Updated: Nov 29, 2021
A Twilight Walk Among Penwortham’s Gravestones By Meredith McInnis
The Mt Horrocks Historical Society held a successful event entitled ‘A Twilight Walk
among Penwortham’s Gravestones’ on Saturday 22nd of May.
After a brief introduction about the establishment of Penwortham, tour leader and Society member Mal Paterson led participants into the historic church which was opened in 1851.
They were able to view and take in the ambience of the beautiful old building.
They were then guided up to the first section of the Cemetery. Here they heard the stories of the Duncan family and Dr Sokolowsky, who rode his horse around the district in the 1840s tending to the sick.
Then it was on to the small Methodist section, before arriving at the General Section.
Here the tales continued, including the account of Corporal Coles, who accompanied
Eyre on part of his journey to discover a route to the West of the country in 1840.
Coles lost fingers from his hand when gunpowder exploded while he was loading a cannon.
A dentist surgeon devised an artificial hand out of ivory and bone for Coles which he used for the rest of his life.
Sad accounts of tragic deaths involving children had the audience spellbound.
Another addition to the tour was the little-known report of the maniac Fry who murdered his wife near Balaclava.
The tour continued with the well-known story of the founder of Penwortham John Ainsworth Horrocks, who was accidently shot near Lake Dutton north of Port Augusta when the camel he was leaning on lurched while he was reloading his gun.
Horrocks subsequently died of his wounds after arriving back at Penwortham in September 1846.
The notorious camel Harry, incidentally the first camel in Australia, was then shot on the orders of Horrocks and this story was told by local identity Leo Faulkner.
Amateur actors from the Society and the local area played the parts of the people interred in the graves and told their stories in an appropriate and respectful manner.
The event concluded at the John Horrocks Cottage where the stories continued with a swashbuckling tale of the notorious pirate, swindler and bigamist ‘Bully’ Hayes, told by Society member Janet Morran.
A glass of local wine accompanied by a cheese platter was enjoyed around a warm campfire.