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Henry Hugill's disappearence.


The Reverand Henry Walker Hugill, a son of Joseph Hugill, went missing on Tuesday the 6th September 1909, and was subsequently found dead on the 21st September.

Gleamed from newspaper reports of the time, what follows is the story of what happened to him.

This research is broken down into three sections;

Newspaper Reports.

Discussion.

Conclusion.




Newspaper Reports

Here listed in cronologial order order, are all the numerous newspaper reports on his disappearance and the subsequent discovery of his body.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The first mention with have is in The Sydney Morning Herald, Wednesday 8 September 1909, page 8, where we hear Henry has gone missing and the police have been informed.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




Next we have a report in The Mercury - Hobart - Wednesday the 8th Septmber 1909, Page 3, where we hear Henry has gone missing and the police have been informed.

This is basically the same report as the first, except that we have a little more information; such as his brother, address, appearance, and so on.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The following day with have another report in The Mercury - Hobart - Thursday the 9th September 1909, page 5.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




Then we have have another report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Thursday the 9th September 1909, page 6.

This gave a much more detailed description of Henry, and that detectives Fullerton and Lear, would be pleased to hear of any information about him.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The same day we have a report in the Brisbane Courier, Thursday the 9th September 1909, page 4.

This short report, was wired from their Sydney correspondent yesterday.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




Five days now pass, and then in The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday 14th September 1909, page 7, we have a report that a man was seen last week answering the description of Henry, at the railway station at Mount Druitt.



Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




Just over a week later we have report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Tuesday 21st September 1909, page 7, that Henry's body has been found and that a coroner's inquest held at mount Druitt, decides that the cause of death was heart failure.



Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The same day The Mercury - Hobart - on Tuesday 21st September 1909, page 5, reports an abridged version of events.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




Next we have The Argus - Melbourne - on Tuesday 21st September 1909, page 4, reports again an abridged version of events, and no mention of the Coroner's inquest.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The Brisbane Courier - on Tuesday 21st September 1909, page 5, reports in much less detail.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's Newspaper report

Henry Walker Hugill's Death Newspaper Report.




The West Australian - Perth - on Tuesday 21st September 1909, page 5, reports again the basic facts.


Click this link to see the original newspaper records

Australian Newspapers


Discussion

Henry lived at home at, Craignish, Carabella Street, Kirribill, North Sydney. I presume "Craignish" is the name of his house!


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's route to the Sydney School of Arts

Henry Walker Hugill's route to the
Sydney School of Arts.



To travel from his house, which is on the north side of the bay, to Pitt street - which on the south - which is the Syndey most of us know, with the Opera House, he would have had to walk, or catch a tram to catch the ferry south over the bay to Circular Quay.

This area was much different to what we see today, as the Sydney Harbour Bridge was yet to be built - opened 19th March 1932, and the famous Opera House was not completed until 1973.

Another means of travelling south now is the Sydney Harbour Tunnel, but again this was not opened until August 1992, to provide a second vehicular crossing of Sydney Harbour so as to alleviate congestion on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Therefore in 1909 the only means of crossing the river was by ferry accross the harbour to Circular Quay.

In 1899, after a series of mergers, the ferry company was renamed Sydney Ferries Limited; at one point, Sydney Ferries Limited was the largest operator of ferries on the world.


The map shows the harbour, and marked, are Henry's street where he lived [marked A]; Carabella Street, Kirribill, North Sydney, and the street he was travelling to Pitt street [marked B], Sydney.

Both are long streets, and I have been unable yet to determine precisely where his house, and where the Sydney School of Arts were located.


Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's route to Mount Druitt

Henry Walker Hugill's route to Mount Druitt.




Henry's body was found in the bush at Rupertswood, Mount Druitt.

One report said the body was found near the Mount Druitt railway station.

Mount Druitt is about 18 miles west of Sydney, and there is no evidence how Henry happened to get there, I think we have to assume that he took the train, and got off at the Mount Druitt railway station.

Mount Druitt is named after, Major George Druitt (1775-1842) who was granted 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) in the area by Governor Macquarie.

Rail services to Mount Druitt commenced on 19 August 1881. The railway station operated as the post office between 1885 and 1918.

The station had two platforms and a level crossing at the western end and included small goods yard, servicing a small mill.


Conclusion

From what we know, this what I think happened:-

On leaving the ferry on the Circular Quay, he decided for what ever reason to take the train up to Mount Druitt.

This might seen somewhat strange, but my late Mother-in-Law, Florence Emily Steatham, in her seventies used to quite often take bus journeys, just did this she said, because she was bored and just wanted to get out and about for a while.

This is most likely what happended to Henry.
Photo of Henry Walker Hugill's route to the Blue Mountains

Henry Walker Hugill's route to the Blue Mountains.


The report on Tuesday the 14th, that a man of his appearence had been seen in the nearby area of St Marys, just west of Mount Druitt, and also inquiring at Mount Druitt's railway station last week, about trains to the Blue Mountains, fits in with him being there on the day of his leaving home - the 6th September.

As can be seen from the map, Mount Druitt circled in red, if the train timetables were suitable, a rail trip could have been made due west into the Blue Mountains, and a return to Sydney made via Mount Druitt station.

Henry never made that journey, or if he did we have no record of it.
Some reports say he was discovered near the Railway station, so it is likely Henry went for short walk, before retaking the train back to Sydney, he then suddenly fell ill, and died.

One last point, one of the reports say that he was seen on the 10th; this must be a case of mistaken identity, as Henry could not have survived at his age, out in the open for fours days!