William Malan Mayer 'Bill' Tennant

Born:July 12 1904 In:  Irvinebank, West of Atherton, Queensland, Australia
Died:May 15 1937 (at age 32)In:  Townsville, Queensland, Australia


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Immediate family

William John 'Jack' Tennant
His father
Catherine Jane Mary 'Kate' Tennant (born Sheehan)
His mother
Alice Cecilia Margaret Fuller (born Tennant)
His sister
Dorothy Mary Edmunds (born Tennant)
His sister
Kathleen Rose Christensen (born Tennant)
His sister
Doreen Catherine Petersen (born Tennant)
His sister
John Patrick 'Jack' Tennant
His brother
Charles Henry Tennant
His brother
Irene Elizabeth Stephensen (born Tennant)
His sister
James Blayney Tennant
His brother
Joan Jordan (born Tennant)
His sister
Francis Joseph Tennant
His brother


Birth Ref:- 1904/C5413

Marriage Ref:-

Death Ref:-1937/C2366

The Brisbane Courier Monday 26 January 1920

Thallon Memorial Medal.

Of the candidates who entered for the University Junior Examination 57 were the sons and daughters of railway employees and were entitled to compete for the four Thallon Memorial Gold Medals. The following are the successful candidates: Southern Division William A. Hayman, Boys' Grammar School, Ipswich, 1 ; Martin N. Haley, St Joseph's College Nudgee, 2; Mary F. Armstrong, All Hallows' Convent, Brisbane, 3. William Albert Hayman is the son of Mr. A. H.Hayman, machinist Ipswich Workshops. Martin Nelson Haley is the son of Mr. N. N. Haley, lengthsman, Nambour, Mary Evelyn Armstrong is the daughter of Mr. F. Armstrong, an employee of the Signal and Light Engineer's Department. Central and Northern Divisions : William M. M. Tennant, Christian Brothers' Townsville, William Tennant is the son of Mr W. J. Tennant, telegraphist, Townsville, and was successful in obtaining the highest marks in the examination, for the above purposes.

The Brisbane Courier Saturday 1 January 1921




The undermentioned State scholarship holders, who have secured an approved pass in the recent University Senior Public Examination, have been granted an extension scholarship, tenable for a period of one year, as from January 1 : William Malan Mayer Tennant, Mt. Carmel College, Charters Towers

Australian Electoral Rolls 1925 Ref:- 11018, Division of Herbert, Subdivision of Townsville, Queensland Echlin St, West End, clerk

Australian Electoral Rolls 1930 Ref:- 12865, Division of Herbert, Subdivision of Townsville, Queensland The Strand, clerk

Australian Electoral Rolls 1934 Ref:- 13955, Division of Herbert, Subdivision of Townsville, Queensland 67 The Strand, clerk

Australian Electoral Rolls 1936 Ref:- 15024, Division of Herbert, Subdivision of Townsville, Queensland 52 Mitchell St, clerk

Australian Electoral Rolls 1937 Ref:- 15849, Division of Herbert, Subdivision of Townsville, Queensland 52 Mitchell St, clerk

The Cairns Post Thursday 17 June 1926

North Queensland Team.

Arrives in Brisbane,

The following members of the North Queensland team arrived in Brisbane on Wednesday morning: T. Whight (T.), Tracey (Cairns). R. King (T.), J. O'Brien (T.), Rodgers (Cairns), J. O'Brien (T.). J. Bell ( In- nisfail), S. Ryan (Innisfail), L. Lister (T ), Lynch (Cairns), R. Backer (T.), Howden (Cairns), Christensen (Cairns), F. Wilkie. (T.), L, Edwards (T,), Purcell. (T), L. Hansen Innisfail), and Mills Innisfail), W. Tennant (T.) left Townsville on Wednesday night to join the team. Messrs, C. Stone and W. A.. Kirkwood are thé team's managers', and Mr. E. L. ("Nigger") Brown accompanies the team, as coach.

The team commenced training on Wednesday afternoon and will open their tour against the Brisbane thirteen on Saturday next. The personnel of each team as they will play will be published in these columns prior to the games.

The Brisbane Courier Tuesday 24 May 1927




The North . Queensland team to visit Southern-Queensland has been selected as follows:-Backs, H. Tracey (Cairns), J. Glover (Townsville), R. King (Townsville), J, O'Brien (Townsville), J. Lynch (Cairns), D. O'Brien (Townsville), L. Hodges (Townsville), F. Collins (Charters Towers), R. Backer (Townsville), F. Gould (Cairns); forwards, W. Tennant (Townsville), J. Purcell (Townsville), W. Milla (Innisfail), D. M'lntyre (Townsville), F, O'Shea (Ayr), F, Wilkie (Townsville), L. Hansen (Innisfail), C. Christensen (Townsville). J. Cranrey (Townsville), H, Wardie (Eacham).

The team will leave for Brisbane-next Monday

Townsville Daily Bulletin Wednasday 11 March1931


Annual General Meeting. The general meeting of the Townsvllle Rugby League was held on Tuesday night. The Chairman, Mr. R. A. Foley, presided over a large attendance of players and supporters. AFFILIATIONS. The following clubs applied for affiliation, and appointed delegates as West End Atheletes, three grades ; delegates Mr. Franklin and S. Smaile (senior), F. McWilllams (junior) and A. Popham. Mr. R. Btilley represented the junior delegate by proxy. Past Brothers : Three grades ; delegates, J. Farrell and W. Tennant (senior), E. Donnelly (Junior) and J. P. Tennant (minor-junior).

Townsville Daily Bulletin Monday 14 September 1931

FOOTBALL Sunday 13 September 1931 Brothers v Souths

Mines had gone oft Just before this with a. nasty cut on his crown and when Brothers settled down again there was nothing in it Tennant and McCabe who had been working with plenty of understanding all through, between them, notched a nice try shortly after, McCabe taking a well timed delivery from the half to play the ball after he had been tackled and go straight through. Cooper was the unfortunate culprit In the next try. He mishandled a high ball and Horn gathered it in and bolted. With the de fence badly out of position, he gave to Murphy, who sent it to Bill Tennant, for the latter to go down to Seldon's tackle under the posts. As full time approached Brothers were beginning to unfold some beautiful passing work, and another try came when Jack Tennant crossed In the corner after a scrum. Henry put the two points label on each try and the final scores were 18 to S In Brothers' favour.

Died after shark attack in Ross Creek

The Queenslander Thursday 20 May 1937

Shark Fatality.-The tragedy that caused the death of William Malan Mayer Tennant (33), in Ross Creek. Townsville, on Saturday night was one of the most shocking in the list of shark fatalities which have occurred at Townsville. Tennant was swimming across the stream, a distance of about 150 yards, and was within five yards of the city side when he was attacked. Tennant was lifted from the water by the ferryman, and it was seen that his right arm had been severed at the elbow and his left leg at the knee. He was able to gasp only. "A shark has got me," and died before the arrival of the ambulance.

Cairns Post Monday 17 May 1937




While swimming in Ross Creek, in the centre of the town, about 7.45 to-night, William Tennant (33) single, was attacked by a shark, and so frightfully injured that he died in a few minutes. Tennant lived at North Ward, Townsville. It is believed that he had a brother living in Brisbane. Tennant, who was employed by Cummins and Campbell at Townsville, went for a swim in the creek , shortly after 6 o'clock. He was about half way across when a single scream of "shark" was heard. A ferryman named Casey immediately went to his assistance in a rowing boat, but, although he found Tennant almost at once in the blood- stained water, he could do little to help him.Tennant suffered terrible injuries.One arm was torn off, and the flesh was stripped from one leg. He was dead before the ferryman, could reach the bank.


The creek is about 100 yards wide where Tennant was swimming, and is infested with sharks, particularly at this time of the year. There have been several tragedies previously about the same spot, but none for some time. Deceased was a member of an old Townsville family and won the Thallon medal when at school. He was a well known footballer a few years ago, and was a good rake for Past Brothers' team. Two other members of the family have also been members of the same team.

Cairns Post Tuesday 18 May 1937


* *



Baits were set in the swing basin in an endeavor to catch the shark, which is estimated to be between eight and nine feet long. The shark was seen this morning opposite the spot where William Tennant was fatally attacked on Saturday evening. On Friday night a 14ft grey nurse shark was caught near the mouth of Ross Creek. Tennant was a prominent League footballer, and was a member of John Purcell's team which toured the south about 1927.

Barrier Miner (Broken Hill) Monday 17 May 1937

Mauled By Shark; Man's Horrible Death

BRISBANE, Monday. - William Tennant; a young resident of Townsville, had his left arm torn off at the elbow, his right leg at the knee, and his right arm badly gashed by a shark while swimming in Ross Creek, Townsville, on Saturday night. Tennant died in the ambulance on the way to hospital. Tennant's cries for help were heard by people in the hotel on the north side of the creek and, rushing out, théy found him floating about 10 yards from the bank. A ferryman diven to the assistance of the man. Tennant was a well known identity, having played for Queensland Colts in Rugby League matches against New South Wales Colts.

The Mercury (Hobart) Monday 17 May 1937


Bather Attacked By


Arm Torn Off

TOWNSVILLE (Q.), May 16.

While swimming in Ross Creek, in the heart of Townsville, last night, William Tennant (33), unmarried, was attacked by a shark and so severely injured that ho died in a few minutes.Tennant lived at Noth Ward, Townsville He had swum about half-way across the stream 100 yards in width when a scream was heard. A ferryman named Casey rowed out and although he found Tenmnt almost immediately in blood-stained water, he could do very little to help him. Tennant, who had one arm torn off and the flesh stripped from one leg died before the ferry man could reach the bank. Ross Creek is infested with sharks and there have been several tragedies in the same area.

Townsville Daily Bulletin Tuesday 25 May 1937

CORONER'S INQUEST. The Late W. Tennant. An inquiry was held at the Court house before Mr. P. J. Rogers, Deputy Coroner, on Monday afternoon into the circumstances surrounding the death of William Malan Mayer Tennant at Townsville on May 15. Sergeant J. O'Connell (South Townsville) conducted the examination of the witnesses. In evidence, Livingstone Casey, contractor, of Perkins-street, South Townsville. stated that he knew the deceased. On Saturday, May 15, at about 7.30 p.m., he was assisting his son Thomas in the conduct ot the ferry across Ross Creek prepatory to going on a fishing trip. A man and woman called at the ferry to be conveyed across the creek. When approaching the pontoon on the town side of the creek a woman, who was standing on the pontoon, called out that there was a man in the water. Witness noticed the deceased down stream, about five yards from the pontoon—he was swimming towards the pontoon. Witness noticed the whirl of a shark and saw it carry Tennant out into mid-stream, about 20 yards away. Witness then turned the ferry awards Tennant, who, when witness approached, called out that a shark had got him. With the assistance of the two passengers, Tennant was assisted into the boat. He gave a sort ot half groan; his left arm was missing from above the elbow, and the flesh was stripped from above his knee to the thigh. Tennant was bleeding from both wounds. Witness continued, that he then made haste to the pontoon on the South side, where Tennant was at tended by the Ambulance and was then conveyed to hospital. Witness was unaware how Tennant came to be in the creek. He had, seen sharks caught in the creek. Mr. Rogers: Was it dark at the time? Witness: Tennant was in the shadow of the pontoon. Mr. Rogers: did you see him enter the water? Witness: No. Mr. Rogers: Do you know of any person who saw him enter the water? Witness: No. Sergeant O'Connell: Could he have entered the water at the ferry pontoon on the South side? Wltness: No. There were five of us there and one of us would have seen him. Constable H. Limpus, of South Townsville, stated that he knew the deceased. About 7.40 p.m. on May 15 he was on duty in Palmer-street, South Townsville, when he heard that a man bad been attacked by a shark in Ross Creek in the vicinity of the penny ferry. On going to the ferry, he saw the deceased in a boat at the pontoon and he was receiving attention by tbe Ambulance. Witness assisted the bearers in placing Tennant in the Ambulance and accompanied him to the hospital, where Dr. Myers pronounced life extinct. Witness noticed that Tennant's left arm was missing and that the flesh had been torn from the calf of the leg to the thigh. A post mortem examination was subsequently held by Dr. H. J. Taylor, who issued a certificate set ting out the causes of death as (1) cardiac failure; (2) haemmorhage, and (3) shark bite. Witness continued that he had made extensive inquiries in connection with the tragedy and found that there were no suspicious circumstances. He had heard it rumored that Tennant attempted to swim the creek for a wager. He investigated this statement and found that there was no such suggestion; he was satisfied that there was no foundation for the rumor. The witness tendered a statement by James William Lancaster, husband of the licensee of the Hotel Metropole, and a statement by John Fahey, clerk, Mr. Rogers; Have you ascertained if any person was present when Tennant entered the creek? Witness: There was no person pre sent. Mr. Rogers: So that no one oould have prevented him? Witness: No. I have ascertained that he was under the influence of liquor. The inquiry was closed.

Townsville Daily Bulletin Saturday 10 July 1937

Letters of administration in the goods of William Malan Mayer Tennant. Late of Townsville, forwarding manager, who died at Townsville on May 15, 1937, intestate, were granted by the Registrar of the Supreme Court (Mr. J. Shannon) on Friday to William John Tennant of North Ward, Townsville, clerk, father of the deceased. Sworn at realty nil. personalty £1296

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