LIFE CUT SHORT: Horace Neville Bayley was accidently killed when a lorry overturned.
LIFE CUT SHORT: Horace Neville Bayley was accidently killed when a lorry overturned. Samantha Elley

Lorry tragedy cuts young man's life short

IF EVER there was an argument for seat belts in cars, trucks and buses it would be in the case of Horace Neville Bayley.

He was a young man with his whole life ahead of him.

Born in 1914 in Casino to Richard Cromwell Bayley and his wife Josephine Janet of the McAlpine family he was a smart young man who often made the papers for his academic excellence and involvement in fund-raising parties.

Fund-raisers were a huge part of the social fabric of country towns and one such event Horace attended was the Cinderella Dance at the Casino School of Arts.

The paper of the time reported on record crowds attending the dance that was organised by the Parents and Citizens Association to buy a piano for the intermediate high school.

"To compute the attendance at 600 probably would be a moderate estimate,” it wrote.

"The hall was crowded and the space available for dancing decidedly limited.”

At the age of around 12-year-old Horace, dressed as a Spanish brigand, was part of the numerous amounts of children all dressed up in fancy costume.

"...spectacle of scores of children proudly careering around in all manner of fancy costumes, many distinctly charming, others highly amusing,” the paper reported.

So with a well-established upbringing and a life just beginning the tragedy of his young death is amplified.

It seems on a trip back from Stanthorpe, near Tabulam, with a lorry full of fruit, the steering gear, which in a later inquest was found to be defected, failed for driver, banana grower, Zabita Manitta.

Horace was sitting on the back of the lorry on top of a load of fruit.

As the vehicle overturned Horace's skull was fractured and several fruit cases fell on top of him.

The driver suffered severe head and arm injuries.

At the inquest, witness Alfred James Garrett, a fruit dealer, who had been in the cab of the lorry, confirmed Horace had been employed by Mr Gardiner, a fruiterer in Casino to deliver bananas in Tenterfield and buy more fruit and vegetables to bring back from Stanthorpe.

On the return trip Horace had offered his seat up to a lady friend, Ms Tapper and made the fatal decision to ride on the top of the lorry.

Casino District Coroner, Mr A.W. Norton, summarised the situation:

"It seemed very unfortunate that this active and hard working young man should be cut off in his youth, and the court, in common with the general public, extended its sympathy to the bereaved family.”

The coroner ruled the event as an accident.

Horace is buried with his parents, who both joined him in the 1970s, in the Casino memorial cemetery.


  • 'Cinderella dance. Record crowds attend. Function a great succes', The Richmond River Express and Casino Kyogle Advertiser, Friday, August 27, 1926. Page 2.
  • 'Succesful Casino Scholars', Casino and Kyogle Courier and North Coast Advertiser, Saturday, December 19, 1925. Page 5.
  • 'Fatal lorry accident', Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, April 16, 1934. Page 10.
  • 'Life cut short', Northern Star, Monday, April 16, 1934. Page 9.

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