Double Tragedy at Kalgoorlie – grave tales

Truth (Perth, WA : 1903 – 1931), Saturday 28 December 1912, page 3

Double Tragedy at Kalgoorlie.      “She Smiled, said “Hello, Curly” and Died”

In our last issue appeared a brief account of the terrible double tragedy, which happened at Kalgoorlie on the previous Thursday, in the yard at the back of the Broken Hill Hotel, in Hannan street, when George Rivers TREW (age 38) shot his wife, Lillie (Elizabeth)Trew (age 28), through the head with a revolver, and she died in a few minutes. He then turned the deadly weapon on himself, and put a bullet right through his own head, causing such terrible injuries that he died the same evening at 6 o’clock in the Government Hospital. From’what can be further gleaned of the affair, we learn that until recently Trew had been employed at one of the mines on the Golden Mile, but for some reason or other, had lost the position.

Lillie TREW

Lillie TREW :- nee Elizabeth SHELLY

During this time the pair were living in South Kalgoorlie but owing to lack of employment, soon got into financial difficulties, and they decided to sell their furniture. After the sale, Mrs. Trew went to stay for a while with a friend of hers, a Mrs Lardie, living down near the Gala Hotel, and on one or two occasions Trew visited the house to see his wife. Mrs. Trew eventually took a position at the Broken Hill Hotel, as a musical barmaid, she being rather an accomplished woman, and by what appears to have been an arrangement between the pair, Trew also came to the hotel, and he and his wife occupied the same room. From the first Trew seems to have worried over his wife’s determination to go into the bar, and be was very jealous of the attention paid to her by patrons of the hotel. In fact, It is stated that during the few days that Trew was in the bar her husband several times picked a quarrel with men whom he considered were paying too much attention to her. It is further stated that Trew lately gave way to excessive drinking bouts, and when he was under the influence of drink became very reckless ,and did not care a tinkers curse what, he did.
On the day of the  tragedy he went around to several people to whom he owed money and paid the accounts. He also  told a couple of friends whom he met that be was going to blow his wife’s head off, but they only laughed  at him and told him not to be a damn fool. To others, however, he said he. was going out back to manage a station, and he wanted to settle up his accounts. The last place at which he called was the Great Boulder Hotel, and he then told the proprietor (Mr. Walsh) that he was leaving by the express that evening for the coast. His statement to some friends earlier in the day about blowing his wife’s head off, however, proved to be only too true, for immediately on leaving the Great Boulder Hotel. he walked around to the back of  the hotel in which his wife was employed, and asked a young fellow, known as “Curly” Booth, to go and tell Mrs. Trew that he wished to speak to her.
The message was duly delivered to the woman, who jocularly replied: ‘I have no husband,” whereupon the  bearer of the message said, “Well, there is a bloke out there wants you”, and she went out to the back, where her husband was waiting for her. Immediately two revolver shots rang out, which caused the young fellow, who had delivered the message a minute previously, to rush along to the end of the passage leading Into the yard, where he discovered both Trew and his wife lying on their backs on the ground, each with a wound in their head, from which blood was freely flowing. He at once called, out for help, and then lifted the woman’s head on to his knee, when she looked up,’ smiled, said “Hello, Curly,” and then died.

George Rivington TREW

George Rivers TREW

The murderer, who was, found to be alive, was attended to by Drs J Matthews and Kirkaldy, and then taken to the Government Hospital, where he lingered for an hour and a half before expiring. “Truth’s” representative was informed  that Trew was well connected in South Australia, and was once fairly well off. For some years the firm of Trevenna and Trew did a large business in the outback country, but eventually thy dissolved partnership, and the business passed into the hands of Butcher and Uhr.  Trew then took a position as drover with Forest, Emanuel and Co., which he subsequently left and came to Kalgoorlie and obtained work on one of the mines. However, being of a roving nature, he left this employment and returned to Kookynie, where he took over the management of a shop for Mr. Tom Elliott. It was in Kookynie that he met his late wife, who was a barmaid, and they were married about six years ago in Kalgoorlie. After a while, Trew and his wife came back to Kalgooriie, where he secured a position with Allen and Co, butchers, of Hannan street. As usual he did not remain very long with this firm, for he left and took work on one of the mines. It is stated that Trew, recognising that he could do no good for himself about Kalgoorlie, wanted to go back again to the mulga, where he had a good chance of obtaining employment on a station, but his wife would not go with him, and this seems to have preyed on his mind. Being determined not to go away and leave his wife in Kalgoorlie, especially In a position as a barmaid, he bought a. revolver, shot his wife, and then took his own life.

NOTE: George and Lillie will be together always as they are buried in the same grave in the Anglican section of the Kalgoorlie Cemetery.

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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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