Deadly Collection of Chaff

by Robyn Currie

Nicholas Shanahan was loading chaff onto his cart in Colac in 1896 when the horse moved and he fell, sustaining fatal injuries. His relatives wanted to know where the accident had happened.

Scanning the Colac Herald article from Friday April 24, 1896, page 2, we read that Nicholas, a baker from Birregurra, had come to Colac in his horse and cart to buy some chaff from Ball & Co. Using some of the books from the library, including Bill Doran’s *Memories of Cororooke, we found that Ball & Co had their business in Bromfield Street, south side, close to Corangamite Street.

Colac Herald, Friday 24 April 1896 p2

We checked the rates in 1896 to see if these gave any more information. David Ball owned a hay and Corn Store, section 21B Lot 11-12.

From the rates we went to the early maps of Colac and found a subdivision of Colac bounded by Bromfield, Gellibrand, Rae and Corangamite streets. Perfect! We could clearly see where the property was located.

“Mr Ball immediately sent for Dr Wynne who had him removed to Mrs Beal’s boarding house”.

Back to the 1896 rates and we see that Alfred Beal(e), labourer, was leasing land and dwelling at part of lot 9, section 23.

Another map, a bit digitally creased in this area, was enough to show this block on or near the corner of Corangamite and Manner Sutton Streets, not too far from the accident site.

I remembered a photo in our collection which showed a scene on Empire day, about 1915 on that corner. What buildings were there?

I remembered a photo in our collection which showed a scene on Empire day, about 1915 on that corner. What buildings were there?

Empire Day 1915

There is also another photo taken by Robert Scott on the Corangamite – Murray Street corner in 1905 showing the Austral Hotel, diagonally opposite on the far left.

Top Centre, Ball & Co (see enlarged photograph) Top right, Dr Wynne’s dark brick two storey house, Lislea. Right of middle, property that Beal’s may have been leasing . Photo by Robert Scott, 1905
Ball & Bros business, Colac

Since doing this research we keep tripping over mentions of Ball & Co in other books and articles, which helps to add to the picture of that very sad day in April 1896 for the Shanahan family of Birregurra. Nicholas Shanahan died aged 67 years, despite the efforts of Dr Wynne and others.

This is one research story which indicates the use of the different resources we have at the Centre which are continually being indexed by our volunteers. Come and join us so that you too can add to the story of the people of Colac and District.

Notes: *Included in the book about the history of Cororooke, was also some history of Colac. There were a few hand drawn maps by Bill Doran of the businesses and where they were located.