Stuart and Royce Weir

Grave site Roman Catholic Section 1 Row 4 Plot 8

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Stuart and Royce Weir were two of three brothers and a friend, who whilst having a day off school broke into a disused quarry site in North Gosford, then fell into the quarries pond. The children’s parents are in the adjoining grave. John Weir the father was the local Butcher at the “Canberra Butchers” in Gosford. The graves are in a row of “Hennessey graves” as Mrs Amy Weir is nee Hennessey”.


Gosford Drowning Tragedy


On Tuesday morning, at about 11 o’clock, a double drowning fatality shocked the people of Gosford, the victims being two young sons of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Weir. Four boys — Stuart. Royce, and Alfred Weir. together with William Hitchcock — went to a disused quarry, in North Gosford, where the hole in the rocks contains a pool of water from 5 to 10 feet deep.

The lad Royce (aged 9) stepped on to one of a number of planks which were floating in the pool. This gave under his weight, throwing the boy into the water. His brother Stuart (aged 11), seeing him in danger, jumped in to endeavour to save him, while the remaining two lads ran for assistance. The water, which was fresh, was icy, and the younger boy was suffering from a very heavy cold. A fine action was that of Stuart Weir, who gave his life in an attempt to rescue his little mate and brother. Life was extinct when the bodies of the two boys were taken from the water.

The bereavement is a cruel one for the mother and father, and other close relatives, who have lost two bright and well-liked young lads, cruelly cut off in early boyhood; and the sincere sympathy of the people of the district is extended to the sorrowing parents and family.

The Inquiry.

A coronial inquiry was held at Gosford Court House, by the District Coroner, Mr. W. Kirkness, J.P., on Wednesday morning. Evidence as follows was given: —

John Harold Gordon Weir, butcher, Gosford, father of the two boys, stated: Shortly after 11 on the morning of Nov. 22, Mrs. Herford told me that two of my sons were drowned in a quarry pit. I at once ran to the place, where I saw a man named Parry bringing one body out of the water. I saw that the boys had been trying to float on some pieces of timber in the water. Neither of them could swim. The boys were not at school because one was suffering from a cold.

Dr. G. M. Duncan, Gosford, stated:

At the quarry pit I was shown the bodies of two lads. Efforts were being made to resuscitate one. I made a careful examination of each body, and found life extinct. There were no signs of violence. Death was due to asphyxia by drowning.

Constable Phillip Henry Cummins, Gosford. stated: I, in company with Constable Jones, went to a disused quarry at North Gosford, where I was shown the bodies of two boys, whom I identified as the sons of John Weir. Efforts to restore life were in progress. Mr. Parry, who told me he, – together with Sister Ricketts, of ‘Khandala’ Hospital, was attracted by the screams of a boy, did excellent work in getting both bodies from the waterhole, which is half filled with snags and contained a number of floating planks. There are notices at the building adjoining, warning trespassers.

Wm. Hitchcock, aged 11. was sworn and stated: On Tuesday. I. in company with Stuart, Royce, and Alfred Weir, went to the quarry hole, to swim the dogs. After playing here for some time, Royce Weir stepped on a raft, which flipped over, and lie fell into the water. Then Stuart, who had boots and goloshes on, jumped in to try to get his brother. I ran off just then to get someone to help them.

Joseph Henry Wm. Parry, Green Pt., stated: While in Bent Street I heard a lad named Hitchcock calling out for help. I ran in the direction of the call, and in the largest waterhole saw a cap floating. I went into the water hole, felt the bottom with my feet, and found one body — that of the younger boy (Royce), in 5ft of water., close to the side. I carried it up the bank and landed it to persons on the top. I searched for 10 minutes longer, and found the body of Stuart Weir, caught in some snags in 7ft of water. I carried him also to the bank. Several persons, including Nurse Ricketts, were trying to restore the younger lad. Dr. Duncan and others worked for some time trying to resuscitate Stuart, but without success. I feel sure that everything possible was done to restore life.

In my opinion the younger boy slipped off the bank and the older boy jumped in to try and save him. and was caught under the limbs of a submerged tree, and held till he drowned.


Coroner’s Verdict.

The Coroner returned the following verdict: — I find that Royce James Weir, aged 9 years, was, on Nov. 22, accidentally drowned through falling off a plank into the water in a water hole at North Gosford. I further find that Stuart Charles Andrew Weir, aged 11 years, was accidentally drowned at the same time and place, while trying to rescue his brother.

The Interment.

Evidence of the general sorrow and sympathy felt for the grief-stricken parents was given by the large attendance of relatives and friends who surrounded the grave when the two little bodies were laid to rest in the peaceful solitude of Pt. Clare cemetery. Rev. Father P. J. Donovan conducted a preliminary service in St. Joseph ‘s Church, Gosford, and later officiated at the very impressive service at the grave side.

Many close relatives, including the father, mother, brothers, and sisters of the deceased boys, were present. A most impressive scene was witnessed when 15 or 16 school mates with wreaths in their hands stood among many others at the graveside to pay ‘their last tribute to their little friends, whose sad and sudden demise has cast a gloom over the whole district.

The coffin was borne from the hearse to the grave on the shoulders of Messrs J. Ryding, J. Barnes, J. Breen, and C. Morris. The funeral arrangements were ably executed by Mr. R. H. Creighton.


Floral Tributes. The wreaths were numerous and beautiful, and the grave was piled high with them. Among the names noticed on accompanying cards were: —V. McGee and P. Gilan, Athol MacDonald, Royce Moase, Em. and Cess Morris, Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Gleeson, Alice, Stanley, Freddy, and Marv McPherson, Mrs Sabass and family, Henry and Gladys Young, Mr and Mrs Weir and family, Alvin, Joyce and Bruce Douglas, the Dibben Boys, Mr and Mrs J. Hitchcock and children, Mick and Barby, Amy, Jack, and family, Mrs. E. Rae and family, Percy and Mabel Buscombe, Viv. and Aub. White, Laura, Jack, and family, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Frewin, Mr. and Mrs S. J. Black, Joan and Norman Sohier, Mr and Mrs P. Knight, Mr and Mrs Cliff Wroe, Gosford Post Office Staff, Parents & Citizens’ Assn., Hazel and Bob Hempenstall, Arch, Cecily and family, Mr and Mr9 C. E. Marsh and family, Ken, Maurice, Lloyd Passlow, Mr and Mrs Ern Moase, Mr and Mrs J. Irwin- and family, Knight & Capper, .Mr and Mrs J. L. Frazer, Mrs. Lockhart and family, Mr and Mrs.Kirkness and family, Dora, Eric and John Eowe, Mr and Mrs .Carroll and family, Mr and Mrs F. Clifton, Billie and Tommy Knight, Jean Pateman, Mr and Mrs Ryding and family, Tommy Abberton, Mr and Mrs Cummins and Phyllis ; Mr. and Mrs. Alf. Hobbs and family, Miss Lees (Tuggerah), Mr and Mrs J. Breen and family, Edie, and Joe Barnes and family, Harold, Stan, and Cecil Schubert, Mr and Mrs F . Wheeler and family, Mr and Mrs R. Burns, Emma and Dick Creighton, Mr and Mrs R. Bailey, Mr and Mrs Arthur Scaysbrook, Mr and Mrs Harry Price (Avoca). Leslie and Grace Bell, Mt and Mrs Daiton and family, Olwyn Benson, Mr and Mrs Dermody, Jim and Ted Spears, Mr and Mrs E. Clifford and family, Mr and Mrs Ted Taylor, Norma, Cyril, and Dick, Mr and Mrs J. White and Joe, Officers and Members of G.U.O.O.F. Lodge, Mr and Mrs Harry Pateman, Castelli family’, Mr and Mrs Littlefield. Mrs H. Fry and family, Lily, Kath., and Beulah, W. S. Moase, Mrs Moase, and family, Mr and Mrs Geo. Stephens, F. C. Warmoll and A. J. Alderton, Mr and Mrs Geo. Foott and family, Mrs Turner and family, Mr and Mrs Burgiif and family, Allan and Jean Dwyer, Mr and Mrs Margin and family. Jack May, Valda., Maurice and Claire Sterland. Mr and Mrs H. Hitchcock, Mr and Mrs Howell and family, Mr and Mrs A. Eaton and family, Ruth and Don Robertson, Mrs H. Rea (Tuggerah), Mr and Mrs Bradbury, Auntie Sylvia, Cecil and family. Grandma Hennessey and family, Employees of Knight and Capper.