Born: 20-11-1937, Bothwell, Tasmania
Died: 24-10-1939, National Park, Tasmania

 Second born child of Eric and Edith Gossage, brother of Marie and Charles, grandson of Charles and Mabel Marriott (National Park) and May and Roland Gossage (Bothwell).

  The sad death of my brother Lionel occurred when I was only 4 years of age. My memories of him revolve around the day of his death. However, my mother often pointed out the house at Bothwell where he was born and that building is still there today (2002). For many years mum had kept a little pair of Lionel's black leather boots - I last remember seeing them in the late 1960's, she would have kept them for 30 years. For other memories of a child who lived just short of his second birthday, I am most grateful to older relatives for their contributions. It was Hobart Show Day: Grandma, Grandfather and family members were at the Show and our father, was in the midlands bridge-building. I remember my mother was bathing Charles in a tin bath on the kitchen table at Park House and my uncle was there also. An important point is that there were no means of transport available, the phone exchange had closed due to it being a Public Holiday and the nearest doctor was at New Norfolk. As mum, and the others went about their chores, Lionel had wandered off and it would have only been 5 or 6 minutes when everyone started looking for him.

  Across the road from Park House were several open weatherboard garages. In one was an old flat tray truck, with the crank handle protruding from the front. My uncle was the one who spotted this little body hanging on the crank handle. I well remember the jumper he was wearing. It was hand knitted, black and grey fleck, a tight neck with several buttons at the back. His little body was carried and placed on a bed and I can visualise exactly where at Park House this was. There was a great deal of effort to find someone who could open the phone exchange, get a message to a doctor in New Norfolk, contact Grandma and Grandfather at the Hobart Show and dad, somewhere in the midlands of Tasmania. My last recollection is being taken into that bedroom and seeing baby brother Lionel, lying there "asleep". Sixty three years later, whenever I go to Hobart, I visit the Cornelian Bay cemetery, to where my brother's ashes are in a niche in the memorial wall and also to visit Mabel and Charles' graves. Unbeknowns to all around, for half a century my mother and father must have so often have grieved for the loss of their child. With the technology of the 21st Century:  63 years later, these memories will be recorded and this young small life will have a significant part in the annals of history.

                                                                                                                                                             Author: Marie McCulloch OAM  December 2002


Memorial tribute and reminder of the times that were - by Charles Gossage

 It is finally a relief to be able to openly accept the happening after over sixty years of avoiding any references. I occasionally caught my mother secretly playing on the  same piano that had been such a contributing part of the lifestyle of National Park.  She was having private mourning moments playing hymns that would have had special meanings and memories for her. Times tragic and other times of hilarity and laughter. She was particularly sadly pensive when she played alone in these secret moments.

‘Shall we gather at the river” I have memories  of hearing that this was the main hymn played at Lionel’s funeral. A time of mourning the loss of shared kindred pride and the ‘dashing’ of hopeful aspirations. The heart rending loss of an expected involvement in an exceptional family heritage of achievement and self-esteem. The loss of a small child was a most saddening shattering of the most basic of family entitlement to belonging. The loss of an human right to participate can only be shared by those closest relatives of the departed.  I recognise here the private grief that lived on with the family.

 For me, it is now not so much a time to let go, as a time ti be able to let go. I now move on.      Charles Gossage. 2002

   Lionel Gossage Inquest

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