A Racing Man from Tipperary – grave tales

Richard Ryan, a well known citizen of Boulder, met with an instantaneous death in the Great Boulder Perseverance.

Workmates gather at the grave of Richard Ryan in the Kalgoorlie Cemetery

Kalgoorlie Western Argus (WA : 1896 – 1916), Tuesday 17 March 1908, page 17

On Wednesday 11th March about 9.30 a.m. the deceased and a mate, Albert Matthews, were working on the 400 ft. level, where a sand pass had become hung up. In order to start it running they decided to fire a shot in it, and for this purpose they procured the customary long lathe and fixed a plug of dynamite on the end of it. They had the pass to the 500 ft. level securely covered, as they thought, and when all was ready the shoved the lathe up to the block of mullock, some 20 ft up the pass. He was just going to light the fuse when a piece of stuff fell away, and hit him on the stomach. He fell and rolled over towards the pass, and, it is presumed that in his struggle to rise he pushed the covering logs wide enough apart to permit his body to fall through. He fell to the next level, a distance of 120 ft, and when picked up be was found to be dead.

The deceased was an enthusiastic racing man

Dr. Sawell, who was called formally pronounced life extinct, and the body was removed to the morgue to await an inquest which was ordered by the coroner (Mr. E. P. Dowley)-: during the afternoon. The remains were identified, and the enquiry adjourned till Saturday morning.

The deceased was well known in Boulder, and was highly respected for his sterling qualities. He had worked on the Perseverance for over eight years, and was regarded as one of the steady handy men on the mine. He was always kept on day shift, to do any of the jobs which required nerve and care, and was regarded by the management as one of their most reliable employees.

The deceased was an enthusiastic racing man, and made a close study of horses. It was a most unusual thing for him to work on a race day, and it was only the evening prior to his tragic death that his mates were making a joke of the certainty of an accident occurring in the Perseverance next day, the inference being that “Dick” would tie his hand or his foot up in a bandage and pretend that he had been hurt in order to get a shift off. When he started in the morning he found  that the manager had consented to allow the men to have a half day free if they chose, and the deceased promptly decided that he would take advantage of the opportunity.

Fate, however, decreed otherwise, and four hours before the time he had planned for his afternoon’s amusement, his mortal remains were in the morgue. The deceased was a native of Geelong, single and ,about 45 years of age. So far as is known his only relative in the State is his brother, Mr. Cornelius Ryan, of Collie, who, prior to taking up land in that district, was. also well known in Boulder. Richard Ryan was a member of the Boulder branch of the Miners.

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My name is Moya Sharp, I live in Kalgoorlie Western Australia and have worked most of my adult life in the history/museum industry. I have been passionate about history for as long as I can remember and in particular the history of my adopted home the Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia. Through my website I am committed to providing as many records and photographs free to any one who is interested in the family and local history of the region.

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  1. Robert Witt says:

    Hi MOYA, i enjoy reading your fantastic history stories,of the Goldfields,cheers Bob

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