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James Francis (Jim) Pile (1877–1895)

It was in glorious weather that the 'shrow-off' of the second meet of the season in connection with the Adelaide Hunt Club took place at Walkerville on Saturday afternoon. Having been entertained at luncheon at 'Holmwood' by Mr. W. R. Cave, the red coats were in excellent spirits, and with the blue sky above them and the green sward beneath them, they were bent on enjoying the exhilarating and thrilling sensation of a ten-mile ride following the Adelaide hounds. None among the interested spectators who witnessed the horsemen start on their journey dreamt for a moment that one of the number was taking his last ride; but, alas, such was the fact. Poor James Francis Pile, the eldest son of Mr. William Pile, the well-known station owner, was killed at the second to the last fence. Quite a pall fell on the crowd who had assembled as the residence of the hospitable host to witness the finish of a happy hunting day. Simpleton, the horse the deceased rode, has done no work to speak of this season, and was consequently out of condition, and the young equestrian told several of his acquaintances that he was not going to hunt. Even at luncheon he said he would take only a few fences. Simpleton was jumping rather badly, and at the check seemed to have a good deal taken out of him. One of the company remarked this to the deceased, who in reply said, with the courage which characterized him, that he would battle on and chance it. Mr. F. Levi saw the horses appear over the rise close to the haystacks when nearing home, and told one of our representatives that Simpleton, who was going steadily, jumped the five fences before the last double very well. The fence where the fatality occurred is a stiff obstacle about 4 ft. 6 in. high. It is just to the north of the lodge situated on the estate of Mr. P. Levi, and is rendered awkward by the fact that five gum trees forming a semicircle have to be passed through before the timbers can be negotiated. The biggest gap between the eucalypti is only sufficiently wide to allow of two horses at the most taking the rails together. Mr. F. Donaghy, in conversation with our representative, said "five of us all baulked at this fence. Then Modesty came along, and we thought we would get a lead from her, but strange to say she refused as well. Poor Jim Pile sent Simpleton at the jump, but the horse was fairly beaten. He didn't rise at the fence, but struck it hard with his chest and turned a complete somersault on to the other aide. Mr. Martin Healy told me that Pile fell to the ground first and then in a moment the horse was right on top of him, the pommel of the saddle striking him on the head.'

Mr. F. Levi says when the horse rose the deceased's leg was lifted upwards and it is safe to assume that his foot was caught in the stirrup. Drs. Lermitte and Evans were on the spot immediately, and young Pile, who was carried on a blanket to Mr. Cave's residence, which was only some two or three hundred yards distant, had every attention medical aid could lend. The poor youth never regained consciousness, and died about half an hour after the accident. No bones were broken, but the base of the skull was fractured. The other horses, which had not jumped out of Mr. Levi's property before the accident occurred, were led through the white gate, and the spectators gradually dispersed hushed and solemnized at the sad event. Eager to witness the finish the crowd, who had become impatient at having to wait so long, saw the career of this youthful follower of the hounds — a lad of only nineteen summers — ended thus abruptly. Last year at this same fence Mr. Ware came to grief, and had to be carried up to Mr. Levi's house, while some years ago, it will be remembered, the horse Mr. Wigley was jumping cleared the big white iron gate with his fore feet, but struck it with his hind, and brought the whole affair, post and all, to the ground. Had Simpleton been going at any pace on Saturday it might be inferred that he would have punched the rail out, or else shot his rider out of harm's way, but the horse seemed somehow unable to make the effort. Great sympathy is felt with Mr. and Mrs. Pile in their sad bereavement. It was only on Friday night that the deceased returned to Adelaide after a couple of mouths' holiday on one of his father's stations. While away the young sportsman secured a hunter, which he brought to town with him. Four or five years ago a son of Mr. William Bickford was killed while hunting, and the fact that he and Mr. Pile used to school their ponies together at the Bay is a pathetic coincidence. On Sunday morning the body of the deceased was removed to Mr. Pile's residence at Glenelg, where the City Coroner (Dr. Whittell) has decided to hold an inquest at half-past 11 o'clock this morning. The funeral leaves for the Brighton Cemetery at 2.30 p.m.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, South Australian Register, 18 June 1895, p 5

Citation details

'Pile, James Francis (Jim) (1877–1895)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]




15 June, 1895 (aged ~ 18)
Walkerville, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cause of Death

horse riding accident

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