Description of Cornelius' Grave at Riverside Cemetery, Erin St Queanbeyan NSW Roman Catholic Section.
Upright sandstone slab, rose in relief at top; by W. Furber,Goulburn. Footstone, 'C.G.'. Erected/ by/ Margaret Grady/ In loving Memory/ of her late/ Husband/ Cornelius Grady/ who departed this life/ 8 Mar 1888/ Aged 42 years
The newspaper article about the event in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sat 10 March 1888
A Letter to the Editor prompted by Cornelius' accident, commenting on level crossings and offering his solutions, appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald a week later (Sat 17 March 1888) from F. Campbell.
Lanyon Crossing on the East side of the line where the accident happened (Photo 2004)
Looking south down the line in the direction in which Cornelius travelled on his last ride (Photo 2004)
Cornelius, son of John and Margaret (Hayes) Grady, Yarrowlumla, born 3 July 1846; married Margaret Ryan, Ginninderra, 11 May 1874, and farmed at Canberra. He was run down and killed by a train at Lanyon (now Tralee) Crossing, and his body was carried across the engine beam to Queanbeyan station. His widow later married Michael McMahon. The following verses, written by John Gale, were published in The Queanbeyan Age, 14 March 1888
--- RUN DOWN ---
A RAILROAD TRAGEDY
(Cornelius Grady was run down whilst on horseback and killed by a railway train near Queanbeyan on 8 March, 1888.)
Out from the town he went Was he on home intent, On that night dark and wierd? Was he, in sober mind Thinking of fatherhood, As on his steed he rode How wife and children fared
Out on the lonely road, Did his heart ill forbode? How were his thoughts employed? Reck'd he that Death was near? Had he a passing fear That in the darkness drear Death would so soon make void
His cosy fireside seat, And his hearth, trod by feet No more that hearth to tread? Why, Muse, thus speculate? Why idly cogitate? His was a fearful fate, known only to the dead!
Yet from the silent tale Told by the glistening rail, And by the impressed trail Made by the horse's shoe And from the mangled steed Learn we a fearful deed Happ'd that is sternly true
'Tis that he missed his way And to the left did stray Taking the iron laid track Made for the rushing train - Soon to dash on again Ever anon and again Up to the hills and back.
Slowly his horse paced on Since half a mile had gone When with its flashing light Came on the rushing thing Came on as lightning's wing Thundering and threatening Quickly it hove in sight
Turned he his startled horse Startled himself the worse Back for his life he flew Sep! would he ride in vain? Ere he the gate could gain Would that swift rushing train Horseman and horse o'throw?
Fleet as a hind that steed Urged in a time of dread Urged on with spur and knee Madden'd the reeling brain Of him who held the rein As from the thundering train Strove he his best to flee
As falcon towards his prey Over the iron way Hasles the mighty thing Gleams out its rodden'd light All in the wierdsome night As on, with twain and night Speeds it with thundering
Ah! vain the horse's speed Vain, too the riders deed Doing and daring Though he (for dearest life, Children and loving wife) Keeps the enequal strife Never despairing
See! o're the gravel'd way Fleet as approaching day Dash they - the doomed pair Only a chain or two For, rushing madly through Darkness and falling dew What see we happening there?
Down on both horse and man Swiftly the engine ran Where ate its fleeing prey Crushed 'neath the pondorous wheels, As 'neath a monster's heels Scattered across the steels And o'er the gravel'd way
Lies what remains of him The steed so swift of limb Mangled and torn Where is his rider now? He on whose anxious brow Stood lines of fear just now Where is he bourne
Yet, though the deed was wraught Not e'en a passing thought Entered the anxious brain Of guard or guiding hand (Steering across the land As o'er an outstretched strand The screeching panting train) -
That (as they dashed ahead Making as they had made Speed nearly quick as light Their's was a race to death Crushing out life and breath All on that aweful night
There lies the mangled horse Where is the rider's corpse Not where the dead steed lies See as she slackens pace Engine of death, in her race To the next halting place Whither she onward lies -
There, on her ironbound beam Sitting, as in a dream Him who so bravely road Rode, but in vain for life - Rode in unequal strife When in his breast was rife Fear lost the nearing road Never he'd gain again
* * * * * * *
"Who" cried the station-men "Sits on the engine beam? "Has some poor driv'ling sot "Reckless of ill or what "Chosen that dangerous spot? "A cosy seat for him"
Closer they scan his face See that his dimm'd eyes glaze Glaze in the damp of death Limp hangs the bleeding head "Ah! he is newly dead" That, that was all they said Said it in bated breath
Tenderly down they bore Him whom we saw before Riding for precious life Wrapp'd him in snow white shroud Round him a weeping crowd Silent, and sad and bowed Sad for his widow'd wife
Sad for his children seven Whose hearts with sorrow riven Are sore and bleeding God of the orphans! hear Turn not away thine ear From ernest, tearful prayer Hear Thou our pleading
Be Thou the widow's friend Her and her children tend In their deep sorrow Be Thou their one support Be Thou their shield and fort Their one best friend indeed For this we intercede That, to their time of need There quickly may succeed A bright tomorrow.