Tuesday 12 February 2013

Moora Public Cemetery: Stories from the Grave

We recently uploaded a burial index for the Moora Public Cemetery in the Western Australian wheatbealt. It lists the names, death and burial information of over 1,500 people. Those buried in the cemetery came from a wide range of places due to Moora being a district centre and having had a hospital since 1910.

We thought we'd look at the stories behind the first three burials at the cemetery. They strongly affirm the saying that truth is stranger than fiction! They comprise of a man found drowned down a well, a murder and a mysterious death. They are detailed below.

Burial 1 - Joseph Hunt
Died at Joyce's Flat near Moora on 5 August 1899, aged 72

The West Australian, Saturday 23 September 1899

Burial 2 - Sing Lee
Died at Warrdengabee near Moora on 13 June 1905

The Daily News, Tuesday 18 June 1905

A Chinese man Ah Kim believed his co-workers were going to rob him and attacked them with an axe in the early hours of the morning. Ah Kim killed a fellow Chinese man Sing Lee (who was buried at Moora), another co-worker Evender E. Ellis and badly wounded a third named Edward Pearce. Ah Kim was sentenced to death but this was later reduced to life imprisonment on the grounds of insanity.

Burial 3 - John Harding
Died near Moora on 22 March 1906

The West Australian, Monday 26 March 1906

Harding's whereabouts were investigated after he failed to collect his bread. An inquest into his death was held in Moora on 21 March 1906. The inquest could only assume the bones on the fire were his and returned an inconclusive finding as to his cause of death.

The West Australian, Saturday 31 March 1906

You can search by surname or keyword in the Register of Burials cemetery search on our website, which covers:

  • Moora Public Cemetery
  • Winchester Cemetery in Carnamah
  • Perenjori Cemetery
  • Three Springs General Cemetery
  • Mingenew Cemetery

The Moora Public Cemetery was indexed from afar by virtual volunteers Fiona Bush, Lesly Singleton, Marcia Watson, Ross Croft, Sandie Keeble, Suzanne Marsh and Tamara McPhee. If you're interested in helping from work or home on similar projects please e-mail andrew@carnamah.com.au.


JandR said...

I found these stories about the deaths in Moora fascinating. I have just been transcribing an oral history of an early and long time Moora resident and was surprised at the number of people that were mentioned that died there from accidents. One was from a car tyre being pumped up and coming off its rim it hit the man in the forehead and killed him. There were also mentions of drownings and people being kicked by horses and killed. I do know that my great-great-grandfather who died in Moora on 29th March 1915 is in one of only two graves whose remains are unidentified. Of course we do not know which grave was his as there is no longer anyone alive to tell us. Thanks again for your interesting blog. Cheers, Jo Hyland

Andrew Bowman-Bright said...

Our pleasure! Life certainly presented a lot of hazards that don't exist so much today. We've also come across many people being seriously injured or killed from accidents involving horses, guns, machinery or equipment. Another big factor was the time it took to travel for medical help. That's a shame your great grandfather's exact plot wasn't recorded - but at least you know the cemetery.