Richard PRIEST

Male 1867 - 1912  (44 years)

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  • Name Richard PRIEST 
    Born 8 Nov 1867  Sailors Gully near Beaufort, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [1, 2
    Gender Male 
    Died 19 Jan 1912  Gwalia, Western Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4
    Cause: An accidental blow from a tram car whilst in a state of unconsciousness 
    • Leonora Miner (WA : 1910 - 1928), Saturday 27 January 1912, page 3

      Fatal Accident on Leonora-Gwalia Tramline

      Quite a gloom was cast over the town on Saturday morning when it became known that a man named Richard Priest had been killed on the previous evening on the tramline between the Gwalia Post Office and the tram terminus.

      Deceased was well known on the gold fields, having been on the fields in the early days of Bulong and Balagundi. Latterly deceased had been prospecting abound Darlot with varying fortune. He originally hailed from Broken Hill.

      A magisterial inquiry was held at the Court House on Wednesday, before Mr Bridge J.P., acting coroner, and a jury consisting of Messrs G. Gogan, R. B. Miller, and A. E. Green.

      Mr H. D. Monro, town clerk of Leonora, appeared on behalf of the Municipal Council; whilst Mr J. Griffiths acted in a similar capacity for the Federated Miners Union.

      Patrick Glyne, who had been residing with deceased at Gwalia, gave evidence of identification.

      Constable Cunningham, sworn, stated that in consequence of receiving a report he proceeded to the tramline and saw the body of Richard Priest near a boarding house. He noticed a cut on deceased's head, and also another under the ear. Dr M'cColl, who arrived immediately afterwards, examined the body and pronounced life extinct. With assistance took the body to the morgue.

      To the jury: Cannot trace any one having seen deceased after leaving the car until the accident. Have only heard once of a man being found asleep on the tramline.

      To Mr Monro: Did not know deceased. Do not think the line is any more open than other lines.

      John McColl, sworn, stated he was a duly qualified medical practitioner practising at Gwalia. Remembered the night of the 19th inst. when he received a call to the tram terminus at Gwalia, and found a man named Richard Priest lying near the line. He was quite dead, and amongst other injuries had broken ribs and jaw.

      Dr Kerr, acting medical officer for the Leonora Hospital, sworn, stated that he held a post mortem on the body of deceased, who was apparently about 45 years of age. He had a scalp wound about 2ľ inches long on the right side of the head, an abrasion on the face, and portion of the right ear was missing; there were bruises on both shoulders and body, whilst an examination of the head revealed a depressed fracture caused by some sharp substance, perhaps a piece of stone. There was a fracture of the inner table of the skull on the same spot which had caused some slight hemorrhage on the surface of the brain: otherwise the brain was normal. The lower jaw was fractured and the left side of the chest was crushed in, whilst the lung was punctured. The cause of death was injuries in the chest through shock and hemorrhage.

      In reply to Corporal Anderson, witness said that from his observations, he would say that deceased had been drinking, but he couId not say to what extent.

      Thomas O'Keefe, sworn, stated, that he was acquainted with deceased, and was with him on the night of the 19th inst. They had a couple of drinks together in Leonora, and left by the 11.15 p.m. tram. They both left the car at the old tram terminus. There was a crowd on the tram that night.

      Witness told deceased that he should have gone on to the terminus instead of getting off where he did, and he replied that he would walk over the hill. Witness said "good night" to Priest, who commenced to walk along the tram line. Deceased was slightly under the influence of liquor at the time.

      In reply to a question from the jury, witness considered that deceased was sober enough to walk along the tram line.

      To Mr Monro: Did not hear any one ask deceased not to go on the car.

      Alfonso McCormack, sworn, stated that on the night of the accident there were 43 passengers on the 11.15 p.m. tram, and he did not remember seeing deceased. They left the terminus at 12.7 a.m. on the return journey, and after going a short distance felt the car strike something. After the car stopped he went back to a man lying alongside the line, Deceased only gave two small gasps.

      To the jury : He could not say how far the car was from the body, but the motorman pulled up immediately.

      James Evans, sworn, stated he was an engine driver employed on the Sons of Gwalia mine. He was on the tram for Leonora at 12. 5 a.m. when the accident occurred. After proceeding some little distance from the Gawlia terminus he saw something like a parcel or some clothes some 3 feet from the line. On approaching closer noticed it was the body of a man. He called out to the motorman, who immediately shut off the power and applied the brakes. After going a short distance felt a pronounced bump as if the car had hit the body. In about 15 or 20 yards the car was pulled up and he went back with the motorman, conductor, and a passenger named Gurr. The latter said he thought the man was dead. Witness went for the police and also for Dr McColl, who came immediately and pronounced life extinct. At the time of the occurrence the tram was going about three-quarter speed.

      In reply to the jury witness said he thought the light was not as bright as usual on the night of the accident. In his opinion the man moved as the car came on him. Witness thought at first that the car had cleared him.

      To Mr Griffiths : In his opinion the car was about four or five yards distant when they first realised that it was a man lying near the rails. The motor-man did everything possible to stop the car. Witness, continuing, said he had been riding on the car for three years, and considered motorman Evans to be one of the most careful drivers they ever had.

      F. W. R. Evans, sworn, stated that he was a motorman employed on the municipal tram, and was in charge on the night of the accident. He did not see deceased on the tram which reached the terminus at 11 25 p.m. There was a large number of passengers on the car. On the return journey, just as they reached a spot between Mullane's boarding house and the State Hotel, witness saw some white object on the side of the tram line which looked like a piece of white paper. On getting closer be discovered that it was a man, and immediately shut off the power and applied the brakes. It was about a length or a little more before the car came to a standstill. He did not hear or feel any bump. He immediately ran back to see what had happened, and saw a man lying near the line. The body was parallel with the line. The conductor was with witness at the time. They spoke to the man but got no response. On the night of the accident it was dark and misty. The nearest light to the scene of the accident would be about 130 yards. A passenger on the car named James Evans informed the police, and also at witness' request went for Dr McColl, who, after examining the body, pronounced life extinct.

      In reply to questions, witness said that there was a culvert close to the scene of the accident. The ground there was very rough, and it would be possible for a person to fall and sustain injuries. On ordinary occasions he could distinguish an object 20 yards distant, but the night in question was a dark one, and the light not good. The step of the car was most likely to strike the man, as he was lying close to the rails, but not on the line.

      In reply to Mr Griffiths, witness said the brakes were all in good order, but he was very close to deceased when he saw him.

      The jury returned a verdict that deceased came to his death by an accidental blow from the tram car whilst in a state of unconsciousness, but there was no evidence to show how such unconsciousness was caused. They considered that the tramway officials used every precaution to prevent the accident.
    Buried 20 Jan 1912  Leonora Cemetery, Memorial Drive, Leonora, Western Australia, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    • No headstone, buring in Roman Catholic section
    • Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), Tuesday 12 September 1893, page 3

      THE COOLGARDIE GOLDFIELDS. News from Coolgardie has been received from Mr. R. Priest, who, together with his brother John, are well-known amongst miners in the Ballarat and Beaufort district. The letter is dated 14th August, and is written to Constable Priest, of Ballarat South, a brother of the gold-seekers. The Priest brothers, with their mate, Bob Bodecker, landed in Albany on the 6th May last, and after having been employed at well-sinking at a place called Corona, they travelled by train from Albany to York, and then walked the remainder of the distance of 280 miles to Coolgardie. At the time of writing, says the Courier, they were working at a new rush, about 30 miles from Coolgardie, and they had obtained a little gold. On their arrival at the new rush provisions were very dear, and they had to pay 1s per lb for flour, 1s per lb for sugar, 3s per lb for tea, 1s per lb for potatoes, 1s 6d per lb for preserved potatoes, 1s per lb for mutton and beef, 2s 9d for a 2lb tin of beef, and 7s 6d for a small bag of oatmeal. Flour has also sold as high as £3 for a 50 pound bag. Water had fetched 1s per gallon, but the price was then reduced to 6d. It cost about £2 per week to live, and it was roughing it at that price. Since his arrival in the colony the writer had only obtained a little over 3oz of gold, and half of this was got at Coolgardie. He had been working on a quartz reef for a fortnight, and had a show for a company, but he declined the offer, as the gold was too fine to "dolly." He was working in cement, which had to be pounded up very small to get the gold out of it. On the day he wrote he got 5dwt of gold, and he secured 1ľoz for the previous week. The bulk of the gold was being found near the surface, and nearly all the nuggets were got near the surface. They had to burn the dirt before they could dry blow it, as it was so wet. The writer's brother had been working a reef which carried nice coarse gold, and which, it was expected, would improve as they went deeper. The weather was getting very warm, and the mates expected that they would have to leave shortly, as the water was getting dried up. The country near the scene of the rush was very flat and thickly timbered, and there was no game of any kind to shoot in the locality.

      South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895), Saturday 6 May 1893, page 3
      May 3
      ORMUZ, R.M.S. (Orient line), 6,03l tons, W. E. White, for London. Passengers: For Calcutta -- Mr. W. Sandover. For Albany-- Mr and Mrs. and Masters T. and J. Cook, Mdmes. M. and A. Cook, Mrs. Gliddon and Son, Messrs. F. White, L. Warren, H. Fields, B. Bodeker, H. Adolf, Wm. Creswick, John and Richard Priest, T. Armitage, and Handley For Colombo-- Mr. O. R. Leaks. For London -- Mrs. and Master O. Davies, Miss A. Bowman, Messrs. Chignall, D. J. Wood, H. Green, A. Sae, Chas. Tuby, Jas. Learney, J. B. Kelly, Wm. Umphrey, T. J. Lascombe, O. Applebee, Wm. Bresrahan, A. L. Craig, Henry Slater, F. Bruckshaw, M Harris, and Jas. Coghlan, Professor and Lady Herberlet, Mr., Mrs., and Miss Berry, Mrs. Manuel and child, Mr. and Mrs. Pemberton, Mrs. Keays, Miss Knaffle, and Miss Broadbent in the cabin, and original passengers in all classes en route. [6, 7]
    Person ID I9974  Colston & Wenck families in Australia
    Last Modified 2 Apr 2017 

    Father John "Jack" PRIEST,   b. Abt 1822, Welshpool, Montgomeryshire, Wales Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Aug 1879, Sailors Gully near Beaufort, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 57 years) 
    Mother Mary Ann HILL,   b. Abt 1839, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown 
    Family ID F6087  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 8 Nov 1867 - Sailors Gully near Beaufort, Victoria, Australia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - Cause: An accidental blow from a tram car whilst in a state of unconsciousness - 19 Jan 1912 - Gwalia, Western Australia, Australia Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - 20 Jan 1912 - Leonora Cemetery, Memorial Drive, Leonora, Western Australia, Australia Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend Address Cemetery Farm Town Parish City County/Shire State/Province Country Region Not Set

  • Sources 
    1. [S15] Pioneer Index Victoria 1836-1888, (Melbourne, The Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages, 1998), 1867/20098.

    2. [S570] Victoria: Registry of Births Deaths & Marriages - uncertified image of register, (, Richard Priest, born 8 Nov 1867, Sailors Gully near Beaufort.

    3. [S366] Western Australia online historic index of births, deaths and marriages, (, Priest Richard, District: Mt Margaret, Reg'N No: 4, Year: 1912.

    4. [S342] Australian Newspapers, National Library of Australia, 1912 'Fatal Accident on Leonora-Gwalia Tramline', The Leonora Miner (WA : 1910 - 1928), 27 January, p. 3. , viewed 21 Aug 2016,

    5. [S840] Outback Family History, (, Leonora Cemetery.

    6. [S342] Australian Newspapers, National Library of Australia, 1893 'THE COOLGARDIE GOLDFIELDS.', The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 - 1954), 12 September, p. 3. , viewed 21 Aug 2016,

    7. [S342] Australian Newspapers, National Library of Australia, 1893 'Shipping News.', South Australian Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1889 - 1895), 6 May, p. 3. , viewed 22 Aug 2016,