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William Clarson (1832–1890)

from Mildura Cultivator

Great consternation was created in the settlement yesterday morning by the intelligence that Mr. William Clarson, who had been for a considerable time engaged at the Cultivator office, had shot himself. From his general character and habits he was about the last man to suspect of any suicidal tendency, and there had been nothing in his recent behaviour to excite special remark. On Monday he had been complaining of a severe headache and being unable to attend to his usual office work, had gone to his lodgings. Yesterday he was at the office early in the morning and was speaking with John Keena, enginedriver at the works, just after seven o'clock. He appeared quite rational and composed at the time. A few minutes afterwards Mr. G. Chaffey was passing along the bank in front of the Cultivator office, when he saw Mr. Clarson pressing one hand to his side and signalling him to come. Mr. Chaffey entered and found the unfortunate man sitting on a chair, while his hands were pressed to a frightful wound in his abdomen. Mr. Clarson said "I have shot myself," and Mr. Chaffey immediately called in a man named Isherwood who was close by, told him to look after Mr. Clarson, and hurried off for a doctor. Dr. Hill was promptly on the spot, and Dr. Abramowski was also in attendance a few minutes later. It was seen at once, however, that there was not the slightest hope of recovery. The only thing that could be done was to render the agony of the last few hours of life as light as possible. Mr. Clarson lingered on until two o'clock, and then passed into a sort of coma from which he did not again awake. He stated to those in attendance on him that he had committed the act wilfully. He had been worried a good deal over his private affairs and it had made him desperate. The previous day he had suffered from headache so frightfully that when he felt the attack approaching again he determined to kill himself. He endeavoured to shoot himself through the heart, but no doubt in stooping to reach the trigger he altered the direction of the gun barrel, and so discharged the contents through his stomach.

On Mr. Clarson's attainments and general qualities something is offered in another column. In his own lines he had no equal in Australia. A good linguist, a botanist of great repute, a clever journalist and stenographer, a crack shot, and a man of untiring energy, he was endowed with qualities that fall to the lot of few men. The failure of a law suit threw him into financial difficulties which brought on a fit of despondency. He has relatives, but little is known of them, as he was very reticent about his family affairs. The funeral will start from Gunn's store for the Mildura cemetery this afternoon at three o'clock.

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Citation details

'Clarson, William (1832–1890)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

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