Men prospecting for gold in Queensland in the early 20th Century.
Men prospecting for gold in Queensland in the early 20th Century.

Prospector blown to pieces


This is the latest instalment in our 1917 historical feature where we look back at the stories, people and events that shaped our region from the 1917 editions of The Morning Bulletin.

The following tragic story was published in The Morning Bulletin in April 1917.

Dynamite Accident

The body of Edgar Thomas Edwards, who was reported as missing to the Marmor police on Wednesday evening last, as found shattered by dynamite 300 yards from his house on Thursday afternoon.

The Deceased was missing from his house between Monday and Wednesday. At about half-past seven o'clock on Wednesday night a man named Isaac Spreadborough, of Marmor, reported to the Marmor police that a man named Theofel Schultz had informed him that he called at Edward's house about three o'clock on Monday afternoon for the loan of a sieve, but Edwards was away; that there was a piece of paper on the door of the house with the words "Back at 6."

[Edwards] Was still absent; that he called again about 6 p.m. the same day and Edwards was still absent; that he called again on Tuesday and Wednesday, and could not see Edwards. Spreadborough, on receiving this information, rode to Edward's house and examined the fireplace, which had apparently not been used for at least a couple of days.

The paper found on the door was handed to Constable McCarthy, Marmor, and after he had satisfied himself that it was written by Edwards, he telephoned to Rockhampton, informing Senior-sergeant O'Connor of the position.

Tracker Barber was accordingly despatched from here. He reached Marmor shortly after midnight on Wednesday. At daylight the constable, accompanied by the tracker and twenty-one residents of Marmor, commenced a search for Edwards, but up till noon could not find any trace of him.

3d rendered wax seal
3d rendered wax seal Eraxion

The constable was then informed that a man named Ferry was supposed to be in partnership with Edwards in working a claim, the location of which, it was stated, was known only to Edwards and Ferry, and he returned to Marmor to meet Ferry, who was coming from Rockhampton by the mail train, so that he could locate the claim at once.

Ferry got out of the train at Bajool, and the constable telephoned asking him to go to Edwards's place immediately. Meanwhile the constable resumed the search. At a quarter to three o'clock in the afternoon a body was found by a party led by Mr. D. Curtain, about 300 yards from the deceased's house.

It presented a gruesome sight. It was shattered beyond recognition: but a small pouch and a boot were identified by William Schmidt and George Lake as having belonged to Edwards. Pieces of the flesh were found in all directions. There was a hole in the ground nearby and a drill, while the condition of the ground indicated that it had been disturbed by dynamite. The constable and tracker searched most carefully for Edwards's remains which were placed on blankets and covered. These were brought to Rockhampton yesterday morning, and a post-mortem examination of them was made by Dr. F.H.V. Voss.

While the party was engaged in the search Ferry arrived. He denied that he had any interest in a claim with the deceased: in fact, he declared he did not know where Edwards's claim was situated.

In Constable McCarthy's opinion, Edwards met his death accidentally.

Edwards was a single man, about forty-five years of age, and owned a farm. So far as can be ascertained by the police, he had not relatives in the district.