Hunt for tram tragedy rel­a­tives be­gins

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS

A search has be­gun for rel­a­tives of those in­volved in an Auck­land tram dis­as­ter.

On Christ­mas Eve, 1903 a fa­tal col­li­sion be­tween two trams on New North Road, Kings­land killed three and in­jured up to 60.

Now, 113 years later two Kings­land com­mu­nity mem­bers want the tragedy to be for­mally recog­nised.

Kings­land Busi­ness So­ci­ety man­ager Chris­tine Fo­ley and Margi Wat­son of the Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board are plan­ning a com­mem­o­ra­tion cer­e­mony for the dis­as­ter.

Wat­son and Fo­ley have a full list of names of those in­volved in the dis­as­ter and would love for rel­a­tives to come for­ward.

A num­ber of peo­ple in­volved in the tragedy were in­te­gral to the de­vel­op­ment of Kings­land.

Fo­ley, who learned of the tragedy eight years ago, says the event was sig­nif­i­cant be­cause most peo­ple in the area would have been con­nected to some­one in the tragedy.

‘‘I won­dered whether the fact that it was so raw for peo­ple and so tragic being at Christ­mas, that might have some­thing to do with the fact there’s never been a for­mal com­mem­o­ra­tion.’’

Ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous news­pa­per re­ports the ac­ci­dent in­volved a full dou­ble decker tram headed to­wards Eden Ter­race at around 8.30pm.

While the tram was wait­ing for an­other tram to clear the way, a brake failed and the car be­gan to roll back to­wards Kings­land.

As it hur­tled through the dark­ness the tram­car reached a speed of more than 60kmh and col­lided with an­other tram com­ing from Kings­land.

An in­quest found the cause of the col­li­sion was through a ‘‘ratchet brake’’ fail­ing.

Fo­ley says the site of the col­li­sion is said to be roughly be­tween mod­ern day King Street and New Bond Street.

Al­bert Eden Lo­cal Board mem­ber Margi Wat­son says a for­mal com­mem­o­ra­tion is an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect on the im­pact the event had at a lo­cal level.

Wat­son says that while none of those in­volved are still alive to­day, it’s about expressing fam­ily stories. ‘‘We still can’t for­get where we’ve come from to make sure we do things well in the future.’’

The cer­e­mony will take place on De­cem­ber 23 and will in­volve un­veil­ing of a new plaque on the site of the po­hutukawa.

The crash killed Mt Eden res­i­dent Ann Young Hogarth, Ben­jamin Mor­ri­son Lind­say of Kings­land and Wil­liam Ca­ley, an ac­coun­tant of New North Road.

For a full list of those in­volved visit kings­landnz.com and search ‘tram’.

Margi Wat­son and Chris­tine Fo­ley are ask­ing for rel­a­tives of those in­volved in a Kings­land tram tragedy to come for­ward.

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