Eldon and Rose Pink

Eldon Stuart Pink
Rose May Pink (nee Arthur Upjohn)

Drowned at Sea; Body of Rose Pink recovered
25 April 1935

Eldon and Rose Pink with daughter May Pink

Eldon and Rose Pink with daughter May Pink

Eldon Stuart Pink (47), and his wife Rose Pink (41), had just moved into the district three months prior, having worked as farmers in the Wheatbelt region.

In 1917, they were the first to wed in the small town of Baandee, much to the delight of the congregation. They had been renting a cottage in Coogee from John Mackinnon.

Eldon had been in poor health and sought a “sea change” to help him recuperate. A few weeks prior to the tragedy, Eldon had taken out a fisherman’s license. The Pink’s had purchased a 14 foot. 6 in. yacht from a South Fremantle fisherman. It was not uncommon for Rose to accompany her husband on periodic fishing trips.

On Thursday 25 April, at about 7am they set out on one of these fishing trips.

John Tapper, another Fisherman and caretaker of the magazine jetty at Woodman’s Point was the last to see them. He stated he had seen the boat making out towards Carnac Island and that a severe squall came up at around 9am and hid it from view. He began to walk south along the coast to keep a look-out for the boat.

At about 11am the same day, Henry Dalwood of Coogee, was driving cows off the beach, at the rear of a cottage occupied by the caretaker of the Anchorage butchery, when he saw the body of a fully clothed woman floating face downwards in the sea, about 15 feet from the beach at Coogee.

With the help of John Harrison, he dragged the body to shore and notified the Fremantle Police Station. Constable Jacobs conveyed the body to the Fremantle police morgue and a subsequent post-mortem examination showed that death was due to drowning. It was later confirmed to be the body of Mrs. Rose Pink by her cousin, Richard Hatfield of Nedlands. She was buried at Karrakatta cemetery.

The spot where the body was found was only about a half mile north from where the boat had set out. Constable Aylmore patrolled the foreshore on horseback, whilst Fisheries Inspector Brown and Constable Mounter searched out at sea.

Initially, apart from the paddle, found near the woman’s body, and a fishing gaff and fruit case found 400 yards away, no trace of the boat or of Eldon was seen by the search party.

Later however, the boat was found overturned drifting slowly about three-quarters of a mile from the shore near the magazine jetty at Woodman’s Point by a German fisherman, William Gruhlcke. It was about a mile south from where Mrs. Pink had been found. The mainsail was torn to ribbons and the rudder was missing, but otherwise the boat was in sound condition.

The boat was towed to the fish markets jetty and placed in the shed used by the naval depot. It was described as a new boat, less than a year old and a “good, seaworthy craft”.

The undamaged rudder was also later found on the beach near the South Fremantle smelters.

It was the usual procedure among fishermen when a squall came up to put down the sails, and either put out the anchor, or drift ashore. The force of the wind during the squall could be gauged from the fact that an unattended 12-foot boat, moored about 100 yards from the beach, was blown ashore and smashed up.

It was surmised that the occupants had been thrown into the water and Rose had made a desperate effort to swim ashore, but with the weight of her soaked clothes would have drowned.

Eldon was described as a fairly strong swimmer but no trace of him was ever found. The Pink’s left behind three daughters, Muriel May (17), Heather (14) and Joan (10). The eldest daughter had been living with the Hatfield’s in Nedlands. The younger two were with them in Coogee.