The Courier ( Ballarat ) Tuesday January 15, 1957


High powered sports cars should be confined to enclosed race tracks, the District Coroner, Mr.D.J.Duggan, S.M., said yesterday.
He was enquiring into the death of George David Berry, 24, Builder, of 2 Inkerman street, Ballarat.
Berry died at the base hospital on November 11, about two hours after his Austin Healey sports car crashed into a tree on the Ballarat- Maryborough road, at Minersrest.

Mr Duggan found that Berry's death was due to misadventure. There was no doubt that he had been driving at dangerous speed, he said.
Cars of this type being driven through townships at high speed presented a fearsome spectacle of danger.
Young lads driving these cars were a menace to themselves and to their passengers.
Somthing would have to be done, Mr Duggan said. The time would come when a definate speed limit would have to be set on that type of car.

"I readily agree that in proper hands on good roads they can be driven at high speeds safely," he said.
"But something would have to be done-too many valuable lives are being lost."
First Const. R. M. J. O'Halloran, of Learmonth, told the coroner's enquiry that Berry's car had broadsided for 120 feet before it hit the tree.


Beverly Dobbyn, a salesgirl of 14 Eureka street, who was a passenger in another Austin Healey sports car travelling in front of Berry's, said that a long way before the accident she saw the speedometer at 80 mph.
Berry's speed would be about the same as he stayed the same distance behind, but she was not sure of the speed of the car at the time of the accident.
Dobbyn said she heard the scream of brakes and looked round to see Berry's car leaving the road.

When it hit the tree Berry "came flying out" and landed on the ground about nine feet from the car.
The driver of the car in which Dobbyn was travelling, Bernard John Mathews, said he thought Berry approached the corner too fast.


The corner where it left the road was a "slow bend" with a small width of bitumen and a blind turn coming into it.
About 40 mph would be a safe speed to take the bend.
A passenger in Berry's car Marlene Patricia Schepts, tailoress, of 107 Errard street, Ballarat, said that they were returning to Ballarat from Maryborough when the accident happened.

Three other Austin Healey cars were travelling with them. Schepts said that she remembered driving through a town, and did not remember anything else until she woke up in the base hospital five days later.
She had no idea if the car was travelling fast, but on the road to Maryborough Berry said that, because of pot-holes the road was no good for speeding even if he wanted to.
She was not frightened of the speed of the car at any time.