John Cantwell, a well known Freshwater Creek farmer aged 56, did not get out of bed until noon on Sunday 31 December 1916. As he rose he knocked over a gun standing in the corner which was loaded. It exploded ripping open his chest and jugular vein. On hearing the gunshot his family rushed in and found him lying on the floor, bleeding profusely. He told his family it was an accident. He had never threatened to take his life. On the previous morning he had gone out with his gun to bring his horse in, anticipating shooting a hare. He had one cartridge and it jammed in the weapon, a double barrel breech loading gun. He brought the gun in and left it in that position.
When Dr Moreton arrived at about 2:30 he also told him it was an accident. Dr Moreton dressed his wounds and recommended he go to Geelong Hospital by ambulance but by the time the vehicle arrived at 5:30 he had died.
He was buried in the Catholic section of the Geelong Eastern Cemetery with Catherine and John Powell.
He left an estate of £845/10/- to his wife Alice. He owned parts of allotments E, F and G in section 42 of the parish of Duneed. This land is south of Dickins Road and the creek and between Anglesea and Ghazeepore Roads. He also owned allotment 42C in the Parish of Paraparap.
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