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My passion is genealogy and family history. I host a podcast about Australian family history, Genies Down Under. In my day job, I work as a lecturer and a researcher in higher education, teaching pre-service teachers.

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

Death in a Pyrmont quarry

While searching TROVE for information about my Fleming ancestors who lived in Chippendale (inner city suburb of Sydney), I came across a sad story of a quarry employee who was crushed to death by rock in a quarry he was working in at Pyrmont. Patrick Fleming, my ancestor was a proprietor of the quarry at the time.

My 2nd great-grandfather (my mother's father's mother's father), Patrick Fleming, was born about 1830. He married Ellen (aka Eleanor) TORPY on 3 February 1853 in the Roman Catholic Church in the Parish/District of Windgap, County Kilkenny, Ireland.

Patrick and Ellen arrived in Sydney soon after 1853 (not sure what date). After their arrival in Australia, they lived in the Chippendale area of Sydney at the following addresses:
28 Waterloo St, Surry Hills
Source: Photo taken in 2010 by Maria Northcote
    30 Waterloo St, Surry Hills
    Source: Photo taken in 2010 by Maria Northcote 
    104 Abercrombie , Chippendale
     Source: Google Maps 2015
    On quite a few birth, death and marriage certificates, Patrick's occupation is recorded as a quarryman or a stonemason.

    • Daughter's, Bridget Fleming, birth certificate in 1856 - Quarryman
    • Sands Directory of Sydney, 1860s-1870s - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Margaret Fleming, birth certificate in 1866 - Quarryman
    • Patrick Fleming's death certificate in 1880 - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Mary Garry (nee Fleming), death certificate in 1897 - Quarryman
    • Daughter's, Margaret Fleming, marriage certificate in 1904 - Stone mason
    • Daughter's, Margaret Walters (nee Fleming), death certificate in 1939 - Quarryman
    I suppose Quarryman Hotel at Pyrmont is named after the workers at the quarry.

    Source: Google Maps, 5 March 2016

    The articles below were found on TROVE about a death in the quarry that Patrick leased in 1869, along with Richard Dunn. 

    Going by the following short report on page 3 of The Newcastle Chronicle on Saturday 25 Sep 1869, the accident appears to have happened on Tuesday 21 September 1869

    The following article reports the accident and the subsequent inquest in The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 22 September 1869 on page 5. In summary, the article reported:
    • A 40 year old man, Richard Guilfoyle (originally from Kilkenny), was crushed to death while working at a quarry at Pyrmont. He had been in Australia for six years and was a quarryman by trade. He was crushed to death by a rock or rocks falling on him. At the time of the accident, there were five workers at the quarry, including Guilfoyle and Patrick Fleming and Richard Dunn.
    • Patrick Fleming and Richard Dunn (the proprietors of the quarry) were at the scene, attempting to remove the rock that has fallen on the man, when Constable Hendron arrived.
    • Patrick Fleming lived at Waterloo St, Chippendale.
    • An inquest was held into the death on the morning of Tuesday 21 September 1869. The jury found that the man died from accidental injuries.

    The results of the inquest was also reported on page 2 of the Empire on Wednesday 22 September 1869.

    A few days later, on Saturday 25 September 1869, the results of the inquest were also reported on page 2 of The Sydney Mail.

    On page 3 of The Sydney Morning Herald on  Monday 27 September 1869, a short excerpt recorded Richard Guilfoyle's death at the quarry and noted the location of the quarry, near the Black Wattle Swamp Bridge.

    Next, I need to find out more about the Pyrmont quarries. I think Shirley Fitzgerald's work will point me in the right direction. Here is a video of hers (from her site: http://www.shirleyfitzgerald.com.au/some-online-talks-videos-of-mine) about Sydney sandstone.

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