Saturday, November 5, 2011

Like they'd been hit by a train.

On my recent trip, I was able to talk to my uncle about a family story of which I had little detail. On my return, I received his written account, which I share here.
"My father Harry had two '27 model Dodge cars that they had cut down into utilities, the utes were always driven by George as Dad had an accident with a car and lost his nerve. One day in 1950 they had a social trip to Ilabo where they were to have a few beers and a yarn to the stock and station dealer. they swapped rego plates on those two utes to which one was running best at the time, on the way home they were driving beside the railway line. About three kilometers out of Ilabo they made a sharp right hand turn to cross the line. As the gates at the crossing had been incorrectly left open, George kept going straight and the Riverina Express 38 classic locomotive doing 100kph and the canvas hooded ute hit the connecting rods on the main driving wheels. This swept the ute between the 38 loco and the gate post. A gap of about 1.2 metres. As the gatepost was made of two pieces of railway line the car was smashed to bits. The Express was put out of action and when it stopped the guard's van was level with the gate. the guard stepped down from the train, saw Dad standing near the gate with very little left of the car. The guard asked "are you alright?" "Yes" Dad replied "but I can't find my brother" so they had a look about and found George in the grass looking for his pipe. A piece of the car went through the gatekeepers water tank, spilling most of his only water supply, another went through the window of the house which was over 100 metres away. Their injuries were a grazed nose to dad and a cut to George's right elbow tendon. This injury caused his little finger to wither away, this never bothered George as he never went for any treatment." Alan Buckley 2011
Just a short while before my visit, Uncle Alan had found parts of the car wreckage at the site, more than 60 years after the event! He gave me a piece to bring home.

 Curious, I Googled both the car and the train:

The 'Riverina Express', 1946

1927 Dodge Truck
You can see from this photo of a similar car the section that my uncle is holding in the previous photo!

So, now the story is told - although I am sure both George and harry would have a lot more to add!

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