Frederick, the third child of Amandus and Ann, was drowned on 4 February 1922.  This made the news in at least nine newspapers including the Sydney Morning Herald and Brisbane Daily Mail. It occurred at Wongiwomble creek, which is between Karangi and the railway line on the road to Orara.

It is pertinent to all the current warnings regarding crossing swollen waterways.  With all the wet weather this year the road, just past the bridge, gets covered by water although it is not the main channel of the creek.

Most accounts at the time are the same but the item in Bathurst National Advocate includes the fact that his sister Annie and cousin, Mrs W. Dixon a member of the Drew family, were present.

Reading the full account of what happened, as described at the inquest, is all the more harrowing given that his sister and cousin were there and watched the futile rescue attempts.

Later articles describe the awards made to Gavin and Colin Buchanan for their efforts.  Gavin entered the water and had hold of Fred but was not able to get him to the edge.

National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 – 1954), Friday 10 February 1922, page 2


Mr. Fred Hoschke, son of Mr. A. Hoschke, one of the oldest pioneers of the Orara District, was drowned on Saturday at Karangi, near Coff’s Harbor.

Whilst coming to Karangi in his ‘bus to meet his sister, Miss Annie Hoschke, who had been spending a holiday in Bathurst and Dubbo and Mrs. W. Dixon, of Bentinck St Bathurst (cousin of the deceased) he was crossing a creek several hundred yards from his destination, and when about on the bridge, the horses seemed to be lifted off their feet in their endeavour to turn round, the result was that the ‘bus toppled over, and crashed into the stream, swollen by the recent floods.

The body was nowhere to be seen, and it was not until 1 o’clock on Sunday afternoon that it was recovered. The tragedy was witnessed by Miss Hoschke and Mrs. Dixon, who were waiting for him to drive them to the farmers’ home. The deceased, a married man, with a family, is a nephew of Mr. and Mrs. T. Drew, of 221 Bentinck Street, Bathurst.

Trove APA citation  A SAD DROWNING FATALITY (1922, February 10). National Advocate (Bathurst, NSW : 1889 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved November 4, 2022, from

Arthur, Joyce, Frederick, Elsie, Dot (sitting), Clunie and Bill

At the time of the drowning the ages of the children were Elsie 17, Arthur 14, Bill 11, Dot 8 and Joyce 4 so this photo was not all that long beforehand.

Grafton Argus and Clarence River General Advertiser (NSW : 1874 – 1875; 1879 – 1882; 1888; 1892; 1899 – 1922), Saturday 18 February 1922, page 2

Karangi drowning


Mr. A. H. Parkes, P.M., District Coroner, at Coramba, on Thursday, conducted a magisterial enquiry into the circumstances connected with the death, on the 4th instant, of Frederick A. Hoschke.

Sergeant F. J. Pritzler deposed: About 4.30 p.m. on the 4th instant I received a telephone message and could not proceed because of floods. On the morning of the 5th with Constable Forsythe I went to Wangiwamble [Wongiwomble] Creek, Karangi, where there were a number of men engaged in searching the creek for the body of deceased.

At 10 minutes to 1 o’clock Robert McCabe, who was in the creek diving, called out “Here he is.” Several men rushed into the water and brought up the body of deceased from about 5 feet of water. I had the body searched and found the watch and chain, spectacles and case, pipe and whistle produced. I had the body removed to the blacksmith’s shop at Karangi, where I made an examination of it. Beyond the head and face, being discolored, there were no marks on it. The body was clothed and had on a canvas over coat.

When I arrived at the creek I saw the bodies of two dead horses, also a waggonette, which had been removed from the creek just before I arrived. I identified the body of deceased, Frederick Amos [Amandus] Hoschke, farmer, of Upper Orara. I had known him, for about 25 years.

Raymond Jennings, laborer, residing at Brooklana, deposed: About half-past 3 on 4th inst. I was at the crossing of the Creek at Karangi with Mr. Keith Henry. I saw deceased come down in a coach with a pair of horses. The creek was very high. It was in flood and about 2ft. 6in. over the ballast at the crossing. Deceased drove straight into the creek. I said “Is it very deep?” he said “There is a nasty hole at the approach of the bridge, but I think I can get over alright.”

His horses stopped and he tried to urge them forward; but the rush of the water carried the horses and coach round facing the run of the creek. Deceased then tried to release the horses. He got off the vehicle onto the pole between the horses and had them partly released when the coach capsized and carried him with it, under the water. The horses were drowned at once. They did not come to the surface again. Deceased came up and tried to swim to the shore. That would be about 10 yards. He was trying to get his overcoat (a yellow canvas one) off in the water, but could not get it off.

He got within a few yards of the bank and was swept out into the middle of the stream again. The creek was then in flood and was about 40 yards wide there. Then Mr. Gavin Buchanan, who had been standing on the bank, went in after him, and held him up for about 30 or 40 yards. They were both going down the creek. Buchanan had hold of deceased from behind, and had to let go then owing to the force of the water. I saw Buchanan get hold of a tree in the creek there and deceased was swept by him. Deceased said something at that time. He then disappeared in the water, and that was the last I saw of him.

Someone threw a rope to Buchanan, and he was pulled out. Gavin Buchanan, farmer, residing at Karangai [Karangi], deposed to seeing deceased drive into the creek, which was in flood. Witness added: The horses stopped and one began plunging about. I ran down. Mr. Jennings and Mr. Henry were on my side of the creek, and Williams and Colin Buchanan on the other. When I got down deceased was standing on the pole, trying to release the horses. The horses began to plunge and, in consequence, deceased was thrown into the water.

He went under and came up again and tried to take his. overcoat off, but could not. He then tried to swim to the bank. He got to within a few feet of the bank, about 35 yards down. I followed down the bank and was opposite him. He said to me, “If you can, catch me here,” or something like that. I asked Jennings if he would go in, He said “I can’t swim.” It was several feet deep there at the time. I took my coat off and swam in.

By the time I got to deceased he was out about mid-stream. I caught him by the overcoat at the back and tried to make for the bank, but we kept washing down stream. We were both getting exhausted, and I lost hold of deceased. He was a very heavy man, between 14 and 15 stone. When I lost hold of him he went down. He did not speak, that I remember. I caught a snag and a rope was thrown to me, and I was pulled out. While we were going down stream one of the Buchanan boys threw a rope, but it fell short.

Colin Cameron Buchanan, commission agent, residing at Karangi, gave a similar account of the occurrence as the previous witness had done, though slightly different in detail. This witness said deceased got back off the pole onto the footboard of the waggon which went under and left deceased in the water. Gavin Buchanan went in and caught hold of deceased, and both were carried downstream, Witness added: Gavin shouted to me to come in. I could not get into the water at that point owing to the undergrowth, and threw a line out. It became tangled and fell short. I could not get a clear throw. I ran further down to see if I could get in, and caught the line and made upstream to where they were. I went into the water , and tried to swim upstream, but could not owing to the current. Deceased seemed to be collapsing. Gavin Buchanan could not control him and said: “He’s done.” Deceased sank and Gavin had to let go his hold. I did not see deceased come up again. My brother threw a line to Gavin. I went further down the stream to see if deceased came up again, but saw no more of him. I saw the body recovered next day, about 30 yards from where I saw him sink.

The P.M. returned a verdict of accidental drowning, and added that Gavin Buchanan had acted very bravely, and he hoped that his meritorious conduct would be brought under the notice of the proper authorities. Colin Buchanan, added the P.M., also did what he could under the circumstances. Both young men were to be commended for their actions.

APA citation  KARANGI DROWNING (1922, February 18). The Grafton Argus and Clarence River General Advertiser (NSW : 1874 – 1875; 1879 – 1882; 1888; 1892; 1899 – 1922), p. 2. Retrieved November 6, 2022, from

The Royal Shipwreck Relief, and Humane Society of New South Wales has made the following awards for bravery since July, 1921, and these will be presented by Dame Margaret Davidson at the 45th annual meeting on September 4: — Colin Buchanan, of Karangi, via Coff’s Harbor, assisting in endeavoring to save the life of Frederick Hoschke from drowning at Karangi, on February 4, 1922, a bronze medal and certificate of merit. Gavin Buchanan, of Karangi, near Coff’s Harbor, the same rescue, bronze medal and certificate of merit.

Trove APA citation  PERSONAL. (1922, June 22). Daily Examiner (Grafton, NSW : 1915 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved November 10, 2022, from