Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Fatal Overdose

Fatal Overdose
O’Brien Street, a somewhat forgotten corner of Adelaide was the home to a family tragedy that could have easily been prevented.
The Thulborne family lived a happy existence in their corner of the city. George Thulborne worked for the Adelaide Corporation as a carter, and his wife, Mary was a stay at home mother of ten children.
On the morning of Tuesday the 27th of August 1912, George set off for work, and Mary woke the children, readying them for school. Some of the children had been a little ill, so Mary pulled down an old bottle of medicine from a high shelf, with the intention of taking it to the local chemist on Sturt Street to have it tested,
 Trusting her memory of what was in the concoction, she left the bottle on the table in the dining room, and headed off to the chemist.
In the meantime, her two-year-old son, Maurice, who had been playing outside, came back inside, saw the bottle, and drank from it. Mary returned home not long after, but did not notice a small amount of the contents of the bottle had disappeared.
 Within a couple of hours, Maurice was complaining of stomach pains, and by mid-afternoon he had become unconscious.
 Dr MacDonald was called, who did everything he could think of to try and work out was wrong with the toddler, and how to save him, but unfortunately by 9:45 pm that evening, young Maurice Alfred Thulborne had died.

The concoction Maurice had drunk from consisted of a mixture of Oil of Aniseed, Peppermint Oil, Laudanum and Paregoric. A mixture that would have smelt appealing to a two-year child, but was actually a toxic mixture of alcohol and opium.
 Laudanum was a popular remedy in Victorian times, which contained around ten percent powdered opium. In its mixture is several opioids, including morphine and codeine.
 Paregoric was also a Victorian era medicine, which contained
"honey, liquorice, flowers of Benjamin, and opium, camphor, oil of aniseed, salt of tartar and spirit of wine," and was used as a household remedy to treat, amongst other things, diarrhea, coughs and pain in children from teething[1].

Maurice Alfred Thulborne was buried in the Catholic section of the West Terrace Cemetery.

[1] Boyd, EM & MacLauchlan, ML, 1944, The Expectorant Action of Paregoric, Canadian Medical Association Journal, April 1944, Vol. 50, page 344

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

"Matilda"- The Smithfield Hotel

The Smithfield Hotel

The Smithfield Hotel is situated on the corner of Anderson Walk and Main North Road about 35 km’s north of Adelaide, South Australia.

The town of Smithfield was originally known as “Smith’s Creek” and was entirely owned by John Smith, who designed the town and was forced by the government to sell allotments to the public.
In 1854 Smith sold 9 allotments in his planned town, and thus, Smithfield was established.

John Smith had designed his town down to the minute detail, including a small hotel that would be on the outskirts of the village. The hotel, which featured horse stables, overnight accommodation and a bar, was situated right on the edge of the “Great North Road” as it was called in those days.

Smith chose his location well, and soon his hotel was a mail stop on the route to Gawler. Once copper was discovered in Kapunda, “The Wheatsheaf Hotel” (also known as Smith’s Inn) became an overnight stopping point for travellers and bullock drays transporting copper.
It took up to twelve hours to travel between Gawler and Adelaide in those days, so Smith’s Inn became the outer most stopping point before Gawler when heading north.

By the 1860’s Smithfield, as it was now known, had a Blacksmith, Post Office, Schools, Churches and an Undertaker and was a thriving northern outpost of metropolitan Adelaide.

The Smithfield Hotel is allegedly haunted by a former worker named “Matilda”.

Matilda seems to come and go as she pleases and can disappear for years at a time, only to reappear and begin her haunting once again.
Matilda can be seen in the front bar on occasion, but is also seen in the kitchen and sometimes in the accommodation sections, although this is much rarer. Descriptions of her appearance are few and far between, but she is described as being an “older lady” by witnesses.

I have had a drink in this hotel when I lived in the area in the late 1990’s. There was talk at the time by the local barflies of another ghost haunting the nearby intersection.
This ghost was to do with a car accident that happened at the intersection in front of the hotel. For a short while, the young male victim would be seen by patrons, standing on the centre verge of the road at night, until one day, he was seen no more…

Witnessed a ghost at The Smithfield Hotel? Head on over to our facebook page and tell us about your experience!



 Marshall, G, 2013. ghosts and hauntings of South Australia. 4th ed. Australia: self-published

Playford's Past: Smithfield. 2016. Playford's Past: Smithfield., viewed 12 September 2016, http://playfordspast.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/smithfield.html. 

State Library of South Australia, 2017, John Smith [B 1301], SLSA, viewed 14 July 2017, http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+1301

State Library of South Australia, 2017, Smithfield Hotel [B 31816], SLSA, viewed 14 July 2017, http://collections.slsa.sa.gov.au/resource/B+31816

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Unemployed Riots in Adelaide

Unemployed Riots in Adelaide

March 1st 1870, the usually quiet City of Adelaide was thrown into turmoil when a riot broke out in Victoria Square at the front of the Treasury Building.
 South Australia was in the midst of a recession with high unemployment and unrest amongst Adelaide’s unemployed had been growing for some time. 

 To alleviate the problem, the Government offered unemployed men positions working on public works projects. Men were offered positions digging trenches near the Adelaide Asylum at a rate of 1s 10d per 5 meters of trench, which meant a hardworking man could possible earn around 3 shilling in one day. The men considered this wage insulting and not enough recompense for the work being done, nor was it enough for the men with families to support their household. 

 (Note: 12d equals 1s (Shilling) - 6d is equivalent to approximately 5c in today’s currency– the average wage for a Housemaid in 1861 was 21 pounds. 20 Shillings equalled One Australian Pound)

 The men, gathered on Tuesday the first of March out the front of the Town Hall, but were dispersed by the Police, only to return a few hours later in greater numbers.
 The now much larger group of disgruntled men decided to march to the treasury building and voice their anger.
 Anger and frustration soon boiled over, and some of the men stormed the Treasury Building demanding to have an audience with the Premier and other Government dignitaries. The situation soon got out of hand and erupted into a full blown riot.
 20 Policemen were sent to eject the protestors from the Treasury Building. They cleared the halls and ejected the men onto the street, then they themselves entered the street, with clerks bolting the doors behind them.

 Mounted police who had been watching the crowd all day, intercepted the rioters and all hell broke loose. Mounted Police rode straight into the rioters, and those officers on the ground, drew their swords and began to defend themselves from the unruly mob, who had taken up weapons and were striking back.
Officers were struck with stones, and the rioters tried to pull them from their horses. Peaceable spectators became involved, trying to calm the riot and assist police but to no avail. The rioters began to mash shop fronts on King William Street, but it didn’t last long.
 A lone rioter was standing on an empty lot opposite the Town Hall, shouting out a sermon to his fellow rioters. The men gathered around and listened to their fellow rioter as he harangued the Government about their 18 cent a day labor wage.
 The men were once again whipped into a frenzy, picking up their shovels and picks, they once again marched to the Treasury building, only to meet the mounted troops who rushed them and broke them up. Another smaller fracas occurred outside the Post Office, but this was also put down by the ever growing contingent of Police. Arrests began to be made, and soon the disgruntled men began to disperse, but that wasn’t the end of it.
 Court cases followed, but very few men were sentenced. The Government came under much scrutiny, as did the police force, who were accused of inciting the riot by their show of force in the first instance.

© 2016, Written and researched by Allen Tiller

1870 'LAW AND CRIMINAL COURTS.', Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), 28 May, p. 4. , viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article158940155

1870 'THE UNEMPLOYED DISTURBANCE IN KING WILLIAM-STREET.', Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912), 2 March, p. 3. (THIRD EDITION), viewed 13 Sep 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196729362

Alison Painter. 2016. 1 March 1870 Riot in Adelaide (Celebrating South Australia). [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.sahistorians.org.au/175/chronology/march/1-march-1870-riot-in-adelaide.shtml. [Accessed 13 September 2016].

Manning, Geoffrey H 2001, A colonial experience, 1838-1910 : a woman's story of life in Adelaide, the District of Kensington and Norwood together with reminiscences of colonial life, Gillingham Printers, Underdale, S. Aust

What people used to earn - What it used to cost - Research Guides at State Library of Victoria. 2016. What people used to earn - What it used to cost - Research Guides at State Library of Victoria. [ONLINE] Available at: http://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/c.php?g=245232&p=1633038. [Accessed 13 September 2016].