“I heard the car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock.”

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It was a very hot day in Fitzroy Crossing – unbearably hot. My husband, two sons and a group of friends went off to the river for a swim. My new baby was about four months old so I used him as an excuse to stay home. I wasn’t feeling very well (it turned out that I had mastitis, but that is another story!)

I felt a bit guilty not going because a new family had just arrived from Victoria. I wanted to welcome them but not today. We didn’t have air conditioning but the overhead fans were working hard to keep me and baby cool. I heard a car door slam, and immediately looked at the clock. It couldn’t be my husband – they only left an hour ago. There was a knock on the door.  People rarely knocked on the door so I was curious about who it could be.

I opened the door and it was Ken, the school principal. He was one of the group who went swimming in the River. He said those terrible words that we never want to hear,

“I have some bad news!” My stomach churned and I was frozen in fear. Was it my husband or one of my two sons?

He went on, in a state of shock himself, as he explained that the youngest daughter (five years old) of the new family, got into difficulty in the river and she drowned. How could something so incredibly horrible happen? My feelings were all over the place – there was relief that the tragic news had left my family intact. Then there was shock and great sadness for this new family and their terrible loss.

I will never forget that day or the loss that family experienced. Linda was buried at the Fitzroy Crossing Cemetery near the Old Crossing Inn. There was great sadness on that day thirty years ago.

Lorraine

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