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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 9 – Disaster

February 26, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Professional genealogist and podcaster Amy Johnson Crow has put out the challenge to genealogists and family historians, to write stories about 52 of their ancestors in 52 weeks.

I am happily taking up the challenge, and look forward to writing stories, that will collate many years of research results. In most cases, the research for my ancestors is not complete, and possibly never will be complete, but I’m hoping to build a story of the lives they lived with the information I have to hand. I’m hoping to publish these stories in a book at the end of 2020. Each week a prompt will be given as the theme for the week.

Week 9: Disaster

THOMAS JAMES JONES was born on 10 May 1856 in Hobart, Tasmania. He was the eldest child of JOSEPH HENRY JONES  and ELLEN VIRGINIA LOWE. He was registered at birth as John James Jones but christened Thomas James Jones, and known as Thomas during his life. Shortly after his birth, the family relocated to Victoria.  He married ISABELLA THOMPSON on November 9, 1892, at Rose Vale Farm, Darlingford, Victoria. Rose Vale Farm was the residence of the bride. Isabella was a widow with six children living, at the time of her marriage to Thomas. Two children had died in earlier years.

Mining Accident 1893

Thomas and Isabella had one son, with another due in just a few months, when disaster struck on November 8, 1893.  On that day, Thomas was killed in a mining accident, where he was mining for gold with his father. His death occurred when an embankment collapsed and buried him.  In April 1894, five months after the death of his father, a son was born to Isabella, but he died when he was 7 days old.

The Coroner, after holding an inquest into Thomas’ death, said “I find, from the evidence addressed, that the deceased Thomas Jones, was accidentally killed working on his claim at the Goulburn River on the eighth day of November, one thousand eight hundred and ninety three, and that there is no blame attachable to any person.


Jamieson Chronicle, Saturday, November 18, 1893
A very sad and fatal accident occurred in this district on Wednesday last, to a man named Thomas Jones, a gold miner. It appears that the deceased, who was about 40 years of age, was engaged taking out some wash dirt from an embankment, on the Goulburn River, near Mrs. Holdsworth’s, in company with his father, who is a strong, robust man of 67 years. The latter left the deceased at work to go and make a billy of tea, and was not absent more than ten minutes. When he returned to the workings to call his son, he found the embankment – that had stood 10 feet high – had fallen, and that his son was buried beneath it.

A few seconds sufficed, to remove the earth from the body, as only some 18 inches of gravel covered him. The father tried all he could to restore animation, but soon found – in despair – that his son, who was a strong, powerful man, a few minutes before, had breathed his last, evidently from suffocation. Information was at once sent to Mounted Constable Stewart, in charge at Jamieson, who proceeded to the scene of the accident and examined the body  but could find no external marks. It is generally supposed that the deceased was in a stooping position, where the embankment fell, which stunned him and rendered him powerless to extricate himself, which undoubtedly, he could have done, had he retained his senses.

Mr. Tresize, the mining inspector for the district, has been communicated with, who states that he will make a strict examination, for the purpose of finding out the cause of the slip of earth. A magisterial enquiry will be held on the body this morning, at the residence of the deceased, which is situated on the Darlingford Road. Deceased – who married the widow of the late William Fry, some 12 months ago, who by her first marriage had 6 children – leaves a wife and seven children to mourn their untimely loss. Considerable sympathy is expressed for the widow, in her second bereavement, as she has struggled hard to bring her large family of young children up in a respectable manner.

Birth certificate:  TAS 1310
Marriage certificate: VIC 1892/193
Death certificate: VIC 1893/12
Death Certificate: VIC 5558
Proceedings of Inquest: VPRS 24/P UNIT 618 FILE1893/1346
Obituary: Jamieson Chronicle, November 18, 1893


From → family history

  1. What a sad accident. It helps to get the description from the report so you know what actually happened. Good research!

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