Geer-Lyons Memorial

Public Art: Geer-Lyons Memorial

Also Known As : Poison Gully Memorial

Sculptor: ©

Description: The Geer-Lyons Memorial commemorates the first major railway accident in Western Australia and the death of two rail workers, George Geer and William "Jack" Lyons.

Funded: The memorial was funded by the people of Mildand.

Date Unveiled: The Geer- Lyons memorial was unveiled at 3 pm on 8th of November, 1905 .

Location: The Geer-Lyons memorial was originally located in front of the Public Hall at the junction of Helena and Newcastle Streets in Midland but has been moved several times since then.

Inscription:

Erected to the memory of
driver G.Geer
and
fireman W.Lyons
who were killed in the
POISON GULLY
Railway accident
August 1st 1904



Background to The Poison Gully Accident of 1904 : The Posion Gully accident happened on a wet and windy night near a wooden bridge crossing at Posion Gully just outside of Midland on the 1st of August 1904. The train, a G class Locomotive G134, was on its way to Pickering Brook, about 15 miles away, to pick up passengers and produce. Rain had been pouring heavily for two days and the driver was cautioned to go "steady" around a well known curve along the track.

Unfortunately on that fateful night the engine was hauling the tender first (a special rail vehicle containing the locomotive's fuel wood, coal, or oil and water) making it impossible to use its headlight.  The driver had no idea that the persistent rain had washed away the culvert and bank near the bridge crossing and that he was heading towards disaster. When the locomotive neared the creek, the sleepers and rails, which were literally suspended in air , collapsed and sent the locomotive nose first into the water.

Fireman, William "Jack" Lyons was sent hurtling into the creek with the tender landing on top of him and the driver, George Geer, was crushed by the concertina-ing carriages and lay dying  on the bank of the creek. When the guard, Adam Anderson (who was at the back of the carriages) realised that neither of his work mates could be saved, he hobbled back to  Midland with a broken leg to raise the alarm.

This incident would mark the first major railway accident in Western Australia.

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