It was a sudden death, totally unexpected and to a young, healthy man who was fighting fit.
Born in 1913 in Brisbane to Percy and Lucy, Lawrence Chute was a well-known figure around Coraki, on the NSW Northern Rivers, having worked at the post office for about four years. He was also secretary of the Coraki branch of the Hibernian Society, an Irish Catholic fraternal organisation where members must be Catholic and either born in Ireland or of Irish descent.
Headstone for young Lawrence Chute at Coraki cemetery.
The night the 19 year old would meet his death was a Saturday at a boxing match held at the Coraki stadium in late January of 1932. The crowd at the open air stadium saw Lawrence and another young boxer, Gordon Thomas, go six rounds before Thomas threw in the towel.
Lawrence was declared the winner.
Both men had been declared physically fit before the bout. It was mentioned after the fight that Lawrence had come away from the encounter completely unmarked. He then left to shower at a friend’s place before returning to watch a second fight.
While sitting ringside Lawrence complained that his head was starting to hurt. He was taken back to his friend’s room, which was at the Club Hotel, and after a short lie down, he then collapsed and hurried to the Campbell Hospital. At 11.30pm the young boxer was dead.
It was said at the time, the death had nothing to do with the fight, but happened when Lawrence entered the bathroom at the hotel and slipped, hitting his head.
A coronial inquest found no blame to be attached to anyone involved in the boxing tournament and that death was caused by a cerebral haemorrhage.
Lawrence is buried at Coraki cemetery, sharing his grave with his parents Percy who followed him 9 years later and Lucy who died in 1968.
Births, deaths, marriages Queensland, https://www.familyhistory.bdm.qld.gov.au/, accessed July 11, 2018
‘Coraki Man’s Sudden Death’, Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser, February 3, 1932, Page 4.
‘Coraki fatality after boxing bout’, The Kyogle Examiner, Friday, February 5, 1932, Page 8.
‘Death of Lawrence Chute’, The Richmond River Herald and Northern District Advertiser, Friday, February 5, 1932, Page 8.
This article first appeared in the Northern Star on July 14, 2018.