NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES
MATAURA RIVER DROWNINGS
MCFARLANE AND COOKE FAMILIES
THURSDAY 25 OCTOBER 1888
WESTERN STAR, ISSUE 1298, 27 OCTOBER 1888
SAD DROWNING ACCIDENT. FIVE LIVES LOST.
From the Southland News we gather particulars of a lamentable drowning accident that occurred at six o’clock on Thursday morning in the Mataura River at the ford between Mataura Island and the western bank.
Andrew McFarlane, contractor, together with his wife and child, and his wife’s brother and sister and a boy, started in a cart drawn by two horses to cross the river at the ford, and when within a few yards of the opposite side one wheel- of the cart dropped into a hole, precipating the occupants into the stream. All were drowned in the rushing waters except the boy, who managed to get hold of a box, and so kept afloat until he drifted ashore half-a-mile further down the river.
It appears they left Edendale on Wednesday, and passed through Wyndham on to the island by way of the bridge, which spans the river on the Invercargill side. They reached the far side of the island, and finding the river in flood camped for the night. Mr Spratt who lives on the island strongly urged McFarlane not to attempt to cross, but to go back round through Wyndham, and thence over the Mataura bridge on the Edendale road.
McFarlane, who was anxious to get to Otara, said he had crossed the river when it was higher, and thought he could do it again with safety. At the hour stated he started; the cart was partly loaded with furniture, on which the passengers were seated. In the middle of the stream a wheel of the dray sank in a hole, the furniture toppled over, and the passengers were all thrown into the stream, only one, Ernest Small, escaping from a watery grave.
The persons drowned are:
|MCFARLANE||Elizabeth (Lizzie)||17||Wife of Andrew|
|MCFARLANE||Kate||5||Daughter of Andrew by his first wife|
|COOKE||Fanny||14||His wife's sister|
|COOKE||Reuben (reported as Robert)||10||His wife's brother|
McFarlane was going from Mataura Island to Ocean View to manage the Otara dairy factory, and was well known in the district as a contractor. He lost command of the leading horse; both animals lost their footing, and the dray turned half over, capsizing its contents into the stream. The only survivor, Ernest Small, aged sixteen years, got hold of a box and drifted ashore in an exhausted state about a mile further down. He has now, however, recovered from the effects of his fearful experience. The shaft horse was drowned and drawn ashore with the cart to the opposite bank by the Isader.
None of the bodies have yet been recovered, but parties were out to-day under the police with grabbling irons dragging the river. Yesterday the river was in high flood, and the water very muddy, but to-day it has gone down considerably.
Later news show that McFarlane made a gallant attempt to save his wife and her sister. He was swimming strongly close to the bank, and could, without doubt have easily effected a landing, when he saw his relatives struggling in the water. He at once turned and swam towards them, but ere he could reach the spot they disappeared from view. By this time the poor fellow was completely exhausted, and soon after sank to rise no more.
SOUTH CANTERBURY TIMES, ISSUE 4858, 17 NOVEMBER 1888
The bodies of Andrew McFarlane and his wife, who were drowned a month ago with three others while fording the Mataura, were recovered last night about ten chains below where the drowning occurred. It was said at the time that McFarlane had lost his life in an attempt to reach his wife, and the fact that the bodies were found together entangled in a snag would indicate that he had got hold of her, and that they had perished together.
Return To HOME
FAMILIES I AM RESEARCHING | MISCELLANEOUS GENEALOGICAL STUFF | NEW ZEALAND — ON LINE GENEALOGICAL AND FAMILY HISTORY RESOURCES | NEW ZEALAND — YOUNG BOY IMMIGRANT SCHEME 1911 — 1914 | NEW ZEALAND DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES | NEW ZEALAND MISCELLANEOUS GENEALOGICAL INDEXES | NEW ZEALAND LAND WARS — MISCELLANEOUS GENEALOGICAL INDEXES | NEW ZEALAND AND WORLD WAR ONE | NEW ZEALAND AND WORLD WAR TWO | NEW ZEALAND ROLLS OF HONOUR AND WAR MEMORIALS — BY LOCATION | NEW ZEALAND ROLLS OF HONOUR AND WAR MEMORIALS — BY CONFLICT | NEW ZEALAND ROLLS OF HONOUR — MILITARY NURSES | PAKEHA/MAORI TRANSLITERATIONS | PASSENGER LISTS TO NEW ZEALAND | SHAND — FAMILY HISTORY | SOUTH TARANAKI, NEW ZEALAND — GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES | SPONDON, DERBYSHIRE, ENGLAND — GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES | WANGANUI COLLEGIATE SCHOOL 1865 — 1947 | WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY, NEW ZEALAND — GENEALOGICAL RESOURCES