THE LATE FATAL FIRE.
While searching through the CD compiled by the Society of Australian Genealogists on Rookwood Cemetery, I found an interesting inscription.
“Died on his 23rd Birthday from injuries received while assisting at the fire of the Prince of Wales Theatre.” VAUGHAN Henry Fred, 08 Jan 1872. This really piqued my interest and diverted me from my Vaughans.
A search of TROVE for Henry Vaughan soon had me trolling through several articles relating to both Henry’s death and the fire that caused it.
The Empire (Sydney, NSW 1850-1875), Tuesday 9 January 1872, page 3, give a very detailed description of the fire, the death of Henry Vaughan, the theatre itself and the funeral of Mr Coats, another fireman, injured when the wall fell.
The Freeman’s Journal (Sydney 1850-1932), Saturday 13 January 1872, page 7, recounts the inquest held into the fire and the deaths of the two firemen. There is also a wonderful article on, “ TOTAL DESTRUCTION OF THE PRINCE OF WALES OPERA HOUSE.” This is far too large to re-produce here but here is account of the people being rescued.
The same journal gives an account of the inquest. James Coats was 33, married , with two children and a glass and china merchant. Henry Vaughan was 23, unmarried and a hairdresser.
The verdict reads as such;
“The jury, after three-quarters of an hour’s consideration, found “that James Coats and Henry Vaughan came by their death by the falling of the south wall of the Prince of Wales Opear House on the morning of Saturday, the 6th instant…”
On Wednesday 10 January 1872 on page 2, the Empire (Sydney 1850-1872), give a beautiful description of Henry’s funeral, stating; “ The funeral of the late Mr Henry Vaughan … took place yesterday and was the most impressive spectacle that has been witnessed in Sydney for many years past.”
Henry's resting place, taken by me on
Such a tragic loss of life.
Bye for now,