Charles and Mary Senior took over the running of the Alphington Hotel from 19 June 1911. On the 14th August 1912 Mary Senior received a letter in the mail from her husband stating that he intended to
“jump off the Port Melbourne pier.”
Somewhat surprised and alarmed by this missive she immediately contacted the police.
The police responded quickly and were soon at Port Melbourne pier. Once there they discovered a felt hat left at the end of the pier and a note tucked in lifebuoy.
“Have taken a bottle of chlorodyne and feel the good of it.
Sorry I didn’t get it last week. Might have steadied my
nerves instead of the whisky: 10.30 still going strong.
If I’d had this before might have weathered the storm.
Am anxious to see how this dose works out.
10.45. Most extraordinary. Waiting for the chlorodyne
to do its work, but feel splendid on it. Why did I not
try it before? One dose at 10 pm. 12.15
chlorodine a fraud, no effect; anxious, awful,
- take to water.
Senior’s body was recovered on 1 September. He had tied his shoelaces together before jumping off the pier. Prior to his suicide Senior had had difficulties sleeping and had been self prescribing whisky as a sleeping draught.
The suicide of Senior was not an uncommon fate for publicans. The Argus newspaper is littered with stories of their tragic self inflicted deaths. Frequently alcohol appears to have played a significant part in their decision to end their lives.
For Senior the Inquest determined that death was due to suicide during a fit of depression.