Wednesday 22 September 2021

Mayhem in the Main Street

Driving down Queen Street today is an exercise in patience. The battle for the elusive parking spot, traffic lights and speed limits make the journey down Campbelltown's main thoroughfare a painstaking one. The result is very few accidents; something that was not always the case in years gone by. One of the first fatalities resulting from an accident in Queen Street was the death of Thomas Hyndes. On the evening of Sunday, 19 July 1846, Thomas Hyndes was riding with three companions down Queen Street. When he got to the courthouse (site of present courthouse) he started to ride at a furious pace and when he got to opposite the King's Arms (site of present First Nation Real Estate on corner of Queen and Cordeaux Streets) he was thrown from his horse and killed instantly.
Truck and trailer bogged in front of Wilkinson's plumbing business in Queen Street 1926-1932. (Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society)

On 1 August 1898, an accident occurred in Queen Street in the vicinity of W.W. Lee's store. A horse and sulky owned by Mrs Fowler was standing by, when young Austin Tripp rolled the wheel of a vehicle up the street. The horse took fright and bolted, striking another conveyance owned by Rev. J. Ashmead with considerable force. Miss Ashmead was thrown out of the vehicle but was not seriously injured. The sulky was badly damaged.

A fatal accident occurred in 1926 when James Carroll was driving a horse attached to a sulky along Queen Street when a shaft broke, causing the horse to bolt. The runaway horse and sulky crashed into a cart driven by Aby Adams driving in the same direction. A shaft from the sulky penetrated the rear of the car and went through the lungs of John Adams, the father of the driver. He was rushed to hospital but died soon after.
By the early 1920s, the main street was becoming a dangerous place to navigate. Cattle were still being driven down the street by drovers. A couple of accidents prompted the Council to change the stock route to surrounding streets. Two of these incidents happened in 1921, with one fatal. A young girl was struck in Queen Street by cattle and knocked over, injuring herself. Another accident was fatal. Chun Yueon was killed by a cow that charged at him on Menangle Road near the southern end of Queen Street. Although not in the main street, this accident resulted in the coroner recommending that Council have proper times and stock routes for droving cattle. This lead to a change from droving cattle down Queen Street to running them down surrounding streets, thus avoiding the busy main street. The route was changed a few years later after the Inspector of Nuisances was harrassed by drovers claiming the old stock route was to difficult to navigate. Accidents in Queen Street kept occurring up until 1947. Mary Loftus was desribed as being "hale and hearty" for her age, 75, when a tragic accident took her life. Stepping off the footpath in Queen Street on Christmas Eve at about 8pm, Mary was struck by a truck and fatally injured. She was taken to Camden Hospital where she died not long after. The driver was later cleared of manslaughter.

Written by Andrew Allen

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