Childhood Deaths - Rupert Dawson

Rupert Dawson (1887 - 1898)

Rupert Charles Dawson was the second son of William Henry Dawson and his wife Bridget Mylan. He was born at Callan Park Hospital in 1887. His father was an attendant at the hospital and the family lived in one of the houses in the Hospital grounds. In September 1898 a lot of construction work was going on at the hospital. Rupert and his friends were playing a game and jumping over an open sewer in the course of construction. He missed jumping over the gap and fell in the sewer.  An inquest was held on 5th September, 1898 at Callan Park.


Yesterday an inquest was held at the Callan Park Hospital by the Acting City Coroner (Mr Bowden) touching the death of Rupert Charles Dawson, aged 12 years, a son of one of the attendants of the hospital. Dr. Flashman, who saw the deceased shortly after he fell down the sewer shaft at the rear of the institution, said deceased had his skull fractured, but the immediate cause of death was asphyxia from drowning in the crater at the bottom of the shaft. A verdict of accidental death was returned, the jurors adding that they thought a little more care should have been exercised in protecting the opening of the shaft.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 September, 1898, p. 4.

Rupert's death certificate (NSW BDM 9882/1898) states that his place of death was in a sewer in course of construction at Callan Park. The cause - found drowned but how he got into the water there is no evidence to show.

The Register of Coroner's Inquests (AO Reel 2225) indicated that here was further investigation into his death on 29 September 1898 and the 14 October 1898. However, what they uncovered was not revealed.

Rupert was buried on 6th September, 1898 at  Rookwood, Mortuary 1, Area N, Grave 474.

Rupert was one of my grandfather's older brothers.