Closest To Your Birthday

#52 Ancestors 52 Weeks

While there are a number of living relatives who have birthday around and close to the 7th of February, the relative I will be writing about died at the age of 15years 11 months.

Leslie Howard LOADES born on 12th February 1880 at Islington, South Australia. Leslie was the one of six children born to Edward Waller LOADES and Margaret Ann REED. Leslie was the second child born to Edward and Margaret or Mary as she was known. During his childhood his father had gone through bankruptcy and had a stint in jail for larceny. During the early years of Leslie’s life Australia was in a depression and this impacted on all facets of their life. The bankruptcy is just one of the many interruptions to the life of the LOADES family at this time.

horse drawn tram
View looking south along King William Street, with horse drawn trams [1]
By 1896 Leslie had one brother and four sisters. The family were living in Boyle Street, Prospect. After the death of Leslie’s grandfather in 1888, the family had lived at Islington, where his father farmed the land. After his bankruptcy , Edward became a tram driver and moved the family from Islington to Prospect. Living close to his brother John Henry.  He would have been driving one of the horse drawn trams that can be seen in the photo.

river torren 2

In late January 1896 Leslie and his young brother Edward had taken their dogs down to the River Torrens for a swim. No doubt the weather had been hot. A witness from near the rotunda had seen Leslie attempt to entice some dogs into the river when he slipped and went in. Unfortunately, Leslie could not swim and George McPherson McLerine of Waymouth Street was not able to dive into the water and could not into see the body because all the reeds in the river.  It took a while for the body to pulled from the river as the reed beds made the rescue difficult. The inquest held on the 27th January returned a verdict of accidental drowning.

Leslie’s young brother Edward was 6 years old when he accompanied his brother to the River Torrens with the dogs and witnessed the drowning. He could do nothing for his brother as he also could not swim. Edward did run to get help. He also remembered his brother all his life and when his first son was born on 10 June 1921 he named him Lesley Howard LOADES after his brother.

[1] State Library SA B 73223. View looking south along King William Street, with horse drawn trams in the centre of the street, and the […] Exchange Billiard Saloon on the left.

[2] State Library SA B 6657. River Torrens. River Torrens, looking South East. This photograph shows a rower in the river with the Rotunda behind, and the North Terrace buildings visible in the background

2 thoughts on “Closest To Your Birthday

Add yours

  1. Sad tale. I always wonder about the drownings of people who can’t swim, especially in cases like this that are close to shore. Wouldn’t the will to live help you find some way to preserve yourself? It boggles my mind.


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