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Henry Innes Falwasser (1827–1874)

Our Raglan correspondent writes: — It is my painful duty to record the untimely death of Mr. Henry Innis Falwasser (late schoolmaster at Ruapuki, and correspondent to the Weekly News) which took place at Raglan, on the 15th instant, under the following painful circumstances. For some considerable time past the deceased has been subject to occasional fits of epilepsy, and it is supposed that he was overtaken by one on the day of his decease. He had been assisting Mr. Fassell to launch a boat, and half an hour afterwards he was discovered lying dead on the beach, about three yards from the receding tide. His clothes were wet, but the water could not have been more than a few inches deep where he fell, and had he been discovered sooner he might possibly have been saved. His body was at once removed to the Royal Hotel, and every means adopted to restore animation, but without avail. I need scarcely say that the event has plunged the family in the greatest grief, and also cast a gloom over the entire neighbourhood, as the deceased was well respected.

The inquest on the body was held on Monday afternoon, before Dr. Harsant, coroner, and a jury of whom Mr. Henry Duncan was chosen foreman. After having viewed the body, the following evidence was taken: — Mr. Edward Levert deposed — I am a settler, residing at Raglan. On Saturday, the 26th instant, about two o'clock, I saw the deceased on the wharf: he made some common place observation, and then went into the township; he returned about a quarter of an hour afterwards, with a coil of rope, and said he was going to Mr. Fassell’s boat, a distance of about a chain and a half from where I stood. A few minutes afterwards Mr. Fassell came down, and they went together and launched the boat. Mr. Fassell then got into the boat and went up the creek, the deceased remaining behind. He afterwards went along the beach, as if going home — and that was the last time I saw him alive. About half an hour afterwards I went into the township to request Messrs. Powell and Moon, highway trustees, to inspect some work that was finished. We returned together, and went to the wharf and examined the work. I was returning home, in company with Mr. Powell, when Mr. Moon called us back, saying, there was a body on the beach, and he thought it was Falwasser, who had got drowned. We immediately ran up and examined the body, and removed it to a dry place. Mr. Moon then ran off for the doctor, and I went to the township for assistance, leaving Mr. Powell in charge of the body. I soon returned with assistance, and Dr Harsant having also arrived, the body was carried to the Royal Hotel. The wet clothing was taken off the body, and the usual means taken to restore animation, but without effect. — Mr. Moon, publican, deposed: I knew the deceased. On Saturday, the 26th inst., I had been examining some work on the wharf with Messrs. Powell and Levert, and noticing my boat had drifted out into the current, I said I would run and see if the anchor and chain were all right. Going along the beach, I saw a body lying, which, on examination, I found to be the deceased. I then ran up the bank, and called to Messrs. Powell and Levert to come back again saying there was a dead body on the beach— Falwasser had got drowned. I knew it was him by the clothing. We viewed the body, and I then went for the doctor; and when we returned the body was removed to the Royal Hotel. — By the coroner: The tide had receded about 9ft. The body had the appearance of having been immersed in the water. I have known the deceased about 15 years. I believe he was subject to fits. I heard of his having a fit some time ago. — Mr. Edward Fassell, surveyor, deposed: The deceased assisted me to launch a boat on the 26th about 2 o'clock. I then got into the boat, and went up the creek leaving the deceased on the beach. About half an hour afterwards I heard that the deceased was drowned. I assisted in removing the body to the Royal Hotel. Mr Bulford, constable, deposed, I have heard the evidence of the last three witnesses and it agrees with the information I gathered on the day of deceased's death. I found the rope spoken of above high water mark, I think the deceased must have forgotten the rope and went returning for it when he was attacked by a fit, and fell into the water and got drowned. I have known the deceased for years, and have known him to have fits on two occasions This was all the evidence. After a brief deliberation the jury returned the following verdict. — "The jury find that the deceased Henry Innis Falwasser was found dead on the beach, and that his death was occasioned by falling into shallow water when under the influence of an epileptic fit."

Original publication

Citation details

'Falwasser, Henry Innes (1827–1874)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 15 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


18 May, 1827
London, Middlesex, England


26 September, 1874 (aged 47)
Raglan, Waikato, New Zealand

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

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