Frankston Times 26 October 2021

Page 14


Double Suicide Tragedy at Somerville Compiled by Cameron McCullough QUITE a gloom was cast over the whole community here, when the news was circulated that a double tragedy had occurred at the “Krangala” orchard, whereby two well-known and respected young people had met their deaths in a painfully sad tragic manner. The victims were Stanley Clarke, aged 27 years and Janet Ross, aged 26 years. The former was a native of Somerville, and had lived here practically all his life. He enlisted for active service with the 14th Battalion, and took part in the landing at Gallipoli. He was a man of splendid physique, standing 6ft. high, and looked an ideal soldier in his khaki uniform. Ever since returning he has worked in the fruit industry a great part of the time as a packer, and was regarded as an expert at the business. For the past eighteen months he has been employed by Mr H. Hanton, at “Krangala” as a general orchardist, who says that Clarke was a thoroughly experienced and conscientious workman, and honestly worth more to him than two ordinary men. He was of a generous disposition, and popular with the residents of the district. Miss Ross was not so well known locally. She was a native of Scotland, coming to Australia some years ago with the other members of the family, her mother dying before they came here. Miss Ross, who was an attractive young woman, was supposed to be “engaged” to Clarke. At any rate there had been an attachment between them for some time past.

She had been in domestic service in one of the suburbs for a long time. A few days before the tragedy she returned to Somerville, with the intention of remaining home until after Christmas. She dressed herself in her best clothes on the fatal morning, and left home after writing a letter and putting into an envelope some strychnine that her father kept in the house. It is assumed that she went to interview Clarke to arrange a settlement of their love affairs, which, evidently, were not settled in her favor, for, shortly after, she was found by her sister, Miss Jean Ross, on the floor of the room in which Clarke lived, groaning and in great pain. She moaned “I have poisoned myself; give me a drink of water.” Her sister complied with the request, and ran for help. A shot was heard previous to this, which proved to be one fired by the unfortunate man Clarke, in an attempt to shoot himself. In this he failed, the shoot passing through the roof. Not having cartridges handy, and the gun being only a single barrelled one he ran to the house for another cartridge, which he snatched up, and re-charged the gun. Clarke, placing his chin over the barrel, operated the trigger with a piece of wire. This shot proved fatal, and death must have been instantaneous. Robert Walters, aged 17, who is also employed in the orchard, ran to Mr George Shepherd’s house for assistance. Mrs Shepherd rushed to her neigh-

bour’s help, and administered an emetic to the dying woman, who was by this time in great agony. In reply to a question she told Mrs Shepherd that she “could not go on any longer.” She asked “Where is Stan,” and before expiring said, several times— “I’m going; I’m going.” The interior of the room did not suggest that any struggle had taken place. Clarke was a clean and tidy man, and apart from some torn photographs in the fireplace, the place gave evidence of this after the tragedy. The Coroner (Dr. Cole) visited Somerville, and ordered a post mortem examination of the bodies, which was conducted by Dr. C. Maxwell, of Frankston, on Tuesday afternoon. He ordered that the contents of Miss Ross’s stomach be sent for analysis. Plain-clothes Constable T. McPhee Mounted Constable M. A. Mahony and Trooper F. Adams are investigating the case. The remains of each were interred in the Frankston cemetery on Wednesday morning, a large number of residents following. The service at the graveside was conducted by Rev McFarlane and the funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr H. Gamble. *** AT the Frankston Children’s Court, on Monday last, a youth, 16 years of age, was arraigned on a charge of having scribbled grossly offensive and obscene words on the walls of the State School lavatories. After a lecture from the magistrate, who is always anxious to give youth-

ful offenders a chance to mend their ways, the young fellow was then bound over to be of good behavior for twelve months. *** THE story of how a young returned soldier, who attempted to be funny, and failed in the attempt, was told at the Frankston Police Court on Monday last. Inspector Maybury said the young fellow was travelling on the Stony Point train, and, when nearing Frankston, he entered a first class compartment, and demanded the tickets of three young ladies. As he was drunk, and using obscene language, and his clothing indecently disarranged, his name was requested. First he said it was “’Sherlock Holmes” and, when told not to be so funny, he said it was “Sexton Blake.’ The magistrate questioned his sanity, but after being convinced that he was only trying to be funny, Mr Knight fined him £5 or 21 days’ imprisonment. *** IF reliance can be placed on the assertion that the Lord helps those who help themselves, then the residents of Cranbourne Road, Frankston, are building up a nice little asset. The Cranbourne Road people are noted for the success of their “working bees.” When the “Powers that Be” prove dilatory in bestowing favors, Cranbourne Road wastes no time in useless repining, but sets a “bee” to work, and the desired object is accomplished. Cr. F. H. Wells appears to be the “live wire” in connection with these voluntary labor stunts, and much of his success, no doubt results from the fact that

he does not confine his efforts to oratory. His coat is generally off first, and with a practical leader, the rest is pretty easy. Such proved the case last week, when the Cranbourne Road “bee” got busy on the task of transferring the line of electric light poles and wires from Langwarrin to Frankston. Two half days in the middle of the week served to accomplish the work of dismantling and rolling up the wire. This was effected by Messrs A. Bailey, Kemp, R. Billington and Wells. Mr A. Bailey’s motor car played a prominent part in completing this troublesome undertaking. On Thursday the poles were placed along the line from the railway bridge at Frankston to Mr Bailey’s nurseries. On Saturday a vigorous and enthusiastic “bee” tackled the task of erecting the poles. This team accomplished wonders, and by nightfall a long uniform line of substantial poles had been erected from the bridge to a point opposite Cr Wells residence. The task was carried out in a thoroughly work manlike manner, and every pole was sunk to a depth of not less than 5ft. The workers were encouraged in their task by the presence of the ladies, who provided afternoon tea of rare excellence. The ladies prominent in this connection were Mrs Prosser and her two daughters, Misses E. and O. Prosser, Mrs Goodwin and Mrs W. Kemp. *** From the pages of the Frankston and Somerville Standard, 21 October 1921

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9775 1535 PAGE 14

Frankston Times

26 October 2021 1 Colemans Road, Carrum Downs Vic 3201


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