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An Accident on the Tauranga Wharf

The Death of James McMORRIN

From the Bay of Plenty Times

James McMorrine suffered an accident on the 23rd of August 1902, the results of which eventually killed him. The following are from reports of the Bay of Plenty Times.

On the 23rd of August, 1902 a serious accident occurred on the Tauranga Town Wharf. A case of iron was left standing on its edge, and fell, as James McMorrine was walking past. The case crushed James' leg below the knee, and he was immediately rushed to the local pharmacy for medical attention.

Unfortunately the local doctor was out attending another patient, and so the pharmacist, Mr Allely, did all he could to ease the suffering of the patient.

Dr Baker took charge on arrival, splinted the leg, and sent James to the Auckland Hospital.

The newspaper report of the 25th August was positive, and reported that Mr McMorrine was doing as well as could be expected. "He bore his injuries with remarkable fortitude".

On the 29th August, the newspaper reported that "Mr J. McMorrine... is progressing favourably."

On the 1st of September, it was reported that "the surgeons of the Auckland Hospital ... decided... that Mr McMorrine must have his injured leg amputated... the operation was performed on Friday night... and a telegram was received that his condition was satisfactory."

On the 5th of September, there was a death notice in the Bay of Plenty Times, for James McMorrin (sic) of Te Puna. He had died five days after the surgeons had amputated his leg. The article follows:

We greatly regret to state that the serious accident which befel Mr McMorrin last Saturday week has led to fatal results, he having died in the Auckland Hospital on Wednesday night. Deceased came to New Zealand, with his family, from Australia about 10 years ago, after having a hard struggle there against the droughts etc. He purchased the cutter Oi and also took up land at Te Puna, on which, after a time, he built a house and settled down with his family. He was known as a straight forward, hard working and genial man, whom to know was to respect, and wide spread sympathy will consequently be felt with his bereaved wife and family in the great sorrow which has so suddenly fallen on them. ... We understand it is the intention of some of the storekeepers on the Strand to close their places of business during the time of the funeral.

The funeral left the Wharf at 10am on Saturday, and most of the Tauranga town's shops were closed for the day. A large procession followed the hearse up the main road to the Presbytarian Cemetery.

James was 63, his wife Anna died 28 years later at the age of 81.

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