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Photographs supplied by John Huth

The headstone over the grave commemortes Evelyn May Provan who died in 1918 of mercury poisoning and John McCallum, a fellow employee, was charged with her murder but found guilty of manslaughter.

In the Supreme Court, the criminal sittings, opened before Mr. Justice Real and juries of 12 on Monday. Mr. J. J. Kingsbury for the Crown. The first case on the calendar was one of murder, in which John James M'Callum, a respectably dressed middle-aged man, was charged that on 19th February, at Mitchell, he murdered one Evelyn May Provan. The defendant, for whom Mr. J. W. Blair (instructed by Mr. Dyball, Roma) appeared, pleaded not guilty.  Mr. Kingsbury asked, as there were so many objectionable features in the case that all persons under 21 years of age be ordered out of court. His Honour ordered accordingly. Mr. Kingsbury then outlined the case, explaining to the jury that the charge was not that of wilful murder, but of murder, which was a lesser form of charge. The deceased, he said, was 17 years old, and the act which caused death was alleged to have taken place on the 19th February, at Mitchell. The defendant and the girl were employees of Gore and Co., stock and station agents. He had been bookkeeper for 13 months, and she had been typist for two years.

On 16th February the defendant was left in charge of the office. On 19th February the girl arrived home from the office for lunch at 12.45 a.m. in a motor-car driven by a Mr. Holland, who said M'Callum had asked him to drive the girl home, as she had taken a bad turn in the office. The girl seemed to be in pain, and she grew worse. Dr. Clarkson was called in a few days later, who said the girl exhibited signs of mercurial poisoning. Dr. Clarkson wrote down the girl`s story as she gave it to him. Subsequently the girl's condition became very serious, and her father laid a complaint with the police, and a charge of unlawful and indecent assault was laid against M'Callum, who was arrested the same day.  A court of law was constituted at Provan's house, and the girl gave evidence on oath. Forty hours later she died. A post-mortem gave evidence of metallic poisoning, and an analysis proved the presence of mercury.   Accused was found guilty of manslaughter, and was sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour for four years.
Telegraph (Brisbane), 21 May 1918, The Week (Brisbane),
24 May 1918. 


Address:Alice Street, Mitchell Cemetery, Mitchell, 4465
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -26.476455
Long: 147.970008
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Erected by the Masons of Mitchell

To the memory of Evelyn May Proven,

4th daughter of Mrs & Mr. D. Proven, who died 9th March 1918,

Aged 17 yrs & 10 mths

So mote it be

Plaque :

In loving memory of our fellow Christian endeavourer

Eva Provan


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