Scott’s Store Explosion

The story of the Scott’s store explosion is a great example of how disaster can strike at any time.  Scott’s store was situated in lower Mary Street, Gympie (14-16 Mary Street).

The Store of W. Scott, Mary Street, Gympie

Read the original reporting in the Gympie Times of this tragic incident that occurred around 5am on Friday morning of 17 August 1877…

Mary Street Fire, 1877

The Gympie Times, published 18 August 1877

Sadly, you will have read that young John Stuckey, aged 16 years died from injuries sustained in the second explosion. He was the son of fruiterer George Stuckey*. Their store and residence was in Central Mary Street.

The Death Notice of John Peter STUCKEY:

The Gympie Times, 22 August 1877, page 3

John Peter Stuckey was laid to rest at the Tozer Park Road Cemetery on 19 August 1877.

August 1877, Register of Interments, Gympie Cemetery Reserve R361 (Tozer Park Road Cemetery)

Storing explosives at back of shops in Mary Street was an issue for some time, even with a designated powder magazine in 1868 (originally situated on a hill opposite Commissioner Hill which at that stage was “out of town”). Commissioner Hill is the ridge along Channon Street where the old and current police stations and court houses sit upon just in front of the Gympie Hospital.

The government decided to charge shop keepers to put their explosives into the powder store. Consequently, many did not store the material there and still kept a store at their shops.  There were also issues with storing the detonators with the explosives which actually made the powder magazine dangerous. These problems were addressed in 1878 and it was decided not to charge for the storage. In 1887, it was moved further out of town to Rifle Range Road which would have been considered well out of town at that stage.  It was eventually moved out to Traveston in 1898 and still exists as part of the Traveston Hall.  James Nash became the caretaker of this facility and remained there until his death in 1913.

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*George Stuckey, father of John Stuckey was a Fruiterer in Central Mary Street. He also later became the Manager at the Gympie Branch of the Wide Bay and Burnett Farmers Cooperative Co. Ltd. Circa 1885, George opened the Kanyan Hotel at Kilkivan Junction (Kilkivan railway junction, now Theebine) whilst also farming in the district and breeding fine horses.

The Gympie Times, 30 December 1871, advertisement