Saturday, March 02, 2013



On Saturday night Nudgee was the scene of a terrible burning fatality, the victims being a mother and her three children. The cause of the affair can only be conjectured, as all the occupants of the house were destroyed. Ambrose Robinson, an employee of the Hon. E. B. Forrest, resided with his wife and three children in a four-roomed house, built of ironbark slabs, within a short distance of Mr. Forrest's residence, near Nudgee Raliway Station. About 7 o'clock in the evening the husband went to Zillmere to attend a meeting and visit his mother, who was ill. Apparently Mrs. Robinson and the children went to bed, as the house was in darkness when Mr. Forrest passed it on his way home between 10 and 11 o'clock. Mr. Forrest had only been in his own home a few minutes when he noticed a glare in the direction of the cottage, and about the same time four men at the railway station saw the flames. By the time they reached the scene the building was a mass of fire. The heat and fury of the flames drove them back, and in any case it was hopeless to save the place, as there was no water supply obtainable. The roof had fallen in, but among the ruins could be seen the charred body of the mother and one child, lying on the floor of the bedroom. Apparently the unfortunate woman had been surprised by the flames when asleep, and suffocated before she could save either herself or any of her children. The flames were still burning, and the spectators had been unable to secure the bodies when the husband returned to his ruined home. When informed of the sad occurrence he became like one demented, and very little information was obtainable from him. It appears that Robinson and his wife had led a very happy life, and were devoted to their children. Both Mr. Robinson and his parents are held in very high respect by the neighbouring community, among whom they have resided for very many years. It was gathered from the father that he had left three children at home, and it then became apparent that the tragedy was even of greater magnitude than anticipated. Acting sergeant Rafter, of Nundah, appeared on the scene, and as soon as possible searched among the ruins for the remains of the victims. He collected a quantity of human fragments, and yesterday morning Constable O'Dea continued investigations. All the remains were found in the one room, which had been occupied as the bedroom. The matter was reported to Mr. Ranking, P.M., who ordered the remains to be handed to Dr. Espie Dods for examination. Last evening the doctor certified that the remains were that of an adult, two children, and an infant. The following are the names of the victims:- Charlotte Robinson, aged 31; Elsie May, 5; Wm. George, 3; Dorothy Esther, 1. During yesterday Sub-inspector Savage visited the scene, and made investigations. He ascertained that it had been the habit of the family to retire to rest leaving a kerosene lamp burning in the bedroom, and it is conjectured that the wind blew the curtain against the light, and the whole place was quickly enveloped in flames. Evidently suffocation ensued very speedily, as it was not apparent that any attempt had been made to escape. The sub-inspector satisfied himself that there had been no foul play. A magisterial inquiry will be held. It is probable that the funeral will take place to-day. Much sympathy is felt with the husband, who has been bereft of wife and family under such appalling circumstances.

TERRIBLE FATALITY AT NUDGEE. (1903, January 12). The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), p. 5. TROVE

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