Sunday, 2 March 2014

Quite a gloom was cast over Ballan

The untimely death of John Raven Fisher on the evening of Monday 1 November 1909 amidst construction of Pyke's Creek Reservoir was reported in The Bacchus Marsh Express as follows -

The following appeared in Wednesday's Ballarat Star:-"Quite a gloom was cast over Ballan on Tuesday morning when it was learned that Mr. J. R. Fisher, the contractor for the Pyke's creek water works, had died suddenly in Melbourne on Monday nlght, he having left Ballan in apparent good health and spirits by the last train that evening. The following paragraph, which appeared in Tuesday's Age, caused much regret: - "The body of a man, which is supposed to be that of Mr. J. R. Fisher, was found on Monday night on the pavement, at the corner of King and Francis streets. Constable Thompson passed the spot at 10.55 p.m., and on returning twenty minutes later he saw the body on the footpath. He rang up the ambulance, and the body was removed to the Melbourne hospital, where it was found that life was extinct. Deceased, a man of about 15 stone, was well dressed, and was wearing a heavy gold watch and chain, and a sovereign purse. The sum of 10/6 in money was found on him, and also a half yearly first class railway ticket from Ballan to Middle Park. Beyond the ticket there was nothing in his pockets to establish his identity. Deceased had a cut over the eye, which was probably caused when he fell on the pavement. It is believed that death was due to natural causes. "At an early hour this morning deceased was identified by Constable Cobbledick as J. R. Fisher, a;contractor, residing at Middle Park." 

No further particulars have been published, except that a medical certificate was given of death from natural causes, and no inquiry was held. Mr. Fisher was carrying out the contract for Pyke's creek reservoir. That work, and all similar work, should not be carried out by contract but by Government engineers, employing the best skill, and using the best methods. 

The late Mr. Fisher looked to be 56 instead of 46. He was W.M. of the Freemasons Lodge at Middle. Park, and was well spoken of by all who knew him. He was present at the installation of W.M. J. G. Wells at the Duke of Abercorn Lodge, Bacchus Marsh; and also at the installation of W.M. R. Shankland, at Ballan. The latter ceremony being probably the last Masonic meeting he attended.

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