WHILE driving a motor car over a level crossing at Moorooduc on February 8, Mrs. Ellen Firth, of Somerville, became suddenly afraid that she would be run down by an approaching train.
She leaped from the car, and was struck by the engine, death being instantaneous.
The line is straight at Moorooduc, and a clear view can be obtained.
At the inquest held at the Morgue yesterday, Dr. Cole, the City Coroner, returned a finding of accidental death.
He said no blame was attachable to the crew of the train.
William Grady, driver of the express train from Mornington, said that on February 8, when passing through the Moorooduc railway station, he saw the front wheels of a motor car on the level crossing.
The engine blocked his view of the other side of the train.
The train was travelling at from 20 to 25 miles an hour.
It was possible that a person approaching the crossing might have believed that the train would pull up at the Moorooduc station.
William Henry Graham, fireman, said that on approaching the crossing he saw a motor car passing over it, and someone falling over the back.
He called out to the driver, “Look out!” and he, witness, sounded the whistle.
Edward John Connop, a nurseryman, who was an eyewitness of the accident, said that Mrs. Firth was about to drive over the crossing when the train was approaching.
Witness heard the warning whistle, and Mrs. Firth jumped out of the car from the rear, and was struck by the engine.
The car was hardly touched, and it ran along the roadway into a fence.
FOR ages and ages men, and women too, have been fighting and fighting for the uplifting of civilisation.
There have been found strong spirits gifted with a Divine afflatus that has dragged them out of the sordid channels of degraded ignorance and shown them the purer light of knowledge – to be gained only by education.
They have even sacrificed their all, even their lives, to secure such ideals.
They have been obliged to struggle through the dense murky atmosphere of hopeless and colossal ignorance and the venom and bitter opposition that are the spawn of these terrible drags on civilisation.
But, “thanks be to God, Who giveth us the victory,” they have ever held the guiding star of the higher civilisation, always clear before their mental vision, and have “kept on keeping on,” and thanks again to the Almighty, they still “keep on keeping on” through the same turgid atmosphere of ignorance and all the vicious opposition that ignorance breeds, and still the cause of education grows wider and brighter, and those of the community with the clearer vision grow space in numbers and add their weight to the power that is driving ignorance and narrow-mindedness into the schools and building up a great inheritance for children yet unborn.
Well did Shakespeare conceive and put into the mouth of his men the startling thought “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune omitted, all the shadows of their lives are spent in misery.”
There are those today in this community who are not only spending the shadows of their lives in misery, but are using the most extraordinary manufactured and specious arguments to try and hand down the rest of the world into their unsavory shadows, who in their hopeless and selfish ignorance, like the dog in the manger, have no use for knowledge, and yet have not even the saving grace of the Christian spirit that recognises its virtues and descend to any kind of argument to prevent others from sharing in its benefits, or like the fox that lost its tail, having either lost the “tide” or were too lazy or stupid to take it at its flood, try to persuade their fellows it is folly to reach out for it.
But there are others again, like the Greek orators of ancient Greece, who are prepared to go so far as to down the whole nation if they can only secure a few selfish ends to satisfy a personal vanity, and then we have Kipling’s “muddled oofs and flannelled fools” who rather than give up a weekly opportunity of tearing madly after a leathered sphere for one or two months in the twelve, would recklessly wreck the whole educational future of the brighter intellects in their midst.
MR. J. McComb and his friends are making a great fuss as to the legality of the Referendum.
Why should a good democrat like Mr. McComb professes to be, object to the will of the people being ascertained in the only fair and constitutional manner possible?
Mr. McComb has stated that the decision of 14 councillors to transfer the land to the Education Department is counter to the wishes of the ratepayers themselves.
Surely he cannot object to the question being put to the test!
On Tuesday last the Shire Secretary received the following letter:
430 Chancery Lane
Melbourne, 12th Feb., 1923
To the Shire Secretary,
I AM INSTRUCTED BY Mr. Joseph Richardson McComb, of William Street, Frankston, TO SAY that HE IS ADVISED that the Referendum your Council propose to take on the question of utilising the recreation reserve for the purpose of a High School is illegal, no provision being made in the “Local Government Act” for the taking of such a Referendum of the ratepayers, and I AM INSTRUCTED TO SAY that if such Referendum is taken and any of the municipal fund is expended in paying the cost and expenses of the ratepayers my client, as a ratepayer of the Shire, will hold each individual councillor responsible for the costs and expenses spent out of the municipal fund in taking such Referendum, and will sue each of them for the recovery of such costs and expenses.
PERCY J. RUSSELL,
Solicitor and Notary Public.
MR. McComb is proving a wily sort of individual.
He would like the public to accept the above letter as being a legal opinion obtained from an eminent authority.
As a matter of fact, it is not a legal opinion at all.
Read the letter carefully and it will be seen that the writer, Mr. Percy Russell, states that Mr. McComb instructs him (Mr. Russell) to the effect that the Referendum is illegal.
Mr. Russell does not say that he endorses this view; he merely reiterates something Mr. McComb has apparently obtained from another source.
Mr McComb’s object is so obvious that it caused amusement rather than consternation in the Council Chambers on Tuesday, and the letter was simply “filed” after being made available to the Press.
THE Citizens’ Referendum Committee, realising that Mr. McComb’s action in obtaining a lawyer’s letter was designed to adversely affect the “YES” vote, decided yesterday to test the truth of his contention, and Mr Wheeler, the treasurer, consulted one of the leading firms of solicitors in the city.
The advice received was that the Council had a perfect right to take a Referendum on the High School question, and could, without doubt, pay the cost incurred in taking same out of the municipal fund.
It is worthy of note that although Mr. McComb and his friends are industriously spreading the statement that the Referendum is illegal, they continue to work untiringly in the effort to rake up all the “No” votes possible.
For this alleged “illegal” poll to be held next Saturday, Mr McComb is today endeavouring to secure scrutineers to act on behalf of the “No” party.
From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 14 & 16 Feb 1923