The Christmas holiday: traditionally a time for families to get together. Such was the case for Bartholomew Lyons and his wife who in December 1910 were reputedly living in Wynter Street, Taree. Their daughter Julia was home from Temora, her brother John had returned from Armidale and Minnie Hyde was also visiting.1
New Years Day was hot. Sisters Maggie and Julia, accompanied by Minnie and their brothers John and Thomas decided to visit the river near Bays Hill to do a spot of fishing and to cool off. Venturing away from Thomas, the others went to bathe.2
The three young women could not swim, but waded hand in hand through shallow water. Suddenly Minnie slipped into a deep hole, dragging Julia and Maggie with her. John tried repeatedly to affect a rescue and successfully saved the life of Minnie. However, when brought to shore one sister was unresponsive and the other’s body was only located later in the day by Stanley Clinch and Lal Nielsen.3
The sisters are buried at Dawson River Cemetery and memorialised together with their father and sister, Mary, who died in 1919 at the relatively young age of thirty eight.4
Author: Penny Teerman
1 Wingham Chronicle Wednesday 4 January 1911 P2
3 Newspapers carry conflicting reports as to which sister’s body was recovered first.
4 Sydney Morning Herald Friday 18 April 1919 P3 and NSW BDM Birth 19784/1882