Inquest at Mintaro

Inquest at Mintaro.—An inquest was held at the Mintaro Hotel on Wednesday, January 15, by Mr. T. Priest, J.P., on the body of Martin Hawley, who was found killed in an old shaft on the Martindale Estate. Mr. Huckson, the contractor for Mr. Bowman’s new house, said the deceased had been on and off in his employ for about twenty-five years, and was a very steady sober man. Not finding him at his work on Tuesday he went to his tent on Wednesday morning to see if he was there ; but not seeing him, and suspecting something wrong, he caused a search to be made. A lad named James Duncan found him lying at the bottom of one of the old shafts in the neighbourhood. The other evidence showed that the deceased went into Mintaro on Monday evening, and was seen returning to his tent about 9 or 10 o’clock by the road or track he usually passed, and which was within ten feet of one of the shafts. It being dark and his sight defective he wandered from the track, and walked into the shaft, which was about 100 feet deep. Dr. Eadon examined the body, and was of opinion that he fell directly on his head, and death must have been instantaneous. The Jury returned the following verdict:—”That Martin Hawley came by his death purely accidentally by falling down an old shaft on the Martindale Estate (Bowman’s);” and added the rider—”We think that these old shafts should have been protected, and recommend that this be attended to immediately, as they are so near the track which the men (about sixty) have to traverse daily.”