Victor J. Mackenzie
Methodist Section 1 Row 1 Plot 22
Victor J. Mackenzie
Victor Joseph Mackenzie was a Man about this Town. He mixed in elite circles and was a go to guy for many of the upcoming Council politicians. He was a big strong man , an ordardist and would have known the Adcock’s He participated as a strike breaking action to load oranges onto ships. He knew Robert Baker, he went to Robert Baker’s men’s gathering just before his wedding in 1920 and Baker to his wedding in 1922. He had a wife Thyra and many children. The Train accident would have had a lasting impact on Victor. His mate Robert Baker would normally have been the Coroner, I note that W. E. Kirkness is in his place.
Gosford Times and Wyong Advocate
Dated 13 January 1921.
WOY WOY BRIDGE DISASTER.
Coroner’s Inquests Accidental Deaths
Railway Officials Exonerated.
On Monday morning last, at Gosford Courthouse, the District Coroner, Mr. W. E. Kirkness, J.P., held an inquest regarding the recent Woy Woy Bridge disaster, which resulted in the deaths of Mrs. Victor McKenzie and her two children, and Mr. C. W. Roughley. The following evidence was adduced: —
James Lewis Russell deposed: I am a police constable stationed at Woy Woy; I remember the 3rd instant; at about 6.30 p.m. I received a message by telephone from Mr. P. Gillan ; I hurried to the Railway Bridge, Woy Woy; Constable Young, of Newcastle, was also present; I there saw on the Railway Bridge the body of a man apparently the age of 36 years, a boy of about 9years; I also saw the mangled remains of a woman; from inquiries I made I believe that train No. E74 Gosford to Sydney, had just previously run them down and killed them; I also believe that there was a baby 2 and a half years missing from the party; with the assistance of persons present, I conveyed the bodies to one of Mr. W. J. Parks ‘ cottages close by; next day, about 10 a.m., the body of a female child about 2 and a half years was found at Mt. Pleasant washed up on the shore; this was conveyed by the police and placed with the other bodies in Mr. Parks’ cottage; Mt. Pleasant is about two miles away from the scene of the accident; I have reason to believe that the body of the child found was one of the party; I have reason to believe that it fell through the [sleepers of the Bridge into the water below.
By Inspector Haslam: I believe that there are notices at both ends of the Bridge warning persons against crossing.
Victor Joseph McKenzie deposed: I am a property owner and reside at Gosford; I remember 3rd instant; the members of my family left home on that date to join Mr. Roughley and his family at Woy Woy; they consisted of my wife, Thyra McKenzie, 42,Edna May, 15 years, Harold John, 8 years, Bruce, 4 years, and Gladys Jean, 2 and a half years; they were all in good health; that was the last time I saw my wife, Thyra, my son Harold, and my daughter Gladys; their lives were not insured; they did not leave any property.
William Rudland Hawkins deposed :I am an orchardist and reside at Dural; I remember the 3rd day of January ;the deceased, Clifton Wilmott Roughley was my son-in-law; I last saw him alive about a fortnight previously; he went to Woy Woy in company with his wife and family for a holiday; they rented a cottage from Mr. W. J. Parks; they were joined by Mrs. McKenzie and her children; I went to Woy Woy on the 3rd, and to the cottage occupied by Mr. Roughley; I there saw the bodies of Clifton Wilmott Roughley, Thyra McKenzie, Harold McKenzie, and later the body of Gladys McKenzie; I identfied the bodies of the four persons mentioned; I understand the reason the party proceeded to Woy Woy by foot along the line instead of going by boat was the rough weather conditions.
I know that they were run down by the train while crossing the Bridge; Mr. Roughley ‘s life was insured in the Colonial Mutual Insurance Office for| about £900; He left a will leaving his wife executrix, and Reginald Roughley trustee; he was a total abstainer. Alfred Harold Wilcockson deposed.
I am an engine driver, and employed by the Railway Commissioners; I remember the 3rd January; I was in charge of train No. E74; I took up duty at Gosford at 4.15 p.m.; I left Gosford at 6.35; we stopped at Point Clare, Tascott, and Koolewong; we were travelling at about 30 miles an hour; the first intimation I had of anything wrong was the fireman blowing his whistle; the train was then just coming out of the cutting; we were then about 75 yards from the Woy Woy Bridge;
I immediately cut off steam when the whistle was sounded as I felt there was danger ahead when the fireman blew the whistle; the fireman said there is someone on the Bridge ; I looked ahead and saw several people on the Bridge; I at once applied the air brakes with full force, and reversed the engine; this had the effect of bringing he train to a standstill at about three cars past the bridge; from the time of applying the brakes the train pulled up within its own length ; I met the guard coming toward me; he said “we have killed three people”; he said that they were all dead; I then went back to the engine, and got my detonators and gave them to the fireman and told him to go and protect the down line by placing detonators on the line; I told him then to proceed to Woy, Woy Station and in form the Station Master of what had occurred; I then got on the engine and moved the trains to allow the guard to take the remains from under the train .
The weather was stormy and raining ;the whistle is a deep toned and strong one, and should have been heard at the Bridge; part of the train was still on the Bridge when I pulled up; the mileage is 45 miles 65 chains; the time of the accident was 6.46 p.m.; when I saw the people on the Bridge. They seemed too confused to get out of the way.
William Thomas Wallace deposed: I am employed by the Railway Commissioners; I remember the 3rd day of January; I was fireman on Train E 74 on that day; the No. of the engine is909; we left Koolewong about 6.42 p.m. the next stop would be Woy Woy; before reaching the Woy Woy Bridge there is a long cutting and a curve; I had a clear view ahead after leaving the cutting; it is about 75 yards from the end of the cutting to the Bridge; I saw several people walking on the Bridge; I at once blew the engine whistle, and thought the people would get off the Bridge; I called to the driver and told him, and he at once applied the brakes and reversed the engine; this brought the train to a standstill suddenly about three cars past the Bridge; there were also several cars on the bridge; the driver got off the engine and went back the left me in charge of the engine while he did so; he came back and informed me that the train had run over three people and killed them; I was sent to Woy Woy to report the matter; the train was travelling about 30 miles an hour; the driver used every means possible to avert the accident.
Robert Alexander Lindsay deposed: I am employed by the Railway Commissioners as a guard; I remember the 3rdday of January; I was guard on TrainE74 on that day; the train left Koolewong at 6.45 p.m.; when in the cutting before reaching Woy Woy Bridge I heard a blast from the engine; I had no clear view of the line; I heard another whistle, and a few seconds afterwards the brakes were applied with full force; I immediately applied the hand brakes; the train pulled up; I jumped on to the Bridge; I heard a boy calling out “Dadda, Dadda” on the Bridge; I also saw Mr. Roughley ‘s body lying on the down line, also the body of a boy and the body of a woman; the body of the boy was between the two lines and the body of the woman was under the train about the 4th or 5thcar from the engine; I then went forward and informed the driver that three persons had been killed, and to send the fireman to report the matter to Woy Woy and to protect the opposite line on his way; I do not know the span of the Bridge; it is possible for a child to fall between the sleepers into the water below; I satisfied myself that life was extinct when I saw the bodies; I set the train back a few yards to allow the bodies to be removed.
The Coroner returned the following verdict : — “I find that the said Clifton Wilmott Roughley, Thyra McKenzie, Harold John McKenzie, Gladys Jean McKenzie, at Woy Woy, Police District of Brisbane Water, N.S.W., on January 3rd,1921, died from injuries accidentally received on that date through being struck by a passing train, no blame being attachable to the train officials.”
So fast forward a couple of years and Victor is back in the Gosford area and has become an action man and He is attempting to drive his Buick Six over the ridgeline to Woy Woy the first bloke to do so. Adverts in the local paper have him as a real estate agent and car salesman.
15 March 1923
PRACTICAL ROUTE ROUND THE HILLS DISCOVERED.
Woy Woy’s isolation by road was ended on Saturday last, when Mr. V. J. McKenzie, of Gosford, drove his Buick Six, with the Shire President and Engineer, from Gosford to Woy Woy by a route along the western hills. The bridle track which had previously been used by Cr. Staples on horseback was round to lead through country ,the nature of which would permit of a trafficable road being made at comparatively little cost; and as at last Council meeting £250 was voted for the work from the Government endowment, to be supplemented by a like amount from the rates, it is hoped that it will not be long before it can be announced to the North, and to the State at large, that motor and other vehicles can come right into Woy Woy.
The approximate distances are in miles:—
From Gosford via Main Road to Boys’ Home 3 miles
From Main Road along cleared road past Parry’s 1 mile and half miles
From cleared road over hills to Woy Woy Tunnel 3 and half miles
From Tunnel over hills to Dillon ‘s Gap at formed road 1 mile
From top of hill down Dillon ‘s Road to bottom of hill 1 mile
From bottom of hill to Woy Woy 1 and half miles
‘Pilot’ writes: — When a Buick six cylinder car, driven by Mr. V. J. McKenzie, of Gosford, and carrying two passengers, Cr. C. J. Staples (Shire President) and Mr. C. J. Fenton (Shire ‘ Engineer) rolled into- Woy Woy on Saturday afternoon, the locals could not for some time be convinced that this car had travelled under its own power and on its own four wheels from Gosford to Woy Woy. Yet this was the simple- truth. It was all the more surprising because of the fact that, as any Woy Woyan will tell you, the town is isolated so far as road communication is concerned, and even a horse-drawn vehicle has not yet negotiated the rough bridle track running from the Woy Woy Tunnel to the road near the Boys ; Home, about 3 miles from Gosford.
The news soon got around and caused considerable excitement when Mr. McKenzie’s accomplishment became known. Many were, at first, frankly sceptical, and those who were most inclined to doubt the truth of the report were those who know the track best — for they know from first-hand experience the difficulties of the mountain route.
It was known only to a few — and they had beforehand been sworn to secrecy — that the trip from. Gosford to Woy Woy by motor car was to be at tempted. And here it should be noted that the trip was undertaken without any preliminary examination of the route or any beforehand preparation of the track to be traversed. The ‘overlanders’ did not wish the attempt to be known for fear it might not be successful. When one particularly rough and apparently impassable natural obstruction was met with near the Woy Woy Tunnel, ‘ ‘ Mae. ‘ ‘ remarked, ‘I hope no one has got wind of this stunt in Woy Woy!’ And at this point the venturesome three feared that they would be classed as lunatics if they were to fail and the thing they had attempted became known.
But thanks to V.J. ‘s truly remarkable driving, the car was got through without mishap.
The Shire Councillors have recently conducted a series of inspection by motor car all over the Shire, and on these trips ‘Mac’s’ skill in negotiating rough and awkward country that most road difficulties can be overcome by a daring and skilful driver.
This prompted Cr. Staples to suggest to Mr. McKenzie that it might be possible for him to negotiate the bridle track over the mountains between the Boys’ Home at Gosford and the Woy Woy Tunnel.
Always ready to tackle a difficult proposition, “ Mac” promptly promised ‘ ‘ to give it a fly.”
It was at first thought advisable to go over the route on foot to make a preliminary examination of the route. But last Friday night it was decided to ‘the attempt the next morning by dispense with the usual preliminaries in a trip of this kind.
At 9.30 on Saturday morning a start was made from the Gosford Railway station. Three miles by road to the top of thee hill near the Gosford Boys Home was speedily negotiated and the journey really commenced from this point. Where a cleared track leads off to the south right at the top of the hill. For a mile and a half the going was good, as the road has been cleared for this distance, ending near Mr. Parry ‘s holding.
From here it was found that the bridle track could not be negotiated by car on account of its many windings between rocks and up and down steep places.
A route was chosen over the hills which necessitated much hard work in the way of clearing trees, grass-tree roots, and sometimes ‘rock chopping,”’ as well as roughly forming steep activities and declivities, and filling in dry water-courses to allow the car to pass. The only accident of the trip was met with about a mile from the Woy Woy Tunnel, one of the rear mud-guards of the car being badly buckled through striking a fallen tree as the car swerved to avoid an obstruction just ahead.
The telegraph line on top of the Woy Woy Tunnel was’ reached at 12.30 — just three hours from the starting time. And, considering the roughness of the country, as well as the fact that at many points the car had to be left while the route ahead was surveyed on foot, this was making good time. At this point it began to be feared that the attempt would prove a failure.
After casting around for threes hours to find a possible’ ascent of the high hills on the south eastern side of the Tunnel a way out was eventually discovered. A little over a mile of exceedingly rough going. in which several sharp, steep climbs had to be made by the car. brought the party on to the formed road at the top of Dillon’s Gap, leading from Woy Woy to Mr. George Dillon’s.
Here the party at last realised that the journey was practically accomplished, and that a few minutes later they would be the proud claimants of the distinction to be the first to enter Woy Woy from the outside by motor car.
At a spring on the roadside the success of the trip was drunk in good, clear water — the first good water that was found during the journey, though the travellers had perforce to drink from many stagnant pools along the route.
It may be mentioned that no food or drink was carried on the trip — certainly a great over sight! The road down from Dillon’s to the railway line was found to be rough and steep, and its many awkward turns — it is only about 8ft wide with a precipice on one side — necessitated careful driving. But it was easy for ‘Mac.’ compared with the country he had been driving over all day, and the level land was gained without mishap.
Three-quarters of a mile of sandy track brought the car to the metalled road (Railway Street) near the Woy Woy South railway gates, and the car raced from here into Woy Woy with the ‘hooter’ in full blast. ‘The arrival,’ at 4.30p.m., seven hours after leaving Gosford, was celebrated at Hadley ‘s with a bottle of champagne, the cork of which ‘Mac.’ annexed as a souvenir’ of the great occasion.
Then this happens his 25 year old son gets sick and dies.
7th June 1928
ALFRED VICTOR McKENZIE.
The sad death, occurred in Quirindi Hospital on Monday evening, May 28, at 9. 15 p.m., of Mr. Alfred Victor McKenzie, aged 25. Deceased took suddenly ill a fortnight prior to his death, and was taken to Quirindi Hospital, suffering from enteric fever. Despite all efforts by the three doctors and two nurses (one of whom, Sister McKenzie, was his sister), the patient gradually grew worse, and succumbed) on the Monday night.
Mr. McKenzie was operated upon on Monday afternoon, as a last resource. He rallied after the operation, but only temporarily. His father, Mr. V. J. McKenzie, of Gosford, Sister G. McKenzie, and sisters-in-law from Mosman were with him at the end.
The news of deceased’s serious illness, and then of his death, was very distressing to a large circle of friends and relatives in the Gosford district, all of whom held him in high esteem.
Mr. A. V. McKenzie, who was in the service of the Government Savings Bank of N.S.W., had been stationed at Quirindi for the past six years, and held the position of teller at the time of his death. Joining the Bank at Gosford (after a short term on the Railway staff at Gosford) he was attached to the local Branch for a number of years, after which he was transferred to Edgecliffe, and later to Quirindi. The late Mr. McKenzie was married in February last to Miss Dorothy Ferguson, at Mosman. Many friends sympathise deeply with the young widow, and with the other bereaved relatives in the sad loss they have suffered by his untimely passing. The mourners include Mrs. A. V. McKenzie (widow), Mr. V. J. McKenzie (father), Mrs. T. H. Pryor (sister), Mrs. Ray Fagan (sister), Nurse G. McKenzie (sister), and Master Bruce McKenzie (brother). A shocking tragedy at the Woy Woy railway bridge on January 3, 1921, was responsible for the death of three members of the family — the late Mrs. V. J. McKenzie, and a daughter and son, aged 8 and 2.5 years. The Funeral On the arrival of the Brisbane Mail at Gosford on Wednesday morning, May 30, the cortege moved to Point Clare Cemetery. The hearse was followed by over 30 cars. At the cemetery the coffin was borne to the Methodist portion, and laid at rest beside the graves of deceased’s mother and little brother and sister. The Rev. G. A. Baily, Gosford Methodist Minister, officiated at the graveside, which was surrounded by a host of family friends.
Mr. Baily delivered a very impressive address. Among the relatives at the graveside were Mr. and Mrs. V. J. McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. T. H. Pryor, Mr. and Mrs. B. Fagan, Bruce McKenzie, Mr. and Mrs. Alf. Sterland, (sister and brother-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson (mother and father-in-law), Mr. A. Wane (brother-in-law), Messrs. McQueen and Reichendah, of Quirindi, near friends of deceased, were also at the funeral.
Among the wreaths, the following cards were noticed: — From Daddy, Mummy, and your Sisters; Florrie and Tom; Marj, and Arthur; Ray and Edna; Lal. and Norm; Sterland Bros. And Arthur Wane; Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Moore; Mr. and Mrs. V. F. Fagan; Mr. and Mrs. Bert Moore; Mr. and Mrs. D. G. Pryor; Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Sterland; Syd and N. Gregory; Members of Quirindi Golf Club; G. And F. May; Mr. and Mrs. Creighton and Family; Lodge Rising Sun, Gosford; Mr. and Mrs. B. J. Stephenson, Daphne, and Duncan; Mr. and Mrs. F. G. McPherson; A. and L. Tetsell; Mr. and Mrs. S. J. Black; Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Gollan and Family; Mr. Breakspear, Inspector, Bank; Mr. and Mrs. B. A. Hill and Family; Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Murrell and Family; Mr. and Mrs. Clarke, Mr. and Mrs. Croal, Mr. and Mrs. Galloway, Mrs. Merchant; Edith and Lyal Sutton; Mr. and Mrs. Macqueen; Mr. and Mrs. F. Wheeler and Family; Charles T. Hills; Thomas Bros.; Dr. and Mrs. Howell, Quirindi; Mr. and Mrs. Parr, and Staff, Govt. Savings Bank; Mr. and Mrs. A. M. Nyall; Gosford Agricultural Association; Mr. and Mrs. H. Benson and Family; Mr. and Mrs. B. L. Campbell, Quirindi; Mr. and Mrs. G. Stephens; the Anderson Family; Mr. and Mrs. B. Hill; Dr. and Mrs. Magill; Commissioners, Govt. Savings Bank of N. S.W.; Mr. and Mrs. Bathgate; Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Mason; the Margin Family.
The last mention of Victor J Mckenzie was in 1938 when he lived in Manly. He died in 1957 aged 81.