Brooklyn Level Crossing CrashPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The Plaque commemorates those who died in a level crossing crash at Brooklyn in 1944.

On the 20th January 1944, a Kempsey bound train travelling downhill into the town of Brooklyn crashed into a bus at a level crossing at the Brooklyn station. In total 17 people died and five were injured. The gatekeeper was committed to stand trial for manslaughter for failing to close the gate but these charges were later dropped by the Crown.

Fifteen persons, including several children and two Nuns, were killed and five seriously injured when the Kempsey mail train crashed into a bus at a level crossing at Hawkesbury River. The bus was cut in two. One half was carried 400 yards along the line by the train. The tender of the locomotive was derailed. The dead and injured were scattered along the line for many yards. Among the dead were a mother and her two daughters, the father being taken to hospital. The train, which was crowded, was travelling down an incline at the time of the smash. The engine struck the centre of the bus. The crash was heard half a mile away.
The Canberra Times, 21st January 1944.

At the conclusion of evidence in the inquest on the deaths of 16 persons at the Brooklyn level-crossing on January, 20, the Hornsby District Coroner today committed Peter Cecil Tolley (20), gatekeeper, for trial on on a charge of manslaughter. The Coroner said it was Tolley's duty to close the gates and open them only as traffic came. A graphic description of the tragedy was given by John Sponberg, driver of the Kempsey Mail train, which, he disclosed, struck the bus at a speed of 40 m.p.h. Sponberg stated that he did not see the gatekeeper at the crossing or any flag signal.
The Canberra Times, 13th April 1944.

The Crown will not file a bill against Peter Cecil Tolley, 20, level crossing gatekeeper at Brooklyn, who was committed for trial on a charge of manslaughter. Tolley was in charge of the gates at Brooklyn when a bus ran on to the line and was hit by a train. Sixteen people were killed.
Newcastle Morning Herald & Miners' Advocate , 30th May 1944.


Address:Dangar Road, Hawkesbury River (Brooklyn) Railway Station, Brooklyn, 2083
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.547086
Long: 151.226669
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Land Transport
Actual Event Start Date:20-January-1944
Actual Event End Date:20-January-1944


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 4th June, 2012
Front Inscription

In recognition of lives lost
Brooklyn level crossing accident
20 January 1944 

[ Names ]

Unveiled by
Matthew Kean MP
Member for Hornsby
4 June 2012


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