Bridgetown Tragedy Print Page
A fallen power line caused the death of the four victims on that fateful day in 1954. There were five severely injured children and two injured adults. Doctors, nurses, firemen and about 200 people from Bridgetown came together in a mammoth attempt to save the children. It is deemed to be the darkest day in the history of Bridgetown.
Three boys and a man are already dead, and another boy critically ill after a mass electrocution at Bridgetown, 180 miles south of Perth yesterday. Those dead are Mr. Jack Houston (40, married), with two children, a State Electricity Commission employee, Graham Michael Whiegell (8), and his brother Kenneth Leslie Whiegell (11), who died later in the Bridgetown Hospital in an iron lung, and Adrian Lockley, aged 13. Jack Houston, jun. (8) is critically ill in the Bridgetown Hospital. Discharged from the hospital with burns are Clifford Lockley (3) and his brotlher Allan Lockley (5). Two other children ran home suffering from burns to body and legs. Their condition is satisfactory. Two pet dogs playing with the children were killed instantly.
The tragedy struck when the children, playing in a paddock along a road, ran into a death trap. caused by a fallen electric power wire, which had fouled a small square of wire fences and activated a nearby creek. The children had waded into the creek and were immediately shocked by the electrical current. Running out, screaming. they rushed into the live wire fences and were nearly all caught by the power. Their screams brought Mr. Jack Houston. sen., rushing to the scene. He attempted to pull the children away from the fence but was shocked himself and fell back. His wife, Mrs. Vivienne Joyce Houston (35) also rushed to the fence and received a shock. She was taken to the Bridgetown Hospital where her condition is satisfactory Mr. Dick Franks, of Bridgetown, received a shock as he prised two children off the fence with a green tree limb.
Doctors, nurses, ambulance bearers, and volunteers worked for more than six hours in an effort to save the victims. An iron lung was rushed from Bunbury, 62 miles away in 49 minutes, and was soon in operation. Local nurses administered oxygen.
Queensland Times (Ipswich) (Qld.) 15 March 1954.
|Address:||Gifford Road & Forrest Street, Bridgetown, 6255|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -33.955879|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
|Actual Monument Dedication Date:||Saturday 14th March, 2015|