both the Ingham's Hotel and Deane's Hotel names. Mary Ann Ingham died in 1920 at Axedale.

Clarification 3 - As Victor Allen Deane was Napthali Ingham's son-in-law, it is not unreasonable to assume that he should 'inherit' or take on, the quarrying activities that Napthali Ingham had been pursuing up to his death. Victor died in Bendigo at the age of 70 in 1948].

This site is hosted by CoffeeCup S-Drive.
Please email any comments, errors or additions to