Tragedy struck the Tuggerah Lakes community on 6th November, 1922 when Ethel MASCORD drowned whilst swimming in Tuggerah Lake at Pipeclay Point. It could have been far worse if not for the efforts of James GASCOIGNE and Edna CRAIGIE who saved the lives of several other children, all pupils at Kanwal Public School. The following year they received an award from the Royal Shipwreck Relief & Humane Society of NSW.
An extract from a 1923 newspaper reads:
Edna M. Craigie (aged 11 years), Dair James Gascoigne (aged 13 years), on the 6th November, 1922, saved the lives of several children who were carried out whilst bathing at Tuggerah Lakes. A party of children, including the rescuers, named Maisie Beldon, Gwen Gascoigne, Beryl Aylward, Edna Playford, Bonnie Craigie, Connie Beldon, Max Playford and Ethel Mascord, were bathing on a shallow flat when a heavy wave washed them into deep water. Edna Craigie, assisted by James Gascoigne, rescued Gwen Gascoigne, sister of the latter. Edna Craigie and James Gascoigne again dived to the assistance of the others and were successful in bringing them all to the shore. In the case of Ethel Mascord, however, who was unconscience when rescued, all efforts to restore her failed.
Mr. W. E. Kirkness, J.P., Coroner, Gosford, at the magisterial inquiry held by him as to the cause of death of Ethel Mascord, added the following rider to his finding:
“I wish to place on record the meritorious conduct of the two children James Gascoigne, aged 13 years, and Edna Craigie, aged 11 years, both of whom repeatedly dived into deep water and rescued four girls from a very perilous position. They showed great bravery, and deserve the thanks of the community.”
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Sources: TROVE; NSW Births, Deaths and Marriages; Play the Game – The History of Kanwal Public School by Greg Tunn, 2011; Dair James Gascoigne’s certificate donated to Wyong District Museum & Historical Society.