The Coombell Railway Smash

A Song by Millie Gorton – Lismore

They replied with a whistle to "Right away"
From the guard in the van behind.
They steamed out of Grafton that fatal day.
A little uneasy in mind;
The driver Gleeson, was steady and strong.
Like Curnow, his fireman mate:
They thought of the line as they steamed along,
And-trusted to luck and to fate.

They rattled on through that pitch-dark night,
Running straight to their unseen doom,
The rails in front they could hardly sight,
The night was of deepest gloom.
Near Coombell, the engine left the lines,
They were hurled to their cruel fate,
They put on the brakes at the very first signs,
But all their good work was too late!

The Driver and Fireman were plunged to death,
But the guard got off unhurt,
He got up and ran, though out of breath,
He rang for help, his mind alert.
A sad scene it was at break of day,
With the trucks and the splintered limber,
Away from the lines the engine lay,
And further along, the tender.

So Curnow has left a sorrowing wife,
And the driver a mother kind,
Traveller, think of the risks in a driver's life,
And keep all his perils in mind,
And think of the guard as you steam along.
The one who sees you are safe,
For with out him the train would all go wrong,
Think of him for his sake.


Millie Gorton was a high school girl when this railway accident occurred at Combeell,1925. The driver, Gleeson, and fireman, Curnow were both killed. The Guard, William (Bill) Barry , was unhurt and remained in the district, but was later involved a similar accident, and lost both his legs.

see 1925 Brisbane Courier report: 'The Casino Railway Smash'

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