Different Readings CY O'Connor: Loved and Abandoned

As part of the National Trust WA's Heritage Festival the State Records Office displayed CY O'Connor's suicide note and the Coroner's inquest file at a public Lecture delivered by Prof Martyn Webb and Mike Lefroy on the evening 2 May 2012.
Guest speakers Mike Lefroy and Professor Martyn Webb explored different understandings of this iconic engineer.

Mike Lefroy, a great grandson of C Y O’Connor, explored how different generations of the family have dealt with the tragic saga of his death. Mike looked at the O’Connor legacy; the statues, monuments and personal memories, and asked if family stories can be trusted.

Professor Martyn Webb (author Death of a Hero: the Strange Suicide of Charles Yelverton O’Connor) investigated the short note, written on the morning O’Connor died, used as evidence he was a deranged man. In his address Professor Webb argued the note is meaningless without a close review of how, in the weeks before his death and under parliamentary privilege, O’Connor was made the subject of a royal commission of inquiry, abandoned by those he thought his supporters and pilloried by the press.

The original note and inquest, from 1902, held by the State Records Office of Western Australia, are rarely placed on public view.