TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

ABPA Financial members can post their Bush Poetry here ...
All Forum Visitors can view but only Financial ABPA Members can post and reply.
Post Reply
Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm

TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Jeff Thorpe » Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:35 pm

TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

© Jeff Thorpe September 2020

Recently I came across Ethel Tebbs’ grave
by the creek at Cooyar where she drowned,
an unusual place for such a touching enclave
Swinging Bridge Park, now a camping compound.

A neat picket fence enclosed the tombstone
and a noticeboard displayed Ethel’s Death Certificate
plus, the printed circumstance of her death shown,
an event which for the small village was significant.

Born 15 April, 1900, Ethel was aged four she died
on 28 December 1904, in an incident surely unintended,
collecting water, on the steep creek bank she did slide,
falling headlong into the waterhole, the stream unattended.

Her mother following, saw no sign of Ethel at the creek
and thought instead, she’d gone to a nearby friend’s place
alas, she was not there, concern rising to a peak,
the worst predicament ever, the mother soon had to face.

Ethel’s unresponsive body was dragged from the water
hooked to her clothing by a clothes prop,
artificial respiration tried, rescuers did not falter
but, with no sign of life resuscitation forced to stop.

A very sad occasion, the death of one so young,
Cooyar at the time with no proclaimed cemetery
thus, burial took place beside where swing bridge swung,
Ethel Tebbs at rest next to her life taking estuary.

Over a century later, Ethel’s grave is well tended,
testament to respect shown by Cooyar townsfolk,
the site a peaceful spot which to campers is recommended,
and from whom sympathetic feelings doubtless do evoke.

It’s coincidence that George Essex Evans was District Registrar
who recorded Ethel Tebbs’ untimely demise,
an acclaimed poet, Evans’ works on pioneers lined his repertoire,
one wonders, would a poet on such a tragedy agonize?

One of Evans’ most famous poems is "The Women of the West",
graphically describing the trials which they face
though Ethel’s life was short, it’s felt it was not stressed
and her legacy that of a child pure and chaste.

User avatar
Shelley
Posts: 1921
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Shelley » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:04 pm

What a sad chapter, Jeff. I didn't know this story, so thanks for bringing it to light.

Interesting connection with George Essex Evans too.

Cheers
Shelley
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Jeff Thorpe » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:26 pm

Thanks Shelley

It's interesting what you find in many little hamlets. We only stopped at Cooyar to see the swinging bridge and were surprised to see the very well tended grave.

Cheers, Jeff

User avatar
Shelley
Posts: 1921
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland
Contact:

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Shelley » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:41 am

And therein lies a poem!

Like you, travel is my best inspiration.
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines
http://www.shelleyhansen.com

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

User avatar
Maureen K Clifford
Posts: 7701
Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:31 am
Location: Ipswich - Paul Pisasale country and home of the Ipswich Poetry Feast
Contact:

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:20 pm

Like Shelley I was also unaware of this tragedy but you have given it life with your words - and what better way to share our history than in poetry. Well done - I enjoyed the read and the history lesson. Thank you for sharing it with us all. Good ink.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -
http://scribblybarkpoetry.blogspot.com.au/


I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

User avatar
Catherine Lee
Posts: 1035
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 9:47 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Catherine Lee » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:46 pm

I absolutely agree - by putting history into poetry there are so many fascinating gems drawn to our attention, and as well as learning about them, rhyme also helps us to remember them. A sad but very interesting tale, Jeff - well done.

Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 341
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm

Re: TRAGEDY AT COOYAR

Post by Jeff Thorpe » Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:55 am

Thank you Maureen and Catherine.
I'm discovering with Covid travel restrictions there are many local untold stories suitable for poems.
Regards, Jeff

Post Reply