Author Topic: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW  (Read 427 times)

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The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« on: January 23, 2022, 10:56:44 PM »
Whats so haunting yet so unreal speeding in train through a tunnel a marvel of engineering?

Yet tunnels can be claustrophobic for some like being buried alive. And why do teen age girls on excursion screem going through a tunnel? Yet there is a deep seated fear of plunging into the dark void of the earth like a tunnel of death?

One such "Tunnel of death" was the Otford Railway Tunnel on the Illawarra South coast line in NSW.?

The Otford Railway Tunnel was constructed in 1888 by the firm Rowe and Smith, who built 7 of the 8 original tunnels on the Illawarra line from Waterfall to Clifton. The Otford Railway Tunnel, the seventh after Waterfall, was the final major engineering project which permitted the linking up of the northern part of the Illawarra Line to the isolated southern part in 1888. The Otford Railway Tunnel opened on 3 October 1888.

The Otford Railway Tunnel - including the tunnel structure, sandstone dish drain and ventilation stack - is of State heritage significance. It was the longest and steepest single line tunnel to be built at the time (1824m long with a 1 in 40 gradient) as part of a major engineering work built in 1888 to connect the Illawarra line to Sydney. It is part of a notoriously steep section of the Illawarra line south of Waterfall used in the late 19th century by steam trains and bypassed by the Helensburgh deviation in 1919.

However sadly in before it closed ...it took at least one sacrifice

On August 14 1912, John Joseph McNamara boarded a train to the races with 1 in his pocket. Legend has it that McNamara won big at the races, and with his winnings, caught the train home again. However, something happened to McNamara that night, and his mangled body was found on the train tracks in the Otford tunnel the next day. He was found to have injuries to his skull, chest and neck, and his money was gone.

The Otford tunnel closed in 1920, and became a mushroom farm. Now, it is a deserted area, although rumours of an angry ghost are abundant. The tunnels are accessible, but please note that they are private property and trespassers could be prosecuted.

You can see a picture of the tunnel below. For those guests who cannot see the pictures I suggest you sign up to the forum to get a unique insight into Haunted Australia. You will be hooked on these ghost yarns.

To be continued.....

Kanacki

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2022, 11:02:15 PM »
The Helensburgh tunnel tells the tale of another tragic fate. On June 13 1895, miner Robert Hales was hit by a train in the Helensburgh tunnel, cleaving his body in two. It is said that the two halves of the body were found a considerable distance apart. Legend has it that a spectre hides in those tunnels, rushing through the darkness as though trying to outrun the train. And it has occasionally run straight through an unsuspecting visitor.

Both of these tunnel close by tell stories of gruesome death.....

But also perhaps of mystery murder?

to be continued.....

Kanacki

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2022, 11:45:30 PM »
Getting back to John Joseph McNamara tragic death in 1912 newspapers tell  two different versions of events.

With many thanks to Headless the following first newspaper story below.....

Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), Monday 19 August 1912, page 13 reported the following....

RAILWAY TUNNEL TRAGEDY. BODY FOUND ON LINE. MYSTERIOUS CASE.

WOLLONGONG (N.S.W.), Sunday. The death of John Joseph McNamara, a railway employee, of Sydney, whose mangled remains were found in a tunnel between the Stanwell-park and Otford railway stations on Wednesday morning, was the subject of an inquest which was opened yesterday.

Evidence was given that the deceased was at the Wollongong races on Tuesday and left for Sydney by the return special train on Tuesday night. He was sitting in the brake-van.

The guard in charge of the train said that he did not notice McNamara in the van. John Heelshire, driver of the early morning train, on Wednesday from Sydney, said that when his train was stopped he made an examination of the body, but found no blood coming from the left arm, which had been severed. In answer to the coroner, witness said that he thought that foul play had taken place.

The coroner adjourned the inquest, and ordered the extra emotional body. It was reported that McNamara had won about 200 at the races. When the body was found on the line in the tunnel they were only a few pence in the pockets.

The Sydney police, after exhaustive inquiries on the spot, have come to the conclusion, according to Superintendent Sykes, that there has been no justification for suspecting that anything more than an accident happened.

That McNamara had won 200 from the bookmakers is doubted, as he was only known to have had 1 on leaving home in the morning, and, even if he had had command of more cash then he was supposed to have possessed, he could not have one the son named if he had backed every winner. It is surmised that during the run through the tunnel the deceased open the door of the compartment in which he was placed, and fell out.

Notice the details above 1912 story.....

No see the story difference with the later story dated October 1915 a full 3 years later .....

HELENSBURGH

Mr. Kirby, . Coroner, held an inquiry, at the railway station, Helensburgh, on Monday, into the death of John Maher, whose body was, discovered on the line on Sunday last. Mr. Pearce was present on behalf of railway Department. J Smith, nephew of deceased, gave evidenoe of identificaton. Deceased was bushman; had been working near Albion Park.

He was jn the habit of attending races and took drink when away from work. To his knowledge deceased had never been on the 'new. platform at Helensburgh Station. On the old station it was
customary to walk off the platform on the western side.

The Deceased had' no property; was 58 years of age. Sargent Tomkins stated that at 1 .20a.m. on' the 3rd he was called to the railway station. On the upline opposite  the goods shed, he saw deceased's body, the head portion was lying between the rails the other portion between rail and platform.The body was cut clean through From marks found it would appeared that deceased 'had walked off the platform and had fallen on his face.

In the presence of ' Dr. Cox searched the body, found f1 9s 9d, in cash, ?pocket knife, tobacco and cigarettes and race book bearing' date 2nd Oct. Also some return racecourse  train tickets; There was no appearance of the body being dragged any distance. Night-officer Burns gave evidence of finding the body. . Deceased had no right on the proper means of egress from platform going by way of the steps leading to the over bridge situated  at the southern end' of platform.

The lamps were burning brightly when he went on duty and were still burning when the body was discovered. Dr. Cox gave evidence as to injuries. He believed the deceased had been lying on the rail when
run over by an engine.

The Coroner returned a finding of accidental death by being run over by an engine on the track.

The funeral of the late John Maher took place on Monday afternoon.

to be continued.....

Kanacki

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2022, 11:55:21 PM »
Question springs to mind the body was found in the tunnel yet later it was claimed he fell off the platform and run over?

He was sitting in the brake-van? Was he flashing cash drunk and robbed by the brake man?

Why was a passenger sitting in the break van to begin with?

Why did the story change pf where his body found was it in the tunnel or was at the station platform?

Why did the severed arm showed no sign of blood. Was the blood in his veins already congealed?

Perhaps he was already dead and in the process of rigor mortise when his body tossed out of train?

Many unanswered questions?

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2022, 11:58:35 PM »
Perhaps the ghost of John Joseph McNamara dead still thinking he was alive trying to get back the money 200 pounds that was a hell of a lot of money in 1912.

Perhaps he is seeking restitution for being murdered?

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2022, 12:06:20 AM »
Here is picture of tunnel look out. For those who cannot see the picture I suggest signing up to this wonderful form and get a unique insight into the folklore of haunted Australia.

And who knows there might even be a place near you?

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2022, 12:15:15 AM »
Incidentally the tunnel these days the tunnel is also haunted by eerie blue lights of glow worms. Do the glow worms still give company to angry ghost of the murdered John Joseph McNamara?

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Re: The Tunnel of Death: Otford :NSW
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2022, 12:27:35 AM »
Do the tunnels of death have other secrets to reveal????

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