CHAMPION COLUMN | Historical reminders of need for RUOK Day

RUOK? Day last week reminded me that depression, anxiety and related mental disorders are nothing new. While researching Liverpool’s past I’ve been astonished to find so many incidents of suicide and how many of those have been prominent Liverpudlians.

GRAVESTONE: In memory of First Fleeter Nathaniel Lucas.

GRAVESTONE: In memory of First Fleeter Nathaniel Lucas.

Here are just some of the most notable citizens who’ve taken their own lives:

Nathaniel Lucas was a First Fleet convict who’d been sentenced to seven years’ transportation. He became a successful private builder but not long after starting work on Liverpool’s St Luke’s Church in 1818, he was found dead in the water at Prospect Creek.

Lucas had a hostile relationship with colonial architect Francis Greenway during the early building of St Luke’s and it’s said he had problems with alcohol.

Charles Throsby was a surgeon and explorer who built his homestead Glenfield about 1817 on land that’s now at Casula. He was a favourite of Governor Macquarie who bestowed on him extensive land grants and appointed him as a magistrate.

But affected by ongoing legal battles and ill health, he ended his life by shooting himself on April 2, 1828, at just 51.

John Clegg, the innkeeper of the Weavers Arms near Liverpool, in 1825 was sensationally found not guilty of murdering his wife Lucy. A few years later in the early morning darkness of January 13, 1834, he rose out of bed and walked into a water-hole on his property and was later found dead in the water.

John Hatton was a respected boot-maker who had a shop on Macquarie Street. He was an alderman on Liverpool Council and had married Jane Scrivener, the daughter of the mayor of Liverpool who lived across the road.

On November 25, 1895, Hatton disappeared. The whole town spent three days desperately searching for him when his body was finally found in bushland near Brickmakers Creek. Strychnine along with a note cancelling a boot order was found on him.

Louis Haigh, who owned a large wool-scouring business at Moorebank, was also a magistrate and had been mayor of Liverpool in 1880.

He was in financial difficulties and had long suffered from depression. While his family were holidaying overseas in 1890 he hung himself in the stables of his residence Rosebank on Speed Street.

Glen op den Brouw

President, Liverpool & District Historical Society