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100th anniversary of the Mornington Train Crash

100th anniversary of the Mornington Train Crash
10 Nov 2020

On 6 November 1920 the worst rail accident with the greatest loss of life occurred in Western Australia on the Mornington Timber Line.

100 years since the worst rail accident

This month marks 100 years since the Mornington train crash which occurred on the Mornington timber line killing nine people and injuring two.

On the evening of Saturday, 6 November 1920, the Jubilee steam locomotive left Morning Mill loaded with railway sleepers and lost control down a steep gradient and ran off the line about two and half miles from the stacking yards at Wokalup.

Those killed were crewmen, Thomas Wilton and John Paulson, and mill-hands John Leitch, Ellis Lake, James McNamara, William Malacari, Frank Winfield, Edward Delaney and Walter Maggs.

A train crash survivor made it to Wokalup Hotel to raise the alarm, where volunteers assisted those who were alive and retrieved bodies from the wreckage.

A repairer’s trolley was used to take the three injured men to Wokalup to board a train to Bunbury for hospitalisation.

An inquest concluded that the railway accident was caused by insufficient brake power being applied at the necessary time.

In the absence of any regulations governing the running of trains on the line, the jury did not feel justified to attach blame to anyone.

As a result of the accident regulations were formulated to ensure the safe running of trains on the line.

The Shire revealed a sign to be installed at the Wokalup Tavern earlier this month to acknowledge the disaster.