Mar 10, 2020
Charles Yelverton O'Connor was best known for developing
Fremantle Harbour and for the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme (often
known simply as the Goldfields Pipeline), it was the latter project
that drove him to despair and to eventually take his own life.
"I feel that my brain is suffering and I am in great fear of what effect all this worry may have upon me — I have lost control of my thoughts."
O'Connor wrote the letter on March 10, 1902, the same day he rode his horse past Fremantle Harbour, south to Robb Jetty, then into the breaking waves of the West Australian coast, where he would take his own life with a single pistol shot.
So what drove one of the greatest engineering minds of the young, emerging Australian nation to take his own life?
Listen to "The Breakdown" here