Interesting graves in South Australia: Harry Bird

Harry Bird lies where he died, deep underground at Nappacoongie off the Old Strzelecki Track. Harry and his partner Archie Cameron had a Government contract to re-timber the old Nappacoongie well in 1914. The deep well was timbered to a depth off thirty-five feet, where the rocks began. Instead of re-timbering from the surface down, Harry rigged up a platform down the well and started to pull out the old timber working from the bottom upwards.

When Harry pulled out bottom set of timber and placed it in the bucket he called to Archie to pull it up. There was a tremendous roar and the whole well caved in. Cameron and a dogger named Jim Wyld, who was also present, hung on to the windlass handles until the weight of falling earth tore them from their frantic grasp. Cameron pulled so hard on his handle that it was twisted out of shape but it flew from his hands and hit him in the shoulder, breaking his collarbone. Regardless before the dust had settled, Cameron jumped into the shaft hoping he could do something for Bird, but it was hopeless.

They could not think of a way to recover the body and so a message was sent by the mail-coach to Constable Ewens, fifty miles away at Innamincka. When he arrived he agreed there was nothing to be done but to finish filling in the well. The burial service was read and the remainder of the well was filled in and later marked with railings and a headstone by a a Highways Deprtment supervisor. Incidentally the death is not registered.
Here lies
Harry Bird
Killed when
This well
bird2 bird1

Arch Burnett, Wilful murder in the outback, 1973 pp2829
HM Tolcher, Drought or deluge, 1986 p188
Public Trustee Estate GRG 33/2 A10123

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