Strange death link, two years apart: Both were barmaids at the same pub

cyanideTWO barmaids who once pulled beers from the same two pubs in the mid 1890s, tragically took their own lives – two years apart – over broken relationships.

Nellie Willis shot her estranged fiancé, Ernest McFadden in the throat at Auburn, in Sydney’s west, in August 1897 after an argument.

The girl fired two shots at the youth and shouted, “There I’ve done for you now”. Then she darted away up the Auburn Road.

Some young men who were in the vicinity rushed to the aid of McFadden, and it was found that only one shot had grazed his neck. He was carried to a nearby chemist shop, while a messenger was sent for a doctor. His injuries were not serious, and he recovered.

Nellie ran away, and some time afterwards a shot was heard behind Auburn’s Bradford’s Hotel, where she was later found lying in a pool of blood, with a bullet wound to the head.

The shootings were the result of an argument over McFadden reportedly braking off their engagement.

Former barmaid, Elizabeth Allardyce. Picture: Newcastle Herald 1899

Two years later, in 1899, 21-year-old Elizabeth Allardyce drank cyanide after her partner, Tom Miller also suggested the pair go their separate ways. Police believed at the time that Miller found his girlfriend dead with the bottle of poison beside her, and heartbroken, he also took his own life by swallowing the lethal liquid.

Police later discovered a strange twist to the tragic tale. Although both their deaths were unrelated, they had both been barmaids at the same two pubs in Orange, in central west NSW, a few years before taking their own lives.


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