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Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The arch commemorates the men who died or were killed after a well explosion in 1928. One man, George Farley was trapped in the well and William Crook was overcome by gas in attempting a rescue. Mounted-Constable Smith died in an attempt to rescue the two men.

The Arch was relocated to Federation Park from the front of the Town Hall. 

On December 31, 1928, Mr. Farley descended the well on his property at Gumeracha to repair a defect in the pumping plant situated about 30 feet down the well. Soon after a terrific explosion in the well occurred and cries for help were heard. Mr. W. Crook, an employee of Mr. Farley, descended the well in a gallant attempt at rescue and was overcome by gas. Mounted-Constable George T. Smith also attempted to rescue the men but was overcome by the fumes and died.

At the unveiling of the arch, medals recognising the bravery of the two men who lost their lives in attempting the rescue were presented to their families. The medals were inscribed with the names of the men on one side and an inscription on the other which said ; "Presented by public subscription in recognition of personal bravery. Gumeracha well disaster. December 31, 1928."

At a cost of £200 a memorial arch has been erected in front of Gumeracha Town Hall in the main thoroughfare to commemorate the heroism of those who took part in rescue work following an explosion in a well in the township on December 31, 1928, when three lives were lost. The arch will be unveiled on Saturday afternoon at 3 o'clock by Mr. J. B. Randall,who is a son of one of the founders of Gumeracha. Medals will be presented to Meslames J. S. Crook and M. S. Smith (widows of two of the victims), and Messrs. D. C. Norsworthy, L. F. E. Schulze. and F. J. Fry, who attempted to rescue those who died in the well. The arch. which is built of Murray Bridge granite, was erected by W. H. Martin & Co. Money was obtained by subscriptions.
News (Adelaide), 6 February 1930.



Address:Albert Street, Federation Park, Gumeracha, 5233
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.823412
Long: 138.884919
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Structure
Monument Theme:Disaster
Actual Event Start Date:31-December-1928
Actual Event End Date:31-December-1928


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 8th February, 1930
Front Inscription


Left Side Inscription

In Memoria

George Thomas Smith

William Crook


Right Side Inscription

Also George Farley

For him they died 

31 December 1928


Inscription in Proximity

Tragedy at Gumeracha

This Memorial Arch was erected by public subscription to the memory of William Crook, George Farley & Mounted Constable George Thomas Smith

On December 31st 1928 and explosion occured while George Farley was working at the bottom of a 20 metre deep well situated in Albert Street Gumeracha.  William Crook descended the well to assist but failed to emerge.  Mounted Constable Smith, stationed at Gumeracha immediately went to the rescue of the two men but was overcome by fumes. All three perished.

The cause of the explosion was never fully established.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au