Tragic tale from three simple graves

Three simple metal plates on stakes, sit in consecutive plots in the little general cemetery of Bogan Gate. It is more the case of what is not said on their memorials that tell a sadder story than a more detailed account on a larger headstone could ever do.


George Edward Frederick Williams' final memorial. Courtesy Findagrave


The memorials belong to George Edward Frederick Williams, his wife Ida Elizabeth Pike and their nine-year-old daughter Helen Gertrude, better known as 'Nelly'. It was a new century and the Williams family, along with their other children Margaret, Vincent, Jasper and Charles were living in the little town of Bogan Gate, only 37km west from the NSW inland town of Parkes.


George was the local stock and station agent, as well secretary of the Progress Association, Cricket Club and Jockey Club and a member of the local branch of Oddfellows. All seemed to be going well for the young family until early in June of 1907.


Nelly Gertrude Williams' final resting place in Bogan Gate cemetery. Courtesy Findagrave.


Young Nellie, going about her tasks had placed a can of water on the open fire. As she did, some of her clothes sparked and started to burn. One of her younger brothers came to her aid and they both frantically tried to put the growing flames out...to no avail. Rushing out into the open, Nellie was soon engulfed in fire until her mother rushed to her aid and extinguished the blaze.


The upper parts of Nellie's body were fatally burned and she passed away in the early hours of the next day.


Shortly after the birth of their little girl Daphne Ida Hope, who arrived in November of the same year that Nellie passed away, Ida fell ill. Despite going to Parkes for medical treatment, she passed away in early January of 1908, leaving George with five young children, including their new born little girl.


Ida Williams' 'headstone' next to her daughter and husband. Courtesy Findagrave


George worked hard for his family, buying the local butchery and raising the children on his own. An unfortunate event, however, was soon to add to their woes.


A swelling of the right cheek of the 36 year old father, saw him seek medical advice, as it promised to be a painful abscess. The result was a case of blood poisoning that 96 hours later saw his children become orphans.


Once again the Williams family suffered untold anguish and a number of theatrical events were held to raise funds to care for the five young children left behind.



References

  • 'Bogan Gate', Lachlander and Condobolin and Western Districts Recorder, Wednesday 5 June, 1907, Page 2

  • 'Williams', Findagrave website, accessed 1st June, 2022, Memorials in Bogan Gate General Cemetery - Find a Grave

  • 'Bogan Gate', Western Champion, Friday, 29 April 1910, Page 10

  • 'Bogan Gate', Lachlander and Condobolin and Western Districts Recorder, Wednesday, 8 January, 1908, Page 4



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