Saturday, May 26, 2012

Harkin, William

death registered 1900/2043 aged 68 years


A most singular case of drowning occurred on Saturday afternoon about half-past three o'clock, the victim being Mr Wm. Harkin (William Harkin), staircase builder, of Prospect Terrace, Ponsonby.

Deceased left his home about half-past two, and it is presumed that as he was in the habit of taking trips in the ferry boats, that he went on board the 3.30 boat for the North Shore. A ticket was found on his body, and his watch had stopped at twenty-five minutes to four.

Shortly after the boat left Constable A. McDonnell saw the body floating near the wharf, and had it conveyed to the morgue, where it was identified by one of deceased's sons. With regard to the way in which deceased came by his death, a man named Wm. McCabe states that when coming up the wharf at the time in question he thought he saw a man fall off the steamer (the Takapuna), but as the boat did not stop he thought he had made a mistake.

Deceased, who was 68 years of age, had resided in Auckland for some 35 years, and leaves a large grown-up family of sons and daughters.

He was an old Crimean veteran, and had been discharged from the army some 35 years ago on account of heart disease.

An inquest was held at Gleeson's Hotel yesterday forenoon by Dr. McArthur (Coroner), and evidence was taken from Miss Harkin, Mr Harkin, jun. (of deceased's family), Wm. McCabe, Constable Luke McDonnell, and Sergeant Murray.

A certificate was put in from Dr. Bedford, who had been attending deceased, to the effect that deceased was suffering from heart disease. No definite light, however, was thrown on his death. The inquest was continued this morning, when William Henry Jenkins, mate of the ferry steamer Takapuna, was examined. He deposed that he was on duty on Saturday last, the 28th April. He was on the steamer on the 3.30 trip from Auckland. It was his duty while the boat was between the two wharves to collect the tickets. He did not begin to collect the tickets on the trip in question until outside the old ferry tee.

There were the usual number of passengers on board. Most of them were on the top deck, and some in the smoking cabin. The Takapuna had what is known as an "ocean deck." Witness did not think that the captain steering from amidships and looking ahead could see a man standing for'ard on the lower deck. It would be possible for a man to fall overboard while sitting on the rail, which was about 3ft high, without the captain seeing. He did not observe anyone in that position in the stern.

Witness' attention was not anything peculiar during the trip. He knew nothing about the accident until yesterday morning. He could not throw any light on the fact that a body was found between the Devonport and Auckland Wharves between 3.30 and 4 p.m. on Saturday.

By a Juryman: If witness noticed a person sitting in a dangerous position he would warn them. The rails of the Takapuna were lower than those on the other boats.

After a short deliberation the jury returned a verdict to the effect that deceased was accidentally drowned, and that no blame was attachable to anybody.
Auckland Star, Volume XXXI, Issue 101, 30 April 1900, Page 3

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