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Mary Elizabeth Grimes (1842–1884)

The City Coroner held an inquest at Ackland's Hotel, Woollahra, this morning, on the body of the unfortunate woman Mary Elizabeth Grimes, who was killed at noon on Wednesday through falling over the cliff at South Head. Blanche Peters, residing at No. 83, Queen-street, Woollahra, deposed that the deceased, who was 43 years of age, was her sister, and was a widow; she had been residing at 83, Queen-Street: about half-past 10 o'clock on Wednesday morning witness accompanied the deceased in a cab to South Head, and when they arrived there they sat on the rock conversing for some time: deceased got up from the rock and went to the edge of the cliff and looked it over; whilst doing so she said, "The water looks very nice," and immediately afterwards witness saw her go over the cliff and attempting to catch hold of the rocks as she was falling; witness went and gave the alarm; the cabman at the time had gone to get change for a £1-note; the drive to South Head was a favourite one of the deceased's, and she was there on Tuesday with her son, on which occasion she looked over the edge of the cliff near to where the accident occurred; it was quite calm at the time of the occurrence; the deceased had not been well for some time, but was very cheerful on Wednesday; she had neither said nor done anything to lead the witness to suppose that she contemplated suicide; she was sometimes subject to giddiness. Charles Andrews, the cabman referred to by the last witness, gave evidence with respect to driving the deceased to South Head. Henry De Frazer, night watchman, at the signal-station, South Head, deposed that at noon on Wednesday he was out in a boat fishing off the signal station, and about 600 yards from the land, when he saw a number of people on the top of the cliffs looking over and he also heard them calling him: on nearing the rocks he saw the body of the deceased floating in the water, face downwards; he recovered the body and took it round to Watson's Bay, where it was received by Constable White. Constable White gave evidence to the affect that he received the body, and afterwards removed it to the South Sydney Morgue. Dr Eicher, who had examined the body, gave evidence to the effect that death had resulted from fracture of the spinal column and injury to the lungs. This concluded the evidence, and the jury returned a verdict to the effect that the deceased died from injuries accidentally received through falling over the cliff at South Head.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Grimes, Mary Elizabeth (1842–1884)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Peters, Mary Elizabeth

Hampshire, England


16 April, 1884 (aged ~ 42)
Watsons Bay, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.