top of page

Local Tragedies 1900 - 1949

The Sunshine District, like all districts has seen it's fair share of tragedies.

The most significant accident was the Sunshine Station Railway disaster in 1908. At that time it was Australia's worst railway accident. 

But there has been many more tragedies in the local district and whether these have been work site accidents, motor car accidents, level crossing accidents, drownings in the district's creeks & pools and murders. Other tragedies have not happen in the district but the families of the district has had to mourn these events.

A sample of these tragedies have been recorded in various Victorian papers.


A fatal accident, Standard Quarries, James Pearce, About 50


Serious railway accident, Henry Charles Edward 'Eric' Nylen, Aged 19


Suicide at Braybrook, John Babb, Aged 47

Cycling home, A young man's lonely death, James William Dalrymple, Aged 21


Flood Tragedy, father and son drown crossing a swollen Creek, William Mansfield, Aged 50 & William Mansfield Jun., Aged 7


The Keilor Motor Fatality - Mary McMahon, Aged 35


Sunshine Railway Station Disaster


Fatality at Sunshine, Edmund Joseph Greenway, Aged 27


Dead on line, fatality near Sunshine, William White

Braybrook hermit's death, Daniel Henkel, Aged 50


Young man drowned, Victor Gilhooley, Aged 23


Drowned while fishing, Edmund 'Ted' Henry Parsons, Aged 22

Fire at Sunshine

Two boys drowned, Ernest Perry, Aged 7 & Thomas McCulloch, Aged 12



Railway Line Tragedy, Man and woman run down and killed



Fire at Sunshine, Harvester works ablaze, Outbreak under control

Killed on crossing, Sunshine tragedy, William Charles Batten, Aged 53

Fire at Railway Station

Fire at Sunshine State School shelter shed

Fire at Sunshine, McKay's stock room

Mysterious fires, Is it arson or the enemy


Fatality at Brooklyn, Timothy Reardon, Aged 45


Fire at Braybrook, Severe damage done

Sad drowning case, Selina Phillips Aged 30 & Alice Amelia May Phillips Aged 3


Maribyrnong drowning case, Ernest Cecil Bennie, Aged 9

A fall of earth, One man killed, another injured, Edward John Thatcher (Former Sunshine resident), Aged 37

Railway Crossing Accident - Arthur Thomas Gore, Aged 36


Fire at Braybrook, Soap Works Burnt

Wheat sampler killed, Thomas Hugh Potts, Aged 52

Sunshine accident, Herbert Williams


Fatality at Brooklyn, James McDonald, Aged 55

Motor fatality on Keilor Rd, Bet Bet Councillor killed, Frank Herbert Brown

Fatality at Sunshine, Boy cut to pieces, Bernard Brooks, Aged 13

Large St. Albans grass fire


Fall over embankment, Maribyrnong Resident's death, Walter Tasman Moss, Aged 52

Hertford Rd Sunshine house destroyed by fire


Fall over embankment, Maribyrnong resident death, Walter Moss, Aged 52

Another drowning fatality - Vernon James Thomas, Aged 7

Level crossing accident, Drover dies from injuries, James Brennan, Aged 58


Fire at Braybrook factory - G. W. Pennell, Burke St, Braybrook

Big fire at Sunshine, Pottery works destroyed


Terrible explosion in Deer Park - Three young women killed, Mabel "May" Veronica Jackson aged 20, Margaret "Maggie" Nelson aged 21 & Florence "Florrie" Smith aged 42

Deer Park tragedy, cause of explosion a mystery - Three men killed, Frederick Ingle, Thomas Askew & Chris Villa

Man killed at a quarry, Crushed by falling metal, Charles Heyward, Aged 47

Raging mass of flame, Three shops burnt at Sunshine, Fire spreads along street

A tragic discovery, Man's dead body and smashed bicycle, fatality on Keilor Rd


St. Albans Quarry, two accidents in past week

Motor bus accident, Driver Garrett injured

Big fire at Braybrook, William James Chinnery

Burning of the Shire Hall, a mysterious occurrence

Family's luck escape, shop & dwelling destroyed by fire, Mungo Peel

Gatekeeper found dead, Isaac Chapman, Aged 48

Missing woman's fate, Body found in river, Annie Louisa Day, Aged 46


Accident, leg caught in cog, leg amputated, Riversdale Quarrying Co, Braybrook, Albert Bennett

Quarry worker injured, Mr J. Barth

Fire at St. Albans, John Stewart, Aged 11 months

Maidstone house fire, Mr. J. Smith

St. Albans house fire, Mr. & Mrs. Clarke

Raft sinks in river, Maribyrnong boy drowned, Robert Newberry, Aged 11

Fire at Deer Park, a hall destroyed

Woman killed, car and bus in collision, Mrs Susan Jones

Fire in Sunshine, Footballers' shed destroyed

St. Albans Fire, Grant Street dwelling



Life's tragic side, Mr Thomas Davey, John Darling Flour Mills Pty Ltd, Albion

Great Sunshine Fire, Flour mill destroyed, Building to be re-built

Fatal skid, cyclist killed, David Leslie Robinson

Woman killed, stepped in front of horse, Margaret Alice Corbett, Aged 50

Fatal morning swim, rescue effects fail, Frederick Charles White, Aged 21

A midnight fire

Maribyrnong explosion

Fire destroyed house, Rosamond Rd Maidstone

A Maidstone boy killed, Francis 'Frank Edward Brown, Aged 14

A midnight fire Hampshire Road Sunshine


Fire at St. Albans

Tragedy at Brooklyn, Motor cyclist killed, David Lionel Robinson, Aged 20

Fire at Sunshine, one house destroyed two damaged, Mr. Steeples' house Benjamin Street


Fatal motor car accident, Miss Jean Calanchini

Motor cyclist killed, William John Stavely

Shocking accident, Station Rd, Deer Park, Malcolm Cameron

Quarryman dies on the job, William George Slater

Tragic death of school teacher, Cora Dunstan, Aged 31

Grim Tragedy, Little boy killed, Robert Tyson, Aged 6

Fire destroys Sunshine State School's tool & fuel house

Died in Africa, Rev. Charles Pearce

Fire at Harvester Works

Pavilion destroyed by fire


Boy's terrible death at Braybrook, John Lindsay Gordon Hodgetts, Aged 10

Young motor cyclist's accidental death, struck Spaniard's market waggon, George Albert Paterson, Aged 20

St. Albans Quarry, Fall of stone, Man leg amputated, Andrew McKeznie

Death of local resident follows car accident, Ernest William Cummings, Aged 37

Car overturns near Braybrook, woman fatally injured, Mrs Florence Temple, Aged about 40

Lorry driver killed at Deer Park, John Philbin

Fire destroys fourteen Christmas suits

Motor accidents on Ballarat Rd, Mrs Florence Temple, Aged 40, killed

Fire partially destroys Albion home, 10 Bazentine Street

Sunshine man found drowned in Yarra, Leslie Leopold Charlton, Aged 34

William Forrest killed


Fatal scalding accident, Edna Clarice Carlton

Workman caught in belt, fatality in quarry, Peter Leslie Dickson

Man killed, motor car overturns, Ballarat Road fatality, Joseph Edney, Aged 32

Former soldier's home partially burnt

Immigrant commits suicide in public gardens

Man drops dead at work, James Flinn, Aged 65

Small fire at Harvester Works


Paisley Station level crossing accident, Doris "Elsie" Hodgson

Shocking accident at quarry, Lewis Self

Modeller, out on visits, homeless on return

Two sons killed, Father commits suicide, Inquest on Sunshine tragedy

Keilor Fatality, heavily laden motor cycle, Ronald George Kirk, Aged 26

Died from injuries, Campbell Beck, Aged 21

Fire in Adelaide Street

Small fire in Sun Crescent

Man's head cut off near Anderson Road Crossing, Cecil George Smyth, Aged 30

Small fire at picture theatre

Retired farmer found hanged at St. Albans, Hugh Robertson, Aged 65

Small fire in Hampshire Road, Mr. Thomas Buttimer's property

Service bus kills postman on Ballarat Road, Edward Horwood, Aged 63

Maribyrnong River Drowning, John Francis Ralph, Aged 30

Small fire, Ballarat Rd Braybrook

Small fire, Lawson St Albion


Little girl killed at Albion, Joan Alexandria Pettigrew

Ballarat Road motor fatality, Inquest on footballer's death, Christopher Irwin, Aged 29

Motor cyclist killed, Thrown under wheel of van, George Henry Hartley, Aged 35

Fire at Maidstone

Explosion at Nobels Deer Park, no loss of life

House and contents burnt at Maidstone


New bridge open at Deer Park, Station Rd after Mr R. Hughes loses his life while trying to ford the flooded creek

Sad drowning, Walter Stirling Hyett (Sunshine) drowned at the Sunshine Swimming Pool (Kororoit Creek)

Pool tragedy inquest -  The deaths of Mrs Jessie Letitia Russell and her two children (Kororoit Creek)

Early morning fire, Sunshine Technical School


Run down by Deer Park train, Well-Known resident fatality injured, Mr William Hugh Stavley

Fatal burning accident, James Henry Bunting, Age 11

Bathing fatality at Sunshine - Unknown youth drowns (identified as Edward Percy Parker, Age 16)

Fire at Deer Park, Empty house badly damaged

Horse and dray falls in quarry hole, Horse put down

Dangerous grass fire


Killed while cranking lorry, George Taylor, Aged 23

Motor cyclist's death, Conflicting evidence, Richard Raymond 'Ray' Dodd, Aged 27

Brooklyn Murder Charge, Accused allowed bail


Two men killed in explosion at Deer Park, James Robinson & Henry Powell


St. Albans tragedy, murdered of Alfred O'Neil by his wife

Greyhounds killed by car, two men injured, James Edward Gahan & Joseph Gahan

Died while riding bicycle, Francis 'Frank' Seymour, Aged 14

More grass fires and a pyrotechnic display

House destroyed by fire

Fatal motor accident, Young man dies, Jack Downes, Aged 21

Youth killed, George Edward O'Boyle, Aged 17

Fire at Leather Cloth Factory

Cyclist killed by car, John Lindsay Goodall, Aged 35

Motor train catches fire at Deer Park Station


Council accused of negligence in Sand Pit fatality, Percival George Rye

Serious accident, Lady who was riding pillion was fatally hurt

Fire at St. Albans, building, contents totally destroyed

Two accidents this week at P.O. Place

Boy dies after being crushed by roller, Albert George Landers, Aged 16

Second death, Overturning of motor car, Albert Eliason, Aged 49

Fire at Deer Park, Mr Nylen's house totally destroyed

Relief for Nicholls Family

Talmage St fire

Mr J. Dickson trampled on and dies

Fire tragedy at Braybrook, Edwin Joseph Nicholls, Aged 4 months

Keilor bus accident, driver injuries prove fatal, John Duffy, Aged 35



How Sunshine spent the holidays, Two Residents Killed, Mr Robert Holland & George Herbert Dickie

John Darling Flour Mills Pty Ltd, Albion - Falls & dies from a 64 feet Fall, George Herbert Dickie (Braybrook)

White City, Mr. J. McCarney, Killed

Workman's fatal mistake, Harold Edward Harris killed at the Australia Reinforced Concrete Works, Sunshine

Deer Park - Burton Hunter falls from father's cart and is killed

Two brothers drown in dam, Sad fatality at Deer Park, Keith Mousley 21 and John Wilfred Mousley 18

Popular citizen dies after accident, William Trueman 38

Holiday accidents, death in hospital, Kenneth James McKay

Australian jockey killed, Raymond "Ray" Leslie Hibbs

Man killed at concrete works, James Henry Banfield, Aged 37

Accident at quarry, man seriously injured, James Henry Miller, Aged 51

Rubbish tip explodes at Deer Park, Many homes shaken, Worker's home damaged

Local man killed on Ballarat Rd, John James Le Sueur, Aged 65

Three men killed in road crashes


Employees injured at Cracker Works, J. Farrar, Amy Bunting & Annie Burt

House Fire, 43 Graham St, Sunshine

Unusual accident cause of man's death, William Henry Wanders

Man killed at Keilor, Francis Goudie O'Neil, Aged 36

Employees injured at Cracker Works fire

Horse bolts, John Perrett killed, Aged 75

Fire at rear of 43 Graham St Sunshine



Youth killed on Ballarat Rd, Sidney Robert Gill

Sad fatality, John N Duncan (Brunswick) killed at Deer Park Railway Crossing

Three killed in Deer Park Explosion, Lillian Gordon, Ethel Foster, Michael Francis O'Gorman

Two Sunshine men killed in shocking accident, First Constable Phillips & William Stewart Ferguson

Fire destroys church, Our Ladies Catholic Church

Result of motor accident, Eric Charles Clooney dies, Aged 25

Resident killed on Ballarat Rd, Mrs Minnie Evelyn Dickie, Aged 56




Fatal accident Ballarat Rd Cnr Adelaide St, Thomas Bromiley (Sunshine)


Fatal motor accident Geelong Rd, Miss Eva Chappell (Sunshine) & Mrs Hazel Day (West Footscray)

Football match fatality, Wilfred David Wunhym (Braybrook) goes home after match and dies

Railway fatality, Eric Joseph Simpson (Footscray) is crushed to death at the Sunshine Railway Shunting Yards

Three killed at level crossing, father, son & another youth, John Smith, William Smith & Dennis Hubert Thornton

Sad drowning, Beatrice May Walter, Aged 3 1/2

Deer Park Store destroyed by fire

Second tragedy at crossing, Man killed going to meet his wife, John Ferris, Aged 59

Local cricketer drowned, Horace 'Horrie' Henry Stevens, Aged 27

Grass fire at Brooklyn

Local resident killed, Robert Gordon Hislop

Fire at cabinet works

Charged-man killed in arms factory explosion, first Maribyrnong fatality

Explosives hut fire, man dies, four hurt, Royston F. Jenson, Aged 25

Man killed in Victorian Explosive factory Melbourne, Francis John Ray Newton, Aged 33

Young woman killed, Maidstone fatality, Eileen Doyle, Aged 25

Another grass fire, Corner of Cornwall Rd & Ballarat Rd

Hume Pipes tragic accident, Charles Collett, Aged 35


Drowning fatality at Deer Park, Three children of Mr James Burnside drowns in the Kororoit Creek


Fatal accident at Quarry, Alexander Campbell (Richmond) was killed at the Stanley Quarries, Sunshine

Explosion at Deer Park, Three men injured, Oswald Opie, Charles Copping & Ray Clayton (Opies dies in hospital)

8 Year old sees his brother drowned, Harold Mervyn Barnett, Aged 9 year

Fatal motor accident, former Minyip man killed, Henry Archibald

Motor cyclist's death - Lawrence "Laurie" Chapman

Accident victim dies, Leslie George Smith

Seized with cramp, Youth drowned, William 'Billy' Graham, Aged 19

Pedestrian fatally injured, Robert Richardson, Aged 50




Obituary - Mr W. Bradford (Braybrook) killed on birthday, Ballarat Rd Cnr Melon St

Local man electrocuted, Leslie Thomsas Ellingsen (Sunshine) received fatal injuries at Nobel's, Deer Park

Council employee injured and dies, Michael James Pickett

Men crushed by steel door, James Bird & William Lodge

Accident at Deer Park, Jack Fisher, Aged 44

Roger Bros Dairy Farm Fire, St. Albans

Two killed in explosion, Clyde James Ries Age 31 & Benjamin Walters Robert Aged 36



Monsanto fatal accident, Desmond Farrell (St. Kilda)

Accidents, Boy fatally injured, Raymond John Cameron, Aged 11 Years

Mr Tom Hiskins dies after accident while changing truck tyre at work

Boy killed in action, 6 persons injured, Eric Tribe, Aged 9 years

Deer Park school destroyed in big blaze

Man killed at Brooklyn, Joseph Henry Bridges, Aged 60


Man killed in accident, Two seriously Injured, William Livingston Ingram

Accident causes death, Mervyn Leslie Dickson passes

Found dead on highway, Youths gassed in truck, Vernard William Carrington aged 19 & Ray Henry Percy Gahan aged 18

Domestic discord, husband fined for assault - Harold Herbert Traynor

Fire after explosion at porcelain factory

Car victim, Thomas Edward Dillon, Aged 37

Explosion victim dies, Robert Taylor, Aged 68


Fatal smash at Level Crossing Anderson Rd, Ian MCDougall (Sydenham)

Struck by a motor cycle, William George McIntyre

Died as result of injuries, Gwendolyn Johnson, aged 20

Explosion injuries fatal, Keith Wilkinson, Aged 23

Seriously injured in explosion, Keith Wilkinson, Aged 23

Fire, Factory of H.V. McKay-Massey Harris


Fatal hit and run accident on Ballarat Rd, Vincent Kearney

Killed by service ambulance, John "Jock" Cairns Paterson

Fire at Deer Park

Ballarat Rd accident, Ernest Henry Alexander Beever

Body of rating found in harbour, Charles William John 'Jack' Blight

Two killed, five hurt in level crossing smash, Florence McKenner & son Garry William McKenner

Seven bodies recovered, tragic aftermath of air disaster, Mr C. H. Grant

Man burned to death after wedding party, Donald Pilkington, Aged 38

Boy killed, Frederick Desmond Keilor, Aged 11

Missing man drowned, Maribyrnong River, Sidney Charters, Age 47


Local resident killed in ANZAC Day collision, Richard Henry Edwards

Sunshine family in shooting affair

Schoolgirl killed, Shirley Margaret Gunner, Aged 13

Sunshine Porcelain Pottery fire

Man's hand crushed, Charles Bone, Aged 42

Body found in drain, Charles Raymond Gibbens, Aged 62

House damaged by fire, 46 Sydney St Albion


Murdered youth was well liked, Norman Hurley (Sunshine Harvester Employee)

Youth drowns West Boort, David John Polan

Died from burns received at home Northumberland Rd Sunshine North, Margaret Adeline Russell

Tragic accident, Doris Elizabeth Hiskins

Former Shire Engineer & Secretary dies from injuries received in car accident - Walter John Andrew

Girl killed on way from school, Lynette Fox, Aged 6 (Grand daughter of Sunshine Residents Roy & Daphne Fox)

Boy killed by bus, David Richards, Aged 4

Sunshine man murdered, Norman Hurley, Aged 19

Motor cycle accident, Master Albert George Robinson, Aged 19

10,000 Pound fire at File Works


Man shot dead testing rifle, George Henry Innocent

Plane blows up in main street, two die in blazing wreckage, Clarence Hugh McBean

Station master killed in tragic accident, Albert George Brown

Fire destroys home, 145 Devonshire Rd Sunshine, Ormond Doak

Plumber killed in fall, James Drane, Aged 26

bottom of page