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KEENAN FAMILY in Australia


The Catherall-Keenan double shooting tragedy in 1909


 (This transcript was prepared by Peter James Keenan in December 1994)
Grace Catherall, the mother in this report, was formerly Grace Keenan, a daughter of Henry and Nancy (Ann) Keenan. She married John Henry Catherall.  The boys ages mentioned in this report are incorrect. Sydney Catherall was 7 (see his mother's evidence in the report in The Adelong and Tumut Express, 12/3/1909). Eric was probably about 10. The article on 12/3/1909 contains details of evidence heard by the Coroner.
 Double Tragedy in Batlow

News was received here yesterday (Thursday) morning of a terrible tragedy that occurred the previous night at Batlow. Rev. Kennedy returned from his monthly visit to the place, and brought particulars to our office of the sad event.


Two brothers, Eric and Sydney Catherall, aged respectively 14 and 10 years, went from their home, about half a mile from Batlow, on Wednesday evening, after school, on a shooting expedition, taking with them a Winchester rifle, 22 calibre. They did not return that night, but the mother must have concluded that they had called at some friends' place, and were staying for the night.

Next morning, as some children were making their way to school, they came across the lifeless bodies of the two boys, one, the younger, with a bullet mark in the centre of the forehead, and the other with a mark of the entrance of a bullet at the right temple.

Word was at once sent to Constable Brown, who quickly arrived on the scene and took charge of the bodies, and he arranged with Mr. Palmer to take a photo of the surroundings before removing the corpses. The rifle was lying alongside the body of the elder boy, the inference therefore, is that, whether by accident or otherwise no one will ever know, he shot his brother dead, and on finding what he had done he immediately committed suicide.

The occurrence took place just outside the northern gate of the Batlow race-course. The unfortunate mother, on receiving the remains of her two sons, became almost distracted, so overcome was she at the horrible sight. Rev. Kennedy was present, and did all in his power to pacify the poor woman over the sad and melancholy event that had occurred.

The two boys, it appears, were seen together after 6 o'clock on the evening of the tragedy, and there was nothing then apparent to indicate any happening of the kind. The father of the boys is a stock and share broker residing at Johannesburg.

An inquest, it was expected, was to be held last night (Thursday), by the Tumbarumba coroner, the Adelong one being away from home.

In consequence of the tragic occurrence noted above it has been decided to postpone the euchre tournament and dance in aid of the hospital until next Friday night, 12th inst.


this story continues with a report of evidence heard several days later by the coroner.

  Click here for that report.