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William Fyfe Davidson (1870–1912)

Mr. William Fyfe Davidson, late Chief Engineer on the SS Empire, died rather suddenly on board that vessel on the night of December 23rd, on the voyage from Timor Island to this port, and considerable speculation was excited on Tuesday morning, 24th inst, as this vessel steamed into harbour with her flag at half mast. It is stated that whilst the Empire was engaged in discharging cargo at Dilli, in Timor, Mr. Davidson, who was looking on, had to spring rather suddenly to one side to avoid contact with a sling full of cargo. Thereafter he suffered considerable pain and complained that he had "ricked" himself. He was examined by the ship's doctor, who found that in addition to a slight strain, Mr. Davidson was also suffering from a congested liver and a very weak heart. On the voyage hither from Timor he rapidly became worse, and after partaking of water fell back in his bunk and expired. Mr. Davidson was a genial kind hearted man who appears to have been beloved by his shipmates and esteemed by all with whom he was brought into contact. Many residents of Darwin who have travelled with him at one time and another, were shocked to hear of his sudden demise, and speak regretfully of his obliging amiable disposition and kindness of heart. Mr. Davidson was buried at the 2½-Mile Cemetery on the afternoon of December 24th, being followed to the graveside by as many of his shipmates as could get away from their duties and by several Darwin friends.

We understand the deceased was in the prime of life, being only 41 years of age at the time of his death. He was born in Sydney, and was brought up and educated by his uncle, Mr. Cruickshank, late Chief Engineer Surveyor for the N S.W. Government, who died quite recently Mr. Davidson received his training as an engineer at Mort's Dock Engineering Works, and first went to sea in the old steamer Guthrie, then belonging to the E and A. Company. He has remained in the service of this Company ever since (18 years), and was chief engineer of the SS Australian when that vessel was lost on this coast a few years ago. This is the second death of a chief engineer in the service of this Company within a few weeks of each other — both comparatively sudden and unexpected.

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'Davidson, William Fyfe (1870–1912)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 May 2024.

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