Blogging from A to Z

Blogging From A to Z Challenge – A is for Avoca

After noticing a couple of other posts today, I have decided to take part in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge (April 2016).

Avoca is in Victoria, Australia, and is about half way between Castlemaine and Ararat.  There is a website about the Avoca community at

Two branches of my family lived in Avoca.  The first of these families was that of Eunice Marr and Arthur Edgar Gane.  Eunice was the daughter of Charles Marr, and I’m descended from Charles’ brother Henry Palmer Marr.

Arthur and Eunice were married on 20 January 1909 at Talbot, and they had 13 children between 1909 and 1928.  Eunice died 26 February 1929 at Avoca, and was buried at the Avoca Cemetery.  After Eunice died, Arthur remarried and had a number of other children.

Their sons Donald (1925-1995) and Kenneth (1910-1989), and daughter Mabel Norton (1914-1998) were also buried at the Avoca Cemetery.

The other branch of my family that lived at Avoca was the family of Daniel William Trickey and Florence Emily Horsfall.  Florence was the granddaughter of Sarah Oldroyd.  I’m descended from Sarah’s sister Jane Elizabeth Oldroyd.  Daniel and Florence were married in 1902.  Daniel died in 1955, and Florence died in 1937.  They were both buried at the Avoca Cemetery.  This is a photo of the family at the Avoca Cemetery (courtesy of Carol’s Headstone Photographs)

Trickey family Avoca Cemetery
Trickey family Avoca Cemetery

Daniel and Florence had 9 children:

  • Percy Daniel Trickey (1903-1937). Percy married Dorothy Redpath, and their son Laurence also died in 1937.
  • Harold Trickey (1905-1936)
  • Alfred Eli Trickey (1906-1966)
  • Stanley Morris Trickey (1908-1979)
  • Florence Irene Trickey (1910-1913)
  • Florence Mavis Jean Trickey (1913-1977)
  • Albert Trickey (1915-1992)
  • Irean Trickey (1918-1991). Irean married Allan George Walker and they are also buried at Avoca Cemetery
  • Ernest Victor Trickey (1919-1920)

I only have a year of death for most of the family, except for Percy.  Percy was killed in the miner’s bus crash at Avoca.  The following are transcriptions from articles in The Maryborough Advertiser on Wednesday February 3 1937 and Wednesday February 17 1937, accessed on microfilm at the State Library of Victoria.

The Maryborough Advertiser Wednesday February 3 1937






When a motor bus containing 17 men, 16 of whom were miners returning from work at the Caralulup mines (Norbury’s and No. 1 shaft, Caralulup),crashed into a tree off the Ballarat Road near Avoca at about 1.45 yesterday morning, two were killed practically instantaneously, two others critically injured, and the remainder slightly injured for which they had to receive medical attention.  The victims were:


Percy Trickey, married, aged 34 years, residing at Avoca.

Alan Smith, aged 21 years, single, residing at Avoca.

Critically injured

Alan Walker, 21 year Married, residing at Avoca. Admitted to Maryborough Hospital in unconscious condition suffering from extensive head and body injuries

Alfred Trickey and Stan Trickey, all residents of Avoca, escaped with slight injuries and shock….  received treatment at the Maryborough Hospital.

The remainder were treated at Avoca by Drury.

The accident, the most sensational and serious of its kind yet experienced in the district, shocked the township of Avoca, where all the men resided.

The accident, of a nature without parallel in the history of the district, occurred at a spot on the Ballarat Road a few miles from Avoca. The men, having completed the afternoon shift at the mines were, following the usual custom, returning to their homes in Avoca by motor bus, a service operating between that township and the mines, similar to that from Maryborough.  The bus was driven by Stanley Trickey, a brother of Percy Trickey and brother-in-law of Alan Walker.  Mr. Robt. Trickey, of Maryborough, is an uncle, and Messrs. Ron and Roy Trickey, also of Maryborough, cousins of Percy, Stanley and Alfred Trickey.

A high wind was blowing at the time of the accident, but it is believed that a depression in the roadway caused the heavily laden bus to suddenly leave the roadway and crash into a tree with terrific force.  The bus was almost completely wrecked, and the men, following the impact, were thrown about in all directions.  Smith was killed instantaneously, and Trickey died as arrangements were being made to convey him to the Maryborough Hospital.

Constable Ryan and Dr. Drury, of Avoca were summoned and other assistance also procured to render aid to the injured men. Cars were also commissioned to convey the critically hurt to the Maryborough Hospital.

The extremely sad occurrence naturally cast a gloom over the Avoca township, where the men are all well known and highly respected.

The deepest sympathy will go out to the widow, children and other relatives in their sad bereavement.  Mr. Percy Trickey was a highly esteemed resident of Avoca, where his parents also resided.  He was a son of Mr and Mrs Dan Trickey, who, only about three months ago, lost another son as a result of illness.  Mr Alan Smith was also very popular.  Last season he was a leading footballer in the Pyrenees Association.


A report issued from the hospital this morning stated that the condition … of Walker, who, although not out of danger, now had a good chance of recovery.

From The Maryborough Advertiser Wednesday February 17 1937





Early in the morning of February 2 a motor bus containing 17 miners returning from work at the Caralulup mines crashed into trees off the Avoca Road, about four miles from Avoca.  Two of the men, Percy Trickey,  aged 34 years, married, and Alan Smith, aged 23 years, single, were killed, and two others were critically injured and were admitted to the Maryborough Hospital, where they are still inmates.

The tragedy was the subject of an inquiry at Avoca on Monday afternoon, when police evidence showed that the accident was due to the off front spring of the truck breaking and the steering failing.  A verdict of accidental death was returned in each instance.

The inquiry was held at the Avoca Court House, and was conducted by Mr. O. F. Thomas, the Deputy Coroner.  First Constable P. Ryan appeared to assist the Deputy Coroner, and Sir Bruce Turnock, of Melbourne represented the insurance company concerned in the accident.

Stanley M. Trickey, the driver of the bus which operated between Avoca and the Caralulup mines, said that on the morning of February 2 he departed from Norbury’s Shaft at approximately 12.30 am.  There were 18 passengers in the bus when he started.  At approximately 12.45 am he was proceeding in a northerly direction along the Ballarat- Avoca Road about one miles south of the Lamplough Post Office.

“I was travelling down hill at the time,” continued the witness.  “I slowed down to cross a washaway in the road.  I was travelling about 20 miles an hour when I crossed.

“As I crossed the washaway the rear portion of the vehicle turned to the right, and then slid back towards the left.  As it did so the steering mechanism of the vehicle appeared to lock.  I applied the brake, and endeavored to turn the steering wheel.  The vehicle crossed to the right hand side and commenced to fall over on its left hand side.  The vehicle hit the trees standing at the side of the road.

The trees smashed the windscreen of the vehicle and also the top.  When the truck finished moving the trees were halfway down the body.

“While the vehicle was crossing the road I was holding the steering wheel endeavouring to turn it, but it did not move.  The back of the front seat held me against the steering wheel.  There were four persons in the front of the bus – Ernest Davis, Frederick Neil, Alan Hill and myself.  I stayed at the vehicle while Alan Hill went to the Lamplough Post Office to secure assistance and medical attention for the injured.  The vehicle I was driving is a Reo Motor bus.  Entrance to the vehicle is gained from the rear.  There is a seat along each side and one across the front.  I have been licensed to drive for 11 years.  My licence was current at the time.  The three men on the driving seat did not interefere with my driving.  I have driven over this road before, and I have also previously driven this bus.  The lights were switched on at the time and were good.

First Constable P. Ryan, stationed at Avoca, said that when advised of the accident he went to the south side of the Lamplough Post Office, about four and a half miles from Avoca.

“The tracks of the motor bus”, said witness, “showed that it left the main road at the foot of a hill where there is a slight depression and also some loose gravel.  There is also a slight angle in the road.  The vehicle travelled about 20 yards before it crashed into some trees on the off side of the road.  The vehicle seemed to be on two wheels before it fell on to its side against the trees, which were half way down the body, the steering failed,

“I am of the opinion that the front off spring broke, and the bus got out of the control of the driver.”

Frederick Neil, miner, residing at Avoca, said that he was a passenger in the bus and was returning to his home at the time of the accident.  The bus was travelling along the Ballarat-Avoca Road, and was proceeding at between 20 and 25 miles an hour at the time.  The driver slowed down to cross a slight washaway, and as the bus struck the depression it seemed to twist sharply to the right and jamb the steering. The next instant the bush crashed into some trees on the side of the road.  The driver did all that he could to avoid the accident.

Corroborative evidence was given by Richard Ernest Davis, miner, who was also a passenger in the bus.

Dr. H. D. Drury, of Avoca, stated that at the scene of the accident he examined the body of a man known personally to him as Alan Smith.  The deceased had received a severe blow on the right side of the head and face.  Blood was issuing from the mouth, ears and nose.  Smith had been dead only a few minutes when witness examined him.  Death was the result of the injuries described.  Witness said that he also attended Percy Trickey who was concerned in the same accident.  The lefthand side of Trickey’s chest was crushed and most of the ribs were broken.  Trickey died about 4.30 the same morning from haemorrhage attendant upon the injuries.

Other evidence showed that the seriously injured men were later conveyed to the Maryborough Hospital for treatment.

The Deputy Coroner returned a verdict that Alan Smith and Percy Trickey died from injuries accidentally received when the motor bus in which they were travelling crashed into the trees as described in the evidence.


Alan Walker and William Chatfield both residents of Avoca, who were seriously injured in the accident, are still inmates of the Maryborough Hospital.  This morning they were reported to be improved, but Walker only slightly so.