Tag Archives: train

The Tragic Death of Alfred Rantanen near Ethelton Station.

 

The Tragic Death of Alfred Rantanen near Ethelton Station.

 

Headstone of Alfred and Laura Rantanen, Cheltenham Cemetery.

On Saturday 14 August 1926, a body was found lying near the train tracks between the Ethelton Train station and the Port River. It was estimated that at about 6:24 pm, Mr Alfred Waldamer Rantanen had been walking home to Fairfield Terrace at Glanville Blocks. Rantanen used the railway bridge as a short cut, he was struck by a train that was heading to Ethelton that had come from Adelaide heading towards Largs Bay.[1]

The engine-driver, Thomas Trueman, had pulled into Ethelton Station and noticed that the engines ‘grip tap’ had been turned on. He switched off the tap, and proceeded to the Mile End train yards, as required. Trueman inspected his engine at the end of his shift. It was at this time he found evidence that the grip tap had struck something. There was blood and other body matter on the tap and spread over the rear of the engine.
 Trueman telephoned the Commercial Road station at Port Adelaide and told them he through he had hit someone coming over the bridge. Porter Burden went and inspected the area and discovered at about 9pm, the body of Rantanen. Burden, with a lamp, inspected a large area around the bridge and discovered a man\’s coat. He then found parts of Rantanen\’s body, spread out over a large area. The body was removed to Semaphore where Sergeant Wilkin and Constable Atkinson were awaiting its arrival for inspection.[2]

The Rantanen Fund was established to help support the family. T.E. Stephens (secretary of the Port Adelaide Branch of the Driver Union) convened over the committee meeting. The Mayor of Port Adelaide, A.O.R. Tap was appointed to control the fund, while A.E. Wagner (President of the Port Drivers Union) was appointed Chairperson. S.J. Verran a local M.P. was appointed Vice-Chairman, and J.P. Tapping, treasurer. Trustee duties fell to Alderman J Anderson, J.H. Clouston, F.J. Brown and W.E.C. Baudinet. The auditors were D.B. Mason and E.W. Russell, with Mr Stephens, appointed honorary secretary.[3]

 Mrs Laura Rantanen appealed for assistance via a letter in The News. This letter sparked the community into action to form the fund. The Semaphore and Exeter Labor Party, with permission from the fund board, held a dance at the Port Adelaide Town Hall to assist in raising money. The Port Adelaide Council also agreed that a ‘tarpaulin collection’ could be held during the halftime break of a game between Port Adelaide Football Club and North Adelaide Football Club at Alberton Oval.[4]

Mr Rantanen had been a member of the Port Adelaide branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters. Mr Rantanen was also a member of the Port Adelaide branch of the Waterside Workers\’ Federation, was employed as a wharf labourer.[5]

  Rantanen left behind his wife and children: Emil, 17 years; Hilda, 14 years, who assists at home; Helma, 12 years; and Olga, 8 years, who attend the Ethelton Public School; Walter, 4 years; and Alfred, 17 months.[6]
  Mrs Ada Dickason, of Military Road, Semaphore, and Mr. August Raeinberg, who lives with his mother, are children of Mrs Rantanen\’s first marriage.[7]

Mr Ranatan was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery.[8]

 

Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2020.



Photograph: Find a Grave, Alfred Rantanen, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/154087178/alfred-waldemar-rantanen

[1] \’SHOCKING RAILWAY ACCIDENT AT ETHELTON.\’, Port Adelaide News, (20 August 1926), p. 5., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article212964328.

[2] Ibid.

[3] \’RANTANEN FUND\’, News, (2 September 1926), p. 13., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129700599.

[4]Ibid.

[5]\’BREADWINNER KILLED\’, News, (16 August 1926), p. 1., http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article129743998.

[6]Ibid.

[7]Ibid.

[8]Ibid.

7 Minutes to 3: The Tragic Deaths of Roy Ayling and Eugenie Armstrong

7 Minutes to 3: 

The Tragic Deaths of Roy Ayling and Eugenie Armstrong.

 June 19th, 1919 was just another ordinary day for engine driver and fireman, John James O’Shea and Harold Sutherland. They went to work at the Islington Train Yards. They fired up Engine 88 to pull Goods Train 72 and set off on route from Mile End out to Hamley Bridge, north of Gawler.
 The train passed through Gawler and out onto the Roseworthy line to Hamley Bridge, then back through Roseworthy heading toward Gawler.
 As the train approached the crossing on what is now Redbanks Road between Roseworthy and Gawler, the engine driver sounded his whistle. As the whistle was sounded, he noticed a motorcycle with sidecar speeding along the road.  The train whistle was sounded again as a warning. The motorcycle appeared to slow down, then suddenly as if racing the train to the crossing, sped up.
 O’Shea sounded the train’s whistle again and Sutherland applied the tender brake.
  Due to the incline of the rail line, the airbrakes and tender brakes had already been partially applied, so when the train approached the crossing it was already decelerating.
 The train entered the crossing at 20 miles per hour pulling a 300-ton load. It struck the centre of the motorcycle, dragging it under the cowcatcher and under the train.
 Fireman, Harold Sutherland stated of the incident; “I saw the motorcycle, about a chain away, on the driver’s side of the engine. Saw nothing further until the bodies flew out from the under wheels of the engine onto the right side of the line.”

 There were many witnesses to the accident. Farmers on properties around the train line had been out in the fields working had seen the whole event as it occurred. Farmer Hugo Twartz, Martin Twartz, Theodore Bartsch, all gave testimony that confirmed the train driver and train fireman’s testimony.
 Roy Ayling was a quiet young man described as quiet and thoughtful, with a gift for motor mechanics. The 20-year-old was well known and liked around Willaston. He was a successful poultry breeder who made his own incubators and breeders. He had been riding a motorcycle for over a year, and many local people knew the sound of his bike as it came and went from Willaston.

 Eugenie Armstrong was a student at the Gawler Technical School. At only 18 and half she had made her mark assisting at various businesses in Gawler’s main street. She was a valued member of the Gawler’s Congregational Church. Her father, Mr A.P, Armstrong was a well-known Labor Party Member in South Australia. Miss Armstrong was described by friends as; “A sterling and reliable companion, who was very popular among her peers.”

 On June 19th, Roy picked up Eugenie in his sidecar. He had only had the bike for two months and enjoyed showing it off. They headed out toward Roseworthy to catch a late afternoon football match between the Willaston Football Club and the Roseworthy College students’ team.
 It’s not known exactly what happened on that fateful day. The par sped along Redbank’s road toward the crossing, the train blew its whistle, and Roy slowed down but didn’t stop. He sped up, the train blew a second, longer warning whistle, but Roy didn’t stop, he pushed ahead to the crossing, where the bike was hit, and two young adults were flung from the bike under the train.
 Was Roy overconfident his new bike could beat the train? Was he showing off to Eugenie, or perhaps trying to scare her? Or was he distracted by the young woman in the sidecar, not noticing the noise of the trains whistle over the blare of his bike?
 We will never truly know the exact circumstances of the accident that claimed their lives…
 The police attended the scene after the accident. The young adults’ bodies were badly mutilated, so much so that they were buried before their funerals were held.
At the scene, Miss Armstrong’s watch was picked up by Sergeant Adamson. It read 7 minutes to 3, about the time of the accident.
Roy and Eugenie are buried at the historic Willaston Cemetery near Gawler.
Researched and written by Allen Tiller © 2019.

Bibliography

‘AWFUL RAILWAY ACCIDENT.’, Bunyip, (27 June 1919), p. 3.
‘THE INQUEST.’, Bunyip, (27 June 1919), p. 3.
‘DETAILS OF THE TRAGEDY.’, Chronicle, (28 June 1919), p. 13.
‘RUN DOWN BY A TRAIN.’, Chronicle, (28 June 1919), p. 13.

Belair Train Tunnel

  Belair Train Tunnel


Singleton Argus  , Saturday 4 February 1928, page 1

A horrific accident occurred on February 2 1928 during the building of new train tunnels that were going to extend the Belair train line through the Adelaide Hills




Six men lost their lives, and three men were injured when a landslide hit the tunnel as men were working on it.

The men killed:
Mr Charles Wilkinson
Mr William Kilmartin
Mr Robert Cafferty
Mr Paul Patt
Mr Charles Smith
                                 Mr Garrett Costello

The men injured in the incident also included two rescue workers, the injured workers were Mr John Whittenbury, Mr Arthur Newcombe, Mr Ambrose Gledhill, and rescue workers, Mr Gallaghan and Mr J McCarthy.

If the incident had occurred any later the tragedy could have indeed been much worse as the heavily-laden express train to Melbourne was able to be rerouted as news of the accident hit Adelaide Railway control, any later and the train would have crashed into the site, unable to stop.
There is every possibility that one, or all , of these men now haunt the currently used train tunnel, which has become the home of urban explorers and graffiti artists but as with all ghost stories, there is probably an element of urban legend that has grown around the area due to old fireside tale telling…

© 2014 Allen Tiller

All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013, 2014


All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act “fair usage” clause.

Some photo’s used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au – all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

Belair Train Tunnel

  Belair Train Tunnel


A horrific accident occurred on February 8, 1928, during the building of new train tunnels that were to extend the Belair train line through the Adelaide Hills.


  Six men lost their lives, and three men were injured when a landslide hit the tunnel as men were working on it.
The men killed:
Mr Charles Wilkinson
Mr William Kilmartin
Mr Robert Cafferty
Mr Paul Patt
Mr Charles Smith
 Mr Garrett Costello

The men injured in the incident also included two rescue workers. The injured workers were; Mr John Whittenbury, Mr Arthur Newcombe, Mr Ambrose Gledhill, and rescue workers, Mr Gallaghan and Mr J McCarthy.

  If the incident had occurred any later in the day,  the tragedy could have been much worse. The heavily-laden express train to Melbourne was due to pass through the cutting, but was rerouted as news of the accident hit Adelaide Railway control. Any later and the train would have crashed into the through the worksite, unable to stop!

  There is every possibility that one, or all, of these men, now haunt the currently used train tunnel, which has become the home of urban explorers and graffiti artists. As with all ghost stories, there is probably an element of urban legend that has grown around the area, and that plays a heavy part in the traditions of hauntings in the tunnels. 

© 2014 Allen Tiller

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Kapunda’s Railways – Part 2 “The Line Opens”

Kapunda’s Railways: Part 2 “The Line Opens” 

Before we go much further with the history Kapunda Railway, we need to first look at its roots.

The Kapunda line opened officially on Monday the 13th of August 1860, it was opened by the then Governor of South Australia, Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell.

Workers building the line North of Kapunda

There was great fanfare at the grand opening ceremony of the Kapunda Line,with a celebratory train to ride the entire length of the line.
 The train left Adelaide station at 10:30am precisely, under instruction from the “Manager of Railways”, C.S. Hare.

One engine was used as far as Gawler, The No.9, the largest engine in the fleet at the time
 The train numbered 13 carriages, which were full of guests for the event.
Guests included His Excellency, The Governor and his wife and suite. Ministers of both houses of Parliament, The Mayor and Members of the town corporation and many notable members of the Adelaide citizenry.

Every station on the line from Adelaide to Kapunda was adorned with evergreen shrubbery and flags, and well wishers and onlookers. The opening of the Kapunda line was an event celebrated across the State.

Governor of South Australia,
 Sir Richard Graves MacDonnell.
 

The train reached Salisbury at 11am, and Gawler at 11:26 am. In Gawler more passengers boarded and a secondary engine was attached to the train. The train then travelled to Freeling, arriving at 12:23pm, where it stopped for a brief time and the passengers were allowed to refresh themselves very briefly

The train left Freeling at 12:35pm and stopped at 12:50pm at the bridge over the light river at the request of His Excellency, The Governor, to inspect the bridge, which was considered a masterpiece of engineering at the time.

The Light railway bridge was built using stone cut from along the railway lines route. The timbers of the structure were supported by transverse latticed beams, with a laminated arch either side. The “points of juncture” on the bridge were plated with heavy steel to with stand the weight of the heaviest trains in the South Australian Railways at the time.

This particular journey was a testing of the Light Bridge, with the two heaviest engines in the State fleet being positioned on it at once, the builders must have had great faith in their structure considering the importance of the passengers upon the train!

The train reached Kapunda Station at 1:17pm to much fanfare. The train was greeted by The Reverend Oldham, Captain Warburton, The Angaston Rifles, Captain Connor, Captain Brown and the Kapunda Rifle Corps.

The Kapunda Rifle Corps. presented themselves 50 strong, and accompanied by their band presented a guard of honour to the dignitaries and officials.

Under the guidance of the Station Master, and Master of the Goods Shed, Mr Baggett, The Governor was given a tour of the Kapunda Railway Station complex, before a brief speech was made by The Reverend Oldham.

Reverend Oldham presented the following speech:

“To His Excellency Sir Richard G. MacDonnell,
K.C.B., Governor-in-Chief of Her Majesty’s Province of South Australia, May it please your Excellency, We the inhabitants of Kapunda and the surrounding districts, most cordially welcome your Excellency and Lady MacDonnell amongst us upon this most auspicious and interesting occasion, and would desire to ‘record through you as Her Majesty’s representative in this colony, the expression of our unabated loyalty and arm attachment to Her person and Crown.
 It is now nearly four years since this neighbourhood as honoured by a former visit from your Excellency and Lady MacDonnell ; since that time three commodious places of worship have been erected in the township,also, a Court-House and Police-Station, a Telegraph and Post-0ffice, and a large number of stores and other buildings, and rapid communication with the capital and other parts of the colony, and also with the adjacent colonies has been established by means of the electric telegraph ; and we feel happy in being now enabled to congratulate your Excellency on the most successful completion of the important undertaking, in reference to which, in great measure, your Excellency’s former visit was paid ; and also, in feeling assured of the happiness it will afford you in seeing at least in some degree the fulfilment of your Excellency’s then expressed anticipation as to the increasing importance of this district.

“We hope and believe that the opening of the Railwayto Kapunda, which calls us together this day will prove
but the commencement of many happy and prosperous years from the greatly increased facilities it will afford both for travelling and for the safe and rapid transportof goods, and we earnestly desire that your Excellency
may yet be spared long amongst us to see the fulfilment of these desires for the welfare of the colony which have ‘ever characterised your administration.
 We again bid you a cordial and hearty welcome by Railway to Kapunda.

Signed on behalf of, and at the unanimous request,of the inhabitants of Kapunda and the surrounding districts, in public meeting assembled.

“W. OLDHAM, J.P., Chairman.”

Governor MacDonnell replied with a considerably lengthy speech congratulating the townsfolk on the construction and opening of the line, and then proceeded to the crane at the goods-shed and lifted the first bale of wool and first bag of copper to a roaring cheer from the crowd.

The Governor was then transported into the town via horse buggy to the Sir John Franklin hotel where festivities went well into the night.

Kapunda now had an official link for transportation of goods and passengers via train into the city of Adelaide and to the wharfs, a valuable connection that would open the grain belt, and copper mines to further export across the country and state and bring wealth back into the community.

Kapunda would eventually become the States largest wheat receiving station, an extension was later built to Burra, veering off at Roseworthy, whilst the Kapunda line was extended to Morgan to try and capture some of the trade from the paddle steamer transportation system.

The Kapunda line was a focal point of the town for many years, opening up industry and commercial prospects for the people of Kapunda and surrounding districts, and allowed local people to travel far and wide around the State and Country, something people would have previously found much harder to do with the standard transport of the day, horse and cart, bicycle or walking.

The last passenger train to Roberstown passed through Kapunda on May 20th 1989, but the Kapunda line still saw notable traffic up until 1996 when it was sold to Genossee Wyoming Australia under a 50 year (+15 extension option) contract.

Since then the line has fallen into a state of disrepair and only see’s line traffic when a light-weight engine, or now days an adapted 4 wheel drive, comes down the line once every few months to the Viterra silos as part of the contract to have line traffic, or lose the line back to the State Government,

As the region north of Gawler grows it becomes obvious that passenger train service to at least Roseworthy and Freeling may be needed sometime in the future, it would not be to hard to conceive of Kapunda once again having a train return to the town, however, would a new train station have to be built as the old one now houses a “Bed and Breakfast”? – only time will tell

People gather to watch the last train to Robertstown as it enters Kapunda

Please note, this post was originally made on a short lived blog I wrote about Kapunda, due to the amount of time spent researching the paranormal, the Kapunda blog suffered a severe lack of posts – rather than lose the blog into the depths of Internet obscurity, I am reposting some of the research back onto this blog as much of it contains, History, Mystery and the Paranormal.

© 2013 Allen Tiller

All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013


All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act “fair usage” clause.

Some photo’s used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au – all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

The Station Masters House – Peake




Station Masters House – Peake

Back in 2010, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend (and team member at the time) down south near Tailem Bend. We visited many places during our travels, including Tailem Town, but we also stopped at the Station Masters Hours at Peake.
We had been made aware of the house by a local who had suggested it for a possible investigation site, and I thought whilst in the area I would look into too it. While the history was interesting, of which we will get to shortly, the site was not suitable for an investigation of any kind without a serious clean-up.

On our inspection we noted the large amounts of pigeon droppings inside, and one wall of the kitchen was entirely infested by swarms of bees.
Much too and fro-ing happened in the Eidolon Paranormal office, do we get in an apiarist to remove the bees, and clean the place ourselves, or do we not investigate at all, plus with no stories of a genuine haunting, only one of a death, was it worthwhile? – in the end, the distance to travel and cost of cleaning the site won out, and we let it be… Still, I wonder, if cleaned up (which would be a gift to the local Peake community) would something paranormal indeed be found in the Old Station Masters house?

Peake is a little farming community about 150 kms east of Adelaide, not far from Tailem Bend. It was first settled in 1912 and named after the State Premier of the time, Archibald Peake.
It was a major stopping point for rail in the area, being one of many stops for loading grain onto freight trains, and also a passenger stop for people getting to local farms.
The town itself was very smaller at the time, and remains a small town, with a population of about 200 people currently.

The Station Masters House was built in 1912, and used continuously until 1990. The last Peake Station Master was Jozeff (Joe) Suchon. Mr Suchon was 78 years old when he died on the kitchen floor of the House back on the 8th of January 1990.
Local legend has it that he was a very rude man, and one who did not take well to his neighbours and other townsfolk, with only one person in the town who would visit him, on a very irregular basis, delivering wood in winter.
Mr Sucheon died in the kitchen, it is presumed of a heart attack, after bringing in wood from the little wood shed at the rear of the house, he fell in such a way that the rear door could not be opened inwards.
His body lay on the floor for over a week, in the January heat before being found, one can only imagine the smell and the mess. This poor man’s body could not be extracted any other way, than to cut the lino floor around his remains, and lift him out, a very messy and distasteful job for anyone to carry out.

Today the house is part of a tourist walk through Peake, and the local tourist catalogue, even states the above facts about Mr Suchon’s death, even mentioning the fact you can see on the kitchen floor exactly where the lino had been cut around his body to remove his remains… Rest in Peace Mr Suchon


© 2013 Allen Tiller


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013


All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act “fair usage” clause.

Some photo’s used here on this site are sourced from The Sate Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au – all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.

The Station Masters House – Peake


Station Masters House – Peake


Back in 2010, I had the pleasure of visiting a friend (and team member at the time) down south near Tailem Bend. We visited many places during our travels, including Tailem Town, but we also stopped at the Station Masters Hours at Peake.
We had been made aware of the house by a local who had suggested it for a possible investigation site, and I thought whilst in the area I would look into too it. While the history was interesting, of which we will get to shortly, the site was not suitable for an investigation of any kind without a serious clean-up.

On our inspection, we noted the large amounts of pigeon droppings inside, and one wall of the kitchen was entirely infested by swarms of bees.
Much too and fro-ing happened in the Eidolon Paranormal office, do we get in an apiarist to remove the bees, and clean the place ourselves, or do we not investigate at all, plus with no stories of a genuine haunting, only one of death, was it worthwhile? – in the end, the distance to travel and the cost of cleaning the site won out, and we let it be… Still, I wonder, if cleaned up (which would be a gift to the local Peake community) would something paranormal indeed be found in the Old Station Masters house?

Peake is a little farming community about 150 km east of Adelaide, not far from Tailem Bend. It was first settled in 1912 and named after the State Premier of the time, Archibald Peake.
It was a major stopping point for rail in the area, is one of many stops for loading grain onto freight trains, and also a passenger stop for people getting to local farms.
The town itself was very smaller at the time, and remains a small town, with a population of about 200 people currently.

The Station Masters House was built in 1912 and used continuously until 1990. The last Peake Station Master was Jozeff (Joe) Suchon. Mr Suchon was 78 years old when he died on the kitchen floor of the House back on the 8th of January 1990.

Local legend has it that he was a very rude man and one who did not take well to his neighbours and other townsfolk, with only one person in the town who would visit him, on a very irregular basis, delivering wood in winter.

Mr Sucheon died in the kitchen, it is presumed of a heart attack, after bringing in wood from the little woodshed at the rear of the house, he fell in such a way that the rear door could not be opened inwards.
His body lay on the floor for over a week, in the January heat before being found, one can only imagine the smell and the mess. This poor man’s body could not be extracted any other way than to cut the lino floor around his remains and lift him out, a very messy and distasteful job for anyone to carry out.

Today the house is part of a tourist walk through Peake, and the local tourist catalogue, even states the above facts about Mr Suchon’s death, even mentioning the fact you can see on the kitchen floor exactly where the lino had been cut around his body to remove his remains… Rest in Peace Mr Suchon



© 2013 Allen Tiller


All content on “Eidolon Paranormal & The Haunts of Adelaide” sites, blog and corresponding media pages (eg Facebook, twitter etc) is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any means or process without the written permission of the author. © 2012, 2013


All photos remain the property of their respective copyright owners and are displayed here for the purpose of education, research and review under the copyright act “fair usage” clause.

Somphotos’s used here on this site are sourced from The State Library of South Australia, and The National Library of Australia and http://www.gawler.nowandthen.net.au – all photos are out of copyright and have no usage restrictions implied.