Monday, 6 January 2014

An accidental death at Laverton

Another volunteer who is remembered at the Coburg State School Memorial Garden is eighteen year old Corporal Thomas Francis Quirke of 252 Sydney Road, Coburg, who died in an accident at Laverton on 15 January 1917.

At first I thought that he had died in a flying accident, however, the following newspaper article shows that he was thrown from a ‘motor waggon’, badly injuring his legs and died as a result of those injuries.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 19 January 1917, p.1.

Despite the fact that he did not die in battle, he was buried at Fawkner Cemetery with full military honours.

Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 19 January 1917, p.2.

Almost two years earlier, on 8 August 1915,  an older brother, William Michael, was killed in action at Gallipoli. William Quirke is remembered at Coburg’s Memorial Avenue of Trees, Lake Reserve. A third brother, John Victor, enlisted not long after Thomas’s death, on 17 April 1917, served overseas but on the Administrative Staff as a clerk. He returned safely to Australia. A cousin, William James Quirke, of Barry Street, Coburg, also served, and despite being wounded twice, returned to Australia.

Father John Quirke was a warder at Pentridge, as was his father's brother James (father of William James). In the 1920s, when William James returned from the war, the three men relocated to the McLeod Penal Settlement at French Island.

Mother Mary Josephine (nee Cashman) remained in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, living with her youngest son John Victor, who was the licencee of the Beehive Hotel, Barkers Rd., Hawthorn and then of the Terminus Hotel, Victoria Street, Abbotsford. They both died in 1928, she in March and he in December. Mary Quirke had accrued an estate of over  £13,000 pounds, nearly half of that in real estate. This she left to her husband, who died at Abbotsford in 1938 where he had lived with his oldest son John, who by then was the licencee of the Terminus Hotel.



Attestation papers for John Victor Quirke, Thomas Francis Quirke, William Michael Quirke and William James Quirke; Coburg Historical Society collection; Victorian birth, death and marriage indexes, accessed via Ancestry; Victorian electoral rolls, accessed via Ancestry; Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 30 July 1915, p.2; Werribee Shire Banner, 18 January 1917, p.3; Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 19 January 1917, pp.1&2; Argus, 8 April 1926, p.16; Argus, 18 May 1928, p.14; Argus, 22 December 1928, p.13; Will of James Quirke, PROV, VPRS28/P3/1518.

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