Written by Helen Harris & Mary Jacobson
We have been researching family history for about five years. We try to collect as much information about people as possible to tell a story about a person, not just the dates of birth and death.
Richard Charles McEwan Dohoney was born on the 26th January 1909 at Hope Valley . He was the last of 9 children born to William and Alice Dohoney. Richard’s mother Alice originally from Burra was 43 years old when she had him. William Dohoney was 46 years of age and was born at Tanunda to Cornelius and Mary Dohoney (nee Murphy), poor Irish immigrants who came to South Australia in 1859 on the ship “ Australia ”. While Cornelius Dohoney spent the last years of his life at Kapunda he travelled all over South Australia looking for work. William came to Hope Valley to be close to his oldest sister Mary who had married Diedrich Heitmann, she was the only child of the family who had been born in Ireland . The records of shipping show the Dohoney’s coming to Australia and can be seen at the Mortlock library. Births and marriage for
William and Alice can be seen on C.D Rom at the Tea Tree Gully Library Local History room. Richard’s birth and death certificates can be viewed also in the Local History Room on micro fiche kept in the green folders labelled BD&M and Houghton Marriage births 1856 –1922 deaths 1855 –1928.
Richard grew up at Hope Valley , we know this because his father William paid Council Rates for a house and land at Hope Valley section 823 which was owned by Thomas Packer. Assessment records— District of Highercombe, list William Dohoney at Hope Valley from 1915 –23 – 1929 – 1931. Electoral roles for the Division of Angus 1905, subdivision of Gumeracha also show William Dohoney living at Hope Valley when he voted. These records can be seen at the Electoral Commission, 1 King William Street Adelaide
Richard Dohoney started school at Hope Valley primary on 21.4.1915. He left school in December 1922, he was over age and had completed grade 6. This information was found at Ardtornish Primary School which holds the records for the Hope Valley School . On Friday 23 February 1923 having just finished school and Christmas holidays, Richard Dohoney while riding his bike was killed on Barracks road, Hope Valley , not far from his Uncle Diedrich’s house. His Death certificate states he was 14 years old,son of William Dohoney and was accidentally killed. Diedrich Heitmann was the informant. Richard was buried at the Hope Valley cemetery, on the 24 February 1923 R.H.V.E.133. The death certificate was authorized by the district registrar B. L. Hill. This certificate was viewed at the Tea Tree Gully Library Local History Room.
Cemetery records can also be found under the heading Golden Grove and Hope Valley Cemetery Records 1863 – 1990. When an accident occurs a coroners report is prepared and an inquest held if necessary. There were statements taken by the Mounted Constable E. L. Bonython, Marjory Grace Benner, Frank Curtis (labourer) William Lancelot Dohoey (brother) William Shannasy – medical practitioner. The coroner concluded an inquest “not necessary”. Three of the statements are as follow.
Marjory Grace Benner, (15 years) residing with her parents at Hope Valley states: – At about 8pm when driving along the Hope Valley Rd, accompanied by my brother I saw the deceased coming towards me riding a bicycle. Neither of us had lights attached to our vehicles. I was driving on the left side of the road. When the deceased was about a chain away from me he put his head down and started to ride very fast. As he came level with me he swerved towards me. I sang out “Look” and at the same moment the deceased collided with the horse which I was driving and which bolted. About a chain up the road I fell out of the vehicle and the horse bolted home and I chased it not knowing that anyone was hurt. I lost my money and came back to look for it and seen the deceased lying on the road apparently dead.
William Bonwill Shannasy, Medical Practitioner, residing at Tea Tree Gully states: – I had an urgent call to Hope Valley Road about 8.10pm on the evening of the 23rd. On arriving there I saw the deceased lying on the road and on examination found life to be extinct. He appeared to have been dead several minutes. I then lifted him to the nearest homestead. His throat was badly cut as if by the shaft of a cart and there were abrasions to the face.
William Lancelot Dohoney, Shearer residing at Hope Valley states: – The deceased is my brother. I last saw him alive at about half past six last Monday morning the 19th inst. He then appeared to be in good health. I next saw him on Friday night a little after 8pm. He then appeared to be dead. He had a hole in side of his neck and his mouth was badly cut.
The Indexes of records of S.A. Series – Adelaide Hospital , Destitute Asylums No 8 Inquest 1877 –1899 relate to inquests held into deaths and fires in South Australia No 9 – period 1900 – 1945. These can also be found in the Local History Room and the inquest documents can be found at the State Record Office at Netley.
After his death Richard’s family placed personal notices in the Adelaide Chronicle newspaper. The Notices index can be viewed in the Local History Room, period – 1921-22 –23. The newspaper can be read at the Mortlock Library which includes notices for births, birthdays, engagements, approaching marriage, anniversaries, deaths, obituaries, in memory and heroes of the Empire or Great War. Return thanks biographies and photographs can be seen.
10th March 1923 – Dohoney – Mr. & Mrs. R Heitmann and family of Hope Valley wish to thank friends and relatives for floral tributes, and especially those that helped at the time of the accident, for their kindness and sympathy.
10th March 1923 – Mr. and Mrs. Dohoney and family of Hope Valley desire to express sincere thanks to all relatives and friends for letters, telegrams floral tributes and personal expressions of sympathy especially thanking Mr. & Mrs. Heitmann Mrs. Hockey and family Mrs. Buder Dr. Shanasy, Messrs Carlssons and Couls and Mrs. Hall in the loss of our youngest son and brother.
A year after his death a memorial message was placed in the paper.
1st March 1924
In memory of our nephew and cousin, little Dick. Killed at Hope Valley on the 23rd February 1923
Christ will join the broken chain
When we meet again
Above the waves of earthly strife
Inserted by Dick Heitmann and family
1st March 1924
In loving memory of Richard Charles McEwin Dohoney, who was accidentally killed on the night of February 23 1923 aged 14 years.
He has gone like a flower
Cut down in its bloom
From the sunshine of life to the shade of the tomb
But death cannot sever the bond of love
Or steal the fond hope we shall meet him above
The midnight stars are shinning upon our dear ones grave
Where sleeping without dreaming
He’s the brother we could not save
In our home you are fondly remembered
Fondest memories cling around your name
True hearts that loved you in life
Dear Dick they still love you in death the same
Ever remembered by his loving Father, Mother, Sister and Brothers
Richard Dohoney was our great Uncle and only lived for 14 years. As time goes by we may even get more information about him. Hopefully we will find a photograph for it is important to put a face to the name. There is certainly a lot of information that can found when doing family history and a lot of it is easily accessed at the Tea Tree Gully Library Local History Room.