Superintendent Christopher GeePrint Page Print this page

Photographs supplied by David Brighton

The tombstone erected over the grave commemorates Superintendent Christopher Gee of No 5 Station, Carlton Metropolitan Fire Brigade who was accidentally killed aboard the burning ship "Hilaria" at Port Melbourne on the 9th July 1895. The tombstone was erected by his colleagues. 

The monument stands about 8ft high and consists of a bluestone basemant and kerbing while the upper part is of white Carrara marble. The bas-relief shows the ship Hilaria lying over on the Port Melbourne pier enveloped in smoke. 

On July 9th 1895, the ship Hilaria was on fire at the Town Pier , Port Melbourne. A detachment from the fire brigade attempted to subdue the flames and Superintendant Gee ,in loading his men, fell down the hold onto the burning cargo. Mr William O'Brien, Deputy Chief Officer volunteered to rescue Superintendent Gee and was lowered down the hold. While he was groping through the flames and smoke ,the air pipe and hauling line fouled and cut off portion of the air supply. Mr O'Brien fastened a rope around Mr Gee who was hauled to the surface. When he gave the signal for his own rescue he was hauled to the top feet first and unconscious. Mr Gee died from his injuries but Mr O'Brien recovered after a few days. Mr O'Brien was awarded the Clarke Gold Medal, The Blue Ribbon of the Royal Humane Society. 

A monument has been erected in the Church of England portion of the Melbourne General Cemetery, near the main entrance, to the memory of Superintendent Gee, of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, who lost his life on the burning ship Hilaria. The monument stands about 8ft. high, and consists of a blue stone basement and kerbing, whilst the upper part is of Carrara white veined marble. The artist has succeeded in ingeniously grouping such instruments as a hydrant, with hose and branch connected, ladders, axes, torches, etc, with a very harmonious effect and a due regard to fidelity. The bust relief shows the ship Hilaria lying over on the Port Melbourne pier, with her masts, etc enveloped in smoke. This forms a good illustration of the last stages of the destruction of the ship, and has been taken from the picture which appeared in "The Australian" at the time. Immediately under the relief is engraved the following inscription - " Erected to the memory of Christopher Gee, late Superintendent No 8 station, Carlton, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, who was accidently killed on board   the burning ship Hilaria at Port Melbourne 9th July, 1895 aged 40 years. A good husband, a fond father, and a faithful friend. The sculptors were Messrs. Jageurs and Son, of Sydney Road, Parkville.
Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Tuesday 7 July 1896.


Address:College Crescent, Church of England Section, Melbourne General Cemetery,, Carlton North, 3054
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.791811
Long: 144.961975
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Government - State
Actual Event Start Date:09-July-1895
Actual Event End Date:09-July-1895
Designer:Jageurs & Sons (Parkville, VIC)
Monument Manufacturer:Jageurs & Son (Parkville, VIC)


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:July- 1896
Front Inscription

Erected to the memory of Christopher Gee

Late Supt. No 5 Station Carlton Metropolitan Fire Brigade     

Who was accidentally killed on board the burning ship "Hilaria" at Port Melbourne

9th July 1895,

Aged 40 years.

A good husband, a fond father, and a faithful friend

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