Monday, March 26, 2018

Week 12 - Misfortune - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

One of many newpaper articles on the
attack found using Trove
After last week's post 'Lucky', this week we are focusing on the opposite side of the coin, 'Misfortune'.  Sadly, every family suffers some kinds of misfortune, the bad with the good.

As I said last week, this week I would focus on the only child in the Clark family to die young - my great uncle Norman William Clark.  Her was born 10th August 1910 and died 15th February 1930, the victim of the first shark fatality in Victorian waters in over 50 years.  Norman, along with his girlfriend and younger brother Russell, was watching a boating regatta from Middle Brighton Pier in Melbourne.  During a break in the races Norman decided to have a swim, and dived off the end of the pier.  The shark came from underneath the pier, grabbed Norman, and dragged him out to sea.  Over 100 people on the pier and beach witnessed the attack, and regatta officials tried to reach him, firing their starting guns in an effort to drive the shark away, but all in vain.  Norman was dragged out to sea and his body was never recovered.

The attack received wide publicity and was reported in newspapers around the country, including the Melbourne Argus, Brisbane Courier, Hobart Mercury and Canberra Times.  I have over 30 newspaper articles, sourced through the wonderful Trove, describing the attack and subsequent search for the shark and Norman's body.  Many of the headlines were sensational, with the one above even declaring a 'Thrilling Struggle' - certainly not a headline a newspaper today would use when describing a shark attack fatality.

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