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From hope to tragedy
Title : From hope to tragedy From hope to tragedy
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Creator : Frances Heyer
Place Of Creation : SA
Date of creation : 1871
Contributor : Other
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Description :

William Read was born in England at Cambridge, on 11th January 1833. His father was a carpenter by trade, but also ran the Nag's Head Inn. The family had connections with people who were higher on the social scale, and these connections probably came from the mother.

William had been in the Royal Navy for nearly 9 years, with the last ship he served on being the Trafalgar, which took part in the seige of Sebastopol. In 1848 he had seen South Australia, when his ship had visited here, and what he had seen attracted him to the idea of settling here. He probably was out to make his fortune here, but evidently had an adventurous spirit. He joined the First Northern Expedition in 1864, which was sent to find a suitable place for settlement in the Northern Territory, and also tried to join that later 1869 Northern Expedition with Goyder as the leader.

Meanwhile he was employed as 2nd Officer on board the schooner H.M.G. Schooner "Gulnare", under Captain Sweet. The ship was used as the support vessel for Goyder's Expedition. In late 1870 the Gulnare had as passengers the party of Mr. B. Douglas, the Govt. Resident of Port Darwin.

In a letter dated 10th January 1871, Captain Sweet, wrote from Sweers Island, about the death of William Read.

William, with three other crew members, were sent in a cutter up the Roper River to procure fresh water, which they found on the evening of the 16th inst. They anchored for the night, but about 1.30 they were awoken by a splash and a scream, and although they saw several objects floating in the water could not see which was William. The men tried to find him, and continued their search till daylight, and saw nothing but a large alligator close to the cutter. They thought William was dragged down by them as he was a good swimmer and normally would have easily kept up in the water.

William left a wife and five children. Margaret, his wife applied for financial assistance from the Government, but was judged to be not deserving of any support.

Period : 1852-1883
Region : Northern Territory



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