Ceme­tery tour a trib­ute

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS -

New Zealand’s worst train dis­as­ter will be re­mem­bered this Sun­day dur­ing a tour of Woodville’s his­toric Gorge Ceme­tery.

Aboard the Welling­ton to Auck­land Christ­mas Eve ex­press that was wrecked in 1953 when the Tangi­wai Bridge col­lapsed, were brothers Neal and Paul Thomas. The pair were travelling to a church youth camp, and were among the 151 pas­sen­gers and train crew who died that night.

Their graves will be vis­ited as part of a tour that fo­cuses on peo­ple who per­ished un­der tragic cir­cum­stances.

‘‘Many of those buried in the old Woodville Gorge His­toric Ceme­tery have been vic­tims of tragedy. In pi­o­neer­ing times spe­cial­ist care as known to­day was not read­ily avail­able, the skill of the lo­cal doc­tor be­ing the only re­source,’’ tour or­gan­iser Ray Al­lott said.

Another tragic vic­tim was 7-year-old Gertrude Rose Curry.

The girl was re­mov­ing a ket­tle from the fire in De­cem­ber, 1900, when the sleeve of her dress caught fire and she was quickly en­veloped in flames, re­sult­ing in fatal burns.

In 1889, Ge­orge Kirby was work­ing on the rail­way through the Gorge, slipped and fell 12 me­tres into the river.

His widow re­ceived com­pen­sa­tion of two guineas – pos­si­bly the equiv­a­lent of $100.

A con­ducted grave site tour takes place Sun­day, July 31 at 2.30pm.

Ac­cess to the ceme­tery’s up­per gate is across the rail­way line off State High­way 3 on the Woodville side of the gorge.

The wreck­age of lo­co­mo­tive Ka 949 af­ter the Tangi­wai Bridge dis­as­ter.

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