Bus runs Over Girl. Coroner’s Comment – Greater Care Needed

Canberra, August 29.

After an eleven-year-old schoolgirl, Rao Joyce Holden, had been run over and killed by a Government-owned bus in the grounds of Telopea Park school at Canberra on Friday last, mechanical tests showed that the foot brake of the bus was out of adjustment, and was use- less. At the Inquest, which was held to- day, the Coroner (Mr. J. W. T. Forrest) found that the girl died from injuries accidentally received through being knocked down by the bus. The Coroner added to his finding: “It also appears to me that more caro should be manifested in making the brakes efficient before each bus goes on its journey.”

G«orgo Stephen Sykes, driver of the bus, stated in evidence that he drove tho vehicle from the Government garage to Telopea Park school, a Journey which occupied about five minutes. Ho had no occasion to use the brakes until ho had entered the school grounds, when he was traveling at about four or five miles an hour. The previous day the foot brake had been very severe in its operation, but when he applied it in the school grounds he found that it was ineffective, and it failed to act. He grabbed the hand brake as quickly as possible, and swerved to the left to avoid two boys. The bus then came to a reasonable stop, but not before the near side front wheel had passed over the body of the little girl. Seven or eight little girls had been standing at the edge of, or on, a garden plot at the side of the roadway. He reversed the bus and jumped out, and picked up the body of the little girl. The brakes wore in proper order when he had returned the bus to the garage the previous night.


Constable Perrlman gave evidence that after the accident he tested the brakes with tho foreman mechanic, Mr. McGregor, and found the foot brake was useless. It did not grip at all.

Charles E. Roach, mechanical engineer and transport officer, said that he had examined the brake after the accident, and found that the brake rod was extended too far. The nuts on the rod should have been in a locked position. They were not in a locked position when the returned to the garage after the accident.

Edward Waring, mechanic, gave evidence that he had adjusted the brakes on the morning of the day the accident occurred. He was satisfied that the brakes were in proper order when he finished, and could not account for the foot brake being found out of order after the bus had been driven about two miles to the school.

The Mercury (Hobart), 30 August 1933. Bus involved in this incident was AEC Renown registration CO1.

This page was last updated on 29 August 1933

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