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Dawson boys lie side by side

Nestled side by side in West Terrace cemetery in South Australia are two graves, one marked and one without a headstone.

The marked grave is of Jack Stanley Dawson who died at the young age of 14 years from tetanus and the unmarked grave contains the remains of Albert Henry Dawson, losing his little life at four years old.

The graves of Albert Henry Dawson and Jack Stanley Dawson, not closely related but united by family name and time of death. Photo: Findagrave

The interesting fact about these two graves, isn't just they have the same name, without being closely related, but they died within four days of each other.

On 9 February, on a Sunday afternoon, Albert and his family were with a number of other people enjoying a picnic on the banks of the Onkaparinga River, near Stanley Bridge. He and his friend John Williams, 7-years-old, were playing near the water when tragedy struck.

Albert slipped on the grass in fell into deep water. The screams from John brought Albert's father, Edward running but he was nowhere to be seen, having slipped under the water. Edward jumped in, but being unable to swim, he nearly drowned himself.

A bystander dived into the water and recovered the body of the little boy. Despite performing artificial respiration, Albert had drowned.

On the same day of Albert's drowning Jack Stanley Dawson received a punctured foot from a nail through his boot. As the effects of tetanus took their toll, Jack's mum Mabel had applied a poultice and believed the wound healed. He was eventually taken to Adelaide Hospital where he died soon after.

The boys now lie side by side in West Terrace Cemetery, possibly never knowing each other but united by their family name and time of death.


  • 'Child drowned in Onkaparinga', The Advertiser, Tuesday, 11 February, 1936, Page 17

  • 'Boy dies from tetanus', News, Tuesday 18 February, 1936, Page 6

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