Thomas DarlingtonPrint Page Print this page

Tombstone erected by fellow unionists to the memory of Thomas Darlington who was murdered at Whim Creek. 

Thomas Darlington was heavily involved in the infant union movement, and on the night of his death, trouble had been brewing at Dunn’s pub (Federal Hotel), where the miners were celebrating the Christmas season. Unionists were against ‘scab’ labourers, and fights had broken out, culminating in Italian Joseph Saleno stabbing Darlington in the neck in a drunken rage. Darlington died from his injuries and Saleno was arrested and sent to Roebourne Gaol.

Witnesses were then gathered in early 1912 and sailed on the Concordia and Crown of England to give evidence at the trial in Perth. A severe cyclone hit the ships and swamped them when they were near Depuch Island and all of the witnesses were lost or drowned. The bodies recovered were buried at either Depuch Island or Balla Balla. Saleno was later found guilty and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Roebourne, March 23. Seleno and Cappelli, two foreigners, charged with the murder of Thomas Darlington at Whim Creek on Christmas Eve, were tried here this week. Seleno was sentenced to three years' hard labour, and Cappelli was acquitted. The tragedy which brought about the trial of the two Italians named occurred during the Christmas festivities. From the information furnished to the authorities it appears that a number of men were drinking at the Federal Hotel at Whim Creek when after an altercation Seleno and Darlington engaged in a fight. It was alleged that Darlington was proving superior to Seleno, and that this being apparent to Cappelli, the last-mentioned passed a knife to his compatriot. A constable on duty in the street heard the noise made by the scuffling men, and soon afterwards saw a number of men run out of the hotel. On entering the place he found Dirlington bleeding profusely from two wounds in the neck. The injuries proved fatal, and Seleno and Cappelli were thereupon arrested and charged with the murder of Darlington. The victim of the tragedy was a native of Victoria and was married. He was employed as a miner at the Whim Well Copper Mines. When arrested Seleno, it is stated, admitted that he had stabbed Darlington. The two Italians were committed for trial on a charge of murder, and Mr. Norbert Keenan, K.C., was commissioned by the Government to sit as a Supreme Court Commissioner to try the men at Roebourne. Official reports state that Seleno carried French Army discharges, and it was also rumoured that he had at one time escaped from a French penal settlement.
The West Australian (Perth), 25 March 1912. 



Address:Balla Balla Track, Whim Creek Cemetery, Whim Creek, 6718
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -20.829997
Long: 117.805906
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription

Killed at Whim Creek
24th December 1911
Aged 34 years

Erected by his fellow unionists

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