Constable

James SANGSTER

YEAR OF DEATH

1893

JURISDICTION

Queensland

DETAILS OF DEATH

On the 4 February 1893 the Brisbane River rose close to the Jackson home. Mrs Jackson delayed leaving the home until it was completely surrounded. Mary the eldest daughter was to remain in the house with a farm worker whilst Mrs Jackson her other daughter 17 year old Katie and the four youngest children rode to shore. After reaching the river bank Katie being an excellent rower and swimmer was to return to the house for the other two. As the boat neared the shore it overturned. Mrs Jackson and one of her daughters scrambled to a nearby tree and were rescued by near by railway workers. In spite of her swimming ability Katie was not strong enough to hold the others and all four drowned. Their bodies were recovered some days later. With waters rising Mary and the farm worker climbed onto the roof. Constable Sangster arrived at the river bank on horse bank but as the waters rose the house was lifted and carried down stream crashing into a huge tree. Both managed to cling to the tree and climb into branches above the water. Sangster galloped back and met a rescue party with a boat he and another man made an attempt to reach the two but the boat was swamped. Sangster reached a sapling as the other man safely swam to shore. Rescue attempts continued but the flimsy tree snapped and Constable Sangster disappeared whilst onlookers were powerless to help. The other two remained in the tree for 22 hours till the waters receded and they were rescued safely. Sangster’s body was never recovered. A monument was built in Ipswich by public subscription in memory of Constable Sangster’s brave actions.

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National Police Memorial Australia

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