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Harvey David Hay (1876–1898)

Deep regret was felt in the Berry district on Wednesday morning when it became known that Mr. Harvey Hay, brother of Dr. Hay, proprietor, and Mr. Alex. Hay, manager, of the Berry Estate, had succumbed from the effects of a gunshot wound. The accident occurred about six o'clock on Tuesday evening, in a sandy lane, about four miles north of Coolangatta. In company with Mr. Arthur Molton, Mr. Hay was pursuing a wild bull on horseback carrying a loaded rifle with the intention of shooting it. Apparently the stirrup leather broke and he fell to the ground, the charge in the rifle exploding. His companion, who was riding about 100 yards in advance, heard the report and rode back. He saw Mr. Hay lying on the ground with his head bleeding. He immediately rode for assistance, and Dr. Lewers and Dawson were quickly in attendance from Berry. The sufferer was conveyed to the Coolangatta homestead in a drag. Upon examination it was found that the skull had been shattered and the brain affected. The injuries were of such a nature that Mr. Hay never recovered consciousness, and he died at 7 o'clock on Wednesday morning. Dr. Hay, Mr. Alex. Hay and all the members of the Coolangatta household were on the spot shortly after the accident. Deceased was a sergeant in the Berry lancers.

On Wednesday Mr. Z. G. Bice, J.P., Coroner, held a magisterial enquiry at Coolangatta touching the death of deceased. The following facts were elicited in evidence:—

Alfred John Morton, sworn, deposed, that he as a stock and station agent, living at Glebe Point, Sydney. At 8.15 on Tuesday deceased and he left Coolangatta to go to Abernethy's farm after a wild bull. They could not find the bull there. They rode to the other side of the swamp. They saw some cattle in the swamp and deceased said the bull was amongst them. Deceased got off his horse and had a shot at the bull at a long range. He did not think that he hit him. They then rode along the edge of the swamp towards Greenhills, turned into the bush and came on to the track where they were before. Witness was riding about 80 yards ahead of deceased when they crossed the fence. Went about 50 yards past when he heard the report of a a rifle. He turned round and saw deceased's horse coming towards him at a good pace. Went back and saw deceased lying partly on his right side. Got off his horse, went over to him and lifted him up. He leaned his head on him (witness). When he lifted him up he saw that he was wounded in the head. Carried him to a shady place and stayed with him a short time, and then went to Coolangatta. Deceased was conscious, and asked him to go for his brother. Deceased's stirrup leather was broken and lying close to him. The rifle was three or four yards away. The horses were in a good canter when the accident happened. Deceased's hat (produced) was picked up about three feet from where he fell. A piece was out of the rim as though a bullet had gone through it; there was blood inside. The accident took place about 5.30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Alex. Hay deposed that deceased was his brother. About 6 pm. on Tuesday he was returning from Gerringong with Mr. H. Morton. About two miles from home a boy ran across the paddock and told him of the accident to his brother on the Sandy Lane. He hurried along and met a party from Coolangatta going to his relief. Got on a horse and galloped to the scene of the the accident with Mr. J. Morton. There found deceased lying under a tree. He was conscious and recognised him (witness). I spoke to him for about half an hour. He did not say how the accident happened. Dr. Dawson arrived about an hour after he (witness) arrived. Deceased became unconscious then, remaining so until about 7 a.m. on Wednesday when he died.

Dr. John Hay deposed that deceased was his brother. About 5 p.m. on Tuesday he heard that an accident happened to him. He at at once gave instructions for a drag to be prepared and to proceed to the scene of the accident. He met his brother Mr. Hay, coming home to Coolangatta. He turned and proceeded with Mr. Morton. Witness followed and took the road along the margin of the swamp. About three miles from Coolangatta he met the horse deceased was riding. The right stirrup was missing from the saddle. Found his brother Alex beside deceased who recognised witness as soon as he went there. Remained with him until he died at about 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The horse he was riding was a very quiet one.

Cecil Lacey Dawson deposed that he was a legally qualified medical practitioner in Berry. He arrived at the scene of the accident at 7.15 on Tuesday. Found deceased lying on his right side on a mattress, his head resting on his right arm, partly conscious, with a very feeble pulse. Gave him some brandy and water and examined the wound. Found a compound fracture of the skull and considerable lasceration of the brain and its membrane; also a good deal of hemorrhage. He temporarily dressed the wound and with assistance put deceased into the drag and took him home. In conjunction with Dr. Lewers he made a further examination and found a wound on top of the skull. There was only one wound, the brain protruded and there was much hemorrhage. The patient was suffering from shock and gradually became unconscious and died that morning about 7 o'clock. The cause of death was shock following a gunshot wound. A shot from the rifle (produced) in close quarters would cause the wound.

Thomas Rose Lower deposed that he was a duly qualified practitioner residing at Berry. On Tuesday he was summoned to attend Mr. Harvey Hay, who was, he was informed, accidentally shot. About 4 miles from Coolangatta he found several men carrying deceased. He had his head bound up and was semi conscious. Dr. Dawson was in attendance on him. Went to Coolangatta house, where, in company with Dr. Dawson, he examined the patient. Found a compound fracture of the vortex of the skull a little way to the right side of the middle line. Appropriate remedies were adopted but the case was almost hopeless from the first. Remained in attendance continuously until his death at 7 this morning.  The wound was such as would be produced (if fired at close range) by the cartridge (produced). The fact that the hemorrhage was great and the brain tissue bespattered over the hair, would prove that the injury must have been received from a blow as from a bullet discharged in close proximity. In his opinion the cause of death was shock from lasceration of the brain, caused by the forcible entrance of a foreign body, such as the bullet produced.

John Wooley deposed that he went to the scene of the accident that morning about 5 miles from Coolangatta homestead. Picked up a piece of leather—the end of a stirrup leather—which corresponds with the leather produced. About twelve yards from where he picked up the leather there was a clot of blood, a pair of boots and spurs, also eight rifle cartridges (produced). About fifteen yards from where he saw the blood he saw a place as if a horse had stumbled. Knew the horse deceased was riding; it was a very quiet one. From what he saw it was his opinion that the horse stumbled, causing the leather to break and the deceased to fall.

This closed the evidence and the coroner found that deceased met his death on November 23, from a gunshot wound accidentally received.

The deceased was buried at Coolangatta on Thursday, the funeral being the largest seen in the district since that of the late David Berry. The Berry Lancers attended.

Original publication

Citation details

'Hay, Harvey David (1876–1898)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


New Zealand


23 November, 1898 (aged ~ 22)
Berry, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

shooting accident

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Military Service