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Margaret Elizabeth Gorey

Margaret Gorey: 1876-1879

The life of Margaret Elizabeth Gorey was sadly cut short in tragic circumstances.

Born at Corop on March 1, 1876, Margaret was the eldest child of Edward and Sophia Gorey. Soon after her birth she was taken to be baptised at the Catholic Church in Heathcote on April 16, 1876.

She was living with her parents and new brother Charles at Torrumbarry when she fell into a pot of boiling tea and subsequently died of burns.

A Coroner's inquest was held, and the surviving statements provide a graphic account of the accident. Reports were published in The Argus, the Rochester Express and the Riverine Herald.

The Herald's report was published on January 11, 1879 under a headline of "Scalded to death".

"A terrible accident, which resulted fatally, occurred at Torrumbarry on Tuesday to a child named Margaret Elizabeth, aged two years and 10 months, daughter of Edward William and Sophia Gorey, of that place," the paper reported.

"It appears from the evidence adduced at the inquest, that at about one o'clock on the day mentioned the men and others employed on the farm had been called to dinner; one of the men was in the act of bringing in a piece of timber about 10-feet long for the purpose of constructing a temporary seat, and in turning round one end of the timber was in danger of striking the little girl, who to avoid the blow walked backwards and fell into a boiler of scalding tea which had just been removed from the fire.

"The mother, drawn to the spot by the child's screams, removed it on the instant. As may be imagined the injuries were of a frightful nature, extending from the back of the neck down to the thighs. Flour, the only remedy at hand, was applied and up to six o'clock the little sufferer appeared to be getting on very well, but at this period a change for the worse set in, and the parents determined to take her to a doctor at Echuca, a distance of 18 miles.

"They, however, had only reached Wharparilla, seven miles on the road, when the little girl was found to be dead. The inquest was held at Gregory's Kyneton Hotel on Wednesday night by Mr R. Strickland, the district coroner, and a verdict of accidental death, in accordance with the evidence, was returned. Much sympathy is felt for the parents who untimely have been deprived of a pretty and interesting child."

Margaret is buried at the Rochester Cemetery, Catholic section, site 43A. Her burial was number 187 out of more than 4000 at the cemetery.

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