Trove Tuesday

Trove Tuesday – Arthur Henry Joseph Salmon

The other day when I was researching my 2x great grandfather Alexander Alexander Harley’s sister Elizabeth Bower Harley, I came across some articles about how her son, Arthur Henry Joseph Salmon died.  .

Brain Exposed Swept off tram footboard
BRAIN EXPOSED. (1912, February 7). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 – 1931), p. 7. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from




The danger of riding on the footboard of a tram was exemplified at the City Coroner’s Court this morning, when Mr. Hawkins held an inquest concerning the death of Arthur Harry Joseph Salmon, 22, whose head was rushed in a collision with a tram near the Railway Subway on January 28.

Elizabeth Bower Salmon, living with her husband at 10 Margaret-street, Redfern, deposed that Arthur Harry Joseph Salmon was her son. His life was insured for a small sum and he was a newsagent by occupation.

Thomas Toon, a wood-load, was with two friends, in company with Salmon on January 28. The four boarded a tram bound to Alexandria at Fureaux-street, City, about 9 p.m., and stood on the inside footboard. Near the Railway Subway, Salmon said to witness, “I’m going up to see Jerry” “Jerry” was in the saloon. There was a crash, and witness saw Salmon lying on the roadway, with a fearful gash in his head.

The Coroner: Where had you been that day?  – At Gosford.

Did you have any drink? – We were all perfectly sober. We took one shilling’s worth up with us, and gave some away. Salmon had a glass at Gosford, and three later on. I should say he had five cups of beer all day.

Salmon was taken to the Sydney Hospital, where he died shortly after admission.

John David Fortune, a storeman, knew Salmon by “sight only”. He saw him on the footboard with others. Witness did not see what actually happened, but as a city bound tram passed there was a crash and two men were buried to the roadway. They both fell with a thud. One leapt to his feet, and, clutching at his hat, ran away at a very fast pace. The other (Salmon) was left lying prone across the line, with his head terribly injured. Salmon only rode on the footboard when the seats were full.

Thomas James Rose was a passenger by the Sydney bound tram, and was on the inside footboard. Near the Railway Subway the Alexandria tram approached, and witness could see five or six men standing on the board. One (Salmon) was leaning out more than the others.

“I could see there was going to be an accident, so I drew in,” continued witness. “As I did so, Salmon’s head struck the hand-rail I was holding, and as he was falling he kicked me on the leg. His head hit the rail with such force that the ironwork was buckled.

Herbert Vickery, a tram conductor, said he was in charge of the tram, off the footboard of which the unfortunate man was swept. The seating capacity of the tram was well taxed, but there was standing room right through the car.

The Coroner: Did you warn these passengers about the danger of riding on the footboards” – I did not have time

Have you any instruction from the tramway department to order people off the footboards? – No

Have you the power to do so? – No. Only when there is room inside.

You have no power to order them off? – No

Mr. Herman (for the Chief Commissioner): IF a person is ordered to leave the footboard, and he does not, he is liable to prosecution. That is a bylaw.

The Coroner: Still, that does not give the conductor power.

Dr. Palmer, who made a post mortem examination of the body, said there were severe bruises on the head, body, and limbs. The scalp was torn off, and the skull crushed to such an extent that the brain was exposed.

A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Swept off the footboard
SWEPT OFF THE FOOTBOARD. (1912, January 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from
Extraordinary coincidence
EXTRAORDINARY COINCIDENCE. (1912, January 30). Moree Gwydir Examiner and General Advertiser (NSW : 1901 – 1940), p. 2. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from
Arthur H J Salmon death notice
Family Notices (1912, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from
Arthur H J Salmon funeral notices
Family Notices (1912, January 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved May 7, 2019, from