THE TOOWOOMBA ACCIDENT.
Just before 6 on Tuesday night a frightful accident occurred in the fire bell turret at Toowoomba. A volume of smoke was seen issuing from a stable at the rear of the Bank of New South Wales, and a man named John Williams, aged about 30 years, rushed to the turret to give the alarm, by ringing the fire bell. The bell is the largest in the town, and weighs about half a ton. It was supported by a wrought iron bolt, running through the dome of the bell and to which was affixed the clapper. The iron bolt ran through a beam, and was bolted on the top. A ladder stood in the turret, giving access to the top of the bell. Williams stood by the side of this ladder to pull the rope. He had given but three pulls when down came the bell, first of all striking on the side of the ladder and then bounding on to William's chest, knocking him backwards against the turret fence. The bell must then have turned over and come with its full weight on the unfortunate fellow's right leg between the knee joint and the ankle. The weight of the bell and the force of the fall were such as to force the impaled limb through the floor of the turret. Several bystanders saw the bell fall, and amongst the first to run to the rescue were Mr Filshie, the superintendent of the Fire Brigade, Ser- geant Kidney, and Mr. Alford, the manager of the Bank of New South Wales. A sickening sight met the gaze of those first up the turret ladder. Williams was forced back with his head against the fence. The back of his head was damaged by its collision with the woodwork, blood was oozing from his nose and from a slight wound in the neck, and his foot and boot were visible through a hole in the floor, whilst the other portion of his leg was forced through the aperture made by the fall of the bell. He remained in a dazed condition but a few moments, and then, with the greatest fortitude, submitted to the painful operation of extrication from his agonising imprisonment. Dr. Flood fortu- nately happened to be in the assembly rooms, and he speedily examined Williams, gave instructions for his removal to the hospital, and immediately rode to the institution to make ready the operating - room for the patient's reception. Williams was roped round the body, placed in a clothes basket filled with straw, and lowered from the turret to the foot of the ladder, where the stretcher kept at the railway station was in waiting. When descending from the turret Williams was perfectly conscious, and grasped each rung of the ladder to steady himself as he lay in the basket. When placed upon the stretcher, the lower part of the injured leg had to be lifted separately to save its falling off. Excruciating as the pain must have been Williams bore it even cheerfully, and point- ing to his chest said "I have had a bad smash, but feel the pain worst here." Willing hands carried the stretcher to the hospital, and with out loss of time the damaged limb was ampu- tated by Drs. Flood and Sheaf. Further medical examination showed a scalp wound caused by falling, and a facial wound and severe internal injuries had been sustained. The sufferer passed as good a night as could be expected, but on Wednesday he was extremely prostrated, and doubts are entertained of his
An examination of the bolt on which the bell was hung at once explained the cause of the accident. The bolt itself was about 1 in. in diameter. There must have been a crack or flaw in the iron about 2in. above the neck of the bolt, for the bolt was yellow with rust for fully seven-eighths of its diameter. The sus- taining power of the bell could not have been equal to the strength of an ordinary piece of fence wire. These facts need no comment. Gross carelessness lies at somebody's door, and the strictest inquiry should be given to sheet it home to the right quarter.
Nominations for the Sheffield Handicap and trophies to be run at the Kedron Bark sports will close on the 17th instant.
The Néo Caledonien, as quoted by the Mel- bourne Argus, states that the Guichen will shortly proceed to the New Hebrides with the head of the Catholic mission in New Cale- donia, who goes to prepare the way for his reverend brethren already on their way thither from Europe. "The Marists," we are told, "will re-possess themselves of that portion of the apostolic vicariat which fevers, death, and the malice of the natives and of their pretended civilisers, the Anglo-Protestants, compelled them to abandon after repeated trials. The journey of Monseigneur the Vicar Apostolic to France and Rome was undertaken for the purpose, among many othors of high impor- tance, of reopening that country to Christian and French civilisation. It is our religion, that which mukes France itself, which will complete the French occupation, and will combat the rival influence too long rooted in these islands. That which was wanting in the gallant enterprise of M. Higginson and of the Society of the New Hebrides to make a truly patriotic work of it, our troops are effecting at this moment at Port Havannah and Port Sandwich. The mission will crown the undertaking, and cement it in the hearts of the aborigines themselves. The prepara- tions for this expedition have been making without any fuss, but maturely and seriously, for some years past. The Society of Mary has never lost sight of that soil watered by the blood of its first apostles ; but it had to yield to the neccesity of the times, and to await the hour of God, without over missing an opportunity of preparing and assuring the success of an enter- prise which became day by day more difficult. That hour seems to have at length arrived, and we welcome it with all our faith and with all our patriotism". The Neo Calédonien com- plains that the Dupleix on her last voyage from Sydney brought only 100 tons of mer- chandise, whereas the Fijian brought 250 tons, and asks why Frenchmen do not patronise the
vessel flying their own flag instead of giving freight to an Anglo-Australian rival.