A Tragic Death
Tragic Death on South Solitary Island
Born Selina Lydia Violet Lott, she was born out of wedlock and took on the Gow name after her parents were married 17.4.1895.
Lydia was born 15.3.1895 - Died 21.11.1912 (17yrs 8mths)
Father: David Robert William Gow, Principal Keeper.
Lydia, I don't believe was at school, as the death certificate; states Home Duties, which back then, that was the term for domestic duties/cleaner etc.
She became very ill so a message was sent via Signal Station to Coffs Harbour, for a doctor to come immediately. A heavy southerly was blowing but Dr W.H. Wood went across in a small launch. It was impossible to land from the Jetty and crane, so a landing was made on the northern side of the island, by Dr Wood first throwing his bag onto the island and then jumping on himself. In doing so, he slipped and by holding on to the slippery rocks tore a number of his finger nails off. The doctor diagnosed the case as very serious, returned to Coffs Harbour, where he sent urgent messages to Sydney for assistance.
The Captain Cook, with a doctor and nurse were immediately despatched to the island. But a terrific cyclone was now raging and it was three days before the Captain Cook reached the island.
Lydia died from Typhoid/Enteric Fever & Haemorrhage perforation. Dr. Wood last saw Lydia on the 18.11.1912 that would have been 3 days before she died. From family talk after Lydia died and unable to bury her on the Island (owning to the shallowness of the soil) she was placed in a bathtub and interred in concrete in the bathtub.
Lydia was buried at Sandgate Cemetery on 25.11.1912. I believe Sandgate Cemetery put a probe down into the grave to verify that concrete had been used; the finding I believe was verified correct.
David Gow, I believe had to return to the Island to be able to collect all belongings etc. and waited for replacement Keeper to arrive.
Information submitted with thanks from Helen Hemmons nee Gow (Granddaughter of David Gow)
In another dramatic rescue from the island, Ron Harper, who was operating within a mile of the island, answered an urgent call broadcast from the fishermen's co-operative to pick up a child, Tracey McKay, daughter of Mr and Mrs Eric McKay of the lighthouse staff. She has swallowed a large number of asprin and was dashed to hospital. But fortunately, on the way she became violently seasick which saved the 21 month old child the serious impact of the tablets. The harbour master, Captain L Simms met the boat and transferred the sick child to hospital.