Historical information

The Galatea was a British ship built in 1859. In 1866, Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh and the son of Queen Victoria, was given command of the ship. He travelled on it to Australia for a Royal Tour in 1867.
A procession was held in his honour in Bendigo. Later that evening a large model of his ship was drawn down Pall Mall towards the Shamrock Hotel where there was to be a fireworks display. As well as 2 adults, 9 young boys were on the float, taking the part of seamen. About halfway down Pall Mall, a cracker, thrown from the crowd ignited the fireworks that were on the deck of the float, causing explosions and fire. Three boys, John Langton McGrath (aged 7), Sylvester Francis Cahill (aged 9) and Thomas Michael Walters (aged 10) later died from burns received in the explosion. Public subscriptions purchased the memorial that stands over their grave at the Bendigo Cemetery.


50 years since the accidental death of three boys (John Langton McGrath, Sylvester Francis Cahill & Thomas Michael Walters) burned on the model ship "The Galatia" 18 December 2017

Physical description

Newspaper article undated or attributed for the noting the Galatea Tragedy for the death of three young boys on Monday 18th December 1867 - 2017; commemorating 150 years since the death of three young boys all accidentally burned on the model ship "The Galatea" during the visit to Sandhurst by H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh on Wednesday 18th December 1867.