Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 16 - No hard feelings


No image of the inscription on this marker, it is too hard to read. However, look at the symbol his family and friends chose. It is a Sydney tramways car.

This gravestone is in the old Presbyterian section of Rookwood Cemetery, and celebrates the life of James Ross Logan, born in Scotland in 1841, died in Sydney in 1890, aged 48 years. He was a tram driver, and was trundling along Botany Road, Botany when his tram rolled with him underneath. Not sure about you, but under these circumstances, I would think twice about putting a tram motif on his headstone!

Argh!! You all stung me into action. So into Trove I went and found the gruesome details. I had to chuckle as each witness had their own pet theory as to the cause. Things have not changed much down through the years! Use the slide-bar down the bottom RH corner to increase the size of the font. I have also included two photographs of this model of tram which I believe is a DD. I will get my expert Mr Casperson to check for me. Anyways, the above two images are about that era, maybe 1885. The first image shows Tram No. 23. The second image is too dark to read the number, but was taken at the intersection of Market & Elizabeth Streets where Hermes now stands (opposite DJs and near St James Station). The building on the right is the old Albion Hotel.


James Ross Logan was from Renfrewshire in Scotland, where he married Margaret Thomson in 1862. There were already three children of the union - James, Alexander, and Agnes - when James and Margaret emigrated to Australia on the Wansfell in December 1863. James was 22 and Margaret 24. They were to have another 8 children, two of whom died in infancy - Isabella in 1872, and John Ross in 1874. They could be interred with their father. They are most certainly named on his gravestone.

When James Ross Logan died beneath his tram in 1890, Margaret was aged 51 with 9 children ranging from 32 year old James, to 9 year old Margaret. My guess is that the tramways union assisted with funding for the erection of this monument. Margaret died in Marrickville in 1915 aged 76. Her youngest daughter lived until 1967.


This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

22 comments:

CaT said...

wow. that is sad. but maybe he loved trams so much..?
what happened exactly, do you know?
and his wife was very old, having a daughter of 9 at 51. that must have been hard.
it remains weird to me. you are already on tuesday and i am still halfway monday!

hamilton said...

That does seem a cruel reminder.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Perhaps the tram symbol is all about who erected this headstone - like a token of respect from a family of workers. Intriguing! It would be a rare event for a tram to roll!

Sondra said...

I hope he loved what he did, since it took his life...great that you were able to get a copy of his death certificate!!! THE stone is very unusual, I agree probably put up by the tram union.

Jim said...

Interesting. I've never seen a Death Certificate.

Julie said...

Jim, DCs are very useful documents as they require the informant fill out details of the dead person's life. Of course, sometimes people don't have the facts at hand. I think there is a lot of guessing.

You caused me to reread both documents. And I find that the Inquest states that he was driving tram No, 37. Must see if I can find any photos of that specific tram. One never knows ... Flickr has massive albums dedicated to Sydney trams.

Oakland Daily Photo said...

Hard to know what happened. My bet is the union paid for the burial as well as the monument. If the man loved his job, it's easy to see how a wife could feel it a fitting memorial. Too bad there are no newspaper stories to clear up these questions.

Joe said...

He must have loved his job otherwise it is unlikely the family would have approved.

Joan Elizabeth said...

So much information triggered by you noticing the tram on the headstone ... your endless inquisitiveness for detail amazes me.

biebkriebels said...

The tramway doesn't look very stable, so high.. Must have been a terrible accident.

The Paw Relations said...

Oh dear, what a gruesome and no doubt painful way to meet your demise. No doubt if the tramways union helped fund the momument then they had the last say in the tram being included on the stone.

Fabulous research and a very interesting post. Loved it!

Herding Cats

http://seathreepeeo.blogspot.com

Francisca said...

A lot of detail in your post and the comments. Hard to add anything fresh, but it is all a good read and wonderful post. I shudder at the thought of having nine children and then have the bread winner die a gruesome death while the youngest is still nine. That story continues, of course, especially since the mother lived to 76!

rahul khan said...

Very sad.I've never seen death certificate before.sell my house

Stafford Ray said...

Thanks for reminding we expatriates of the Sydney we now rarely see.
I would have guessed the tramway symbol was that of the Tramway Workers'Union. But I guess you have checked that and I am wrong.
Haven't been to the show since it moved! Shame! Must go next year.

Stafford Ray said...

Addendum: I not The Paw Relation made the same observation. See? Someone agrees with me!
Going out to buy a lottery ticket now.

VioletSky said...

this one gave me shudders (seeing as how I posted a tram for monday murals and my father was a tram driver....)

Deb said...

The tram moteif certainly poses a few questions and thanks to a well researched history we have the details to hand. Very sad for his family to lose him through what we would term an industrial injury.

Ann said...

Great piece of research. I would never have recognised that as tram, unless you had told me.

Nellies said...

I am amazed by the amount of details you are always able to find Julie! Tragic story, but I do like the tram on this headstone, never have seen anything like this before.

Gene said...

Interesting find! Being a lover of trains, I could see having one on my marker (if I were going to have a marker, that is), even if it was one that did me in. Those trams look stable enough with not much weight in the upper framework, but definitely no fun during the rainy season.

Julie said...

Yes, I agree, Gene, about the rain. However, I think Mr Logan's accident puts paid to the stability theory. Trams changed design quite quickly in the Sydney Tramways system

Steffe said...

Wow, that is quite a story. Again, nice work Julie.