On the southern arch of the Victoria Bridge is a plaque in memory of 11-year-old Hector Vasyli.
On the day of his death, Sunday 9 June 1918, Hector Vasyli was one of five boys his own age that were excited to be watching a parade of returned servicemen in a motor convey of about sixty cars.
The parade was greeted by residents of Brisbane who lined the streets to welcome the soldiers home. The convoy left the military hospital at Kangaroo Point (the residence, Yungaba) and weaved their way to Queen Street.
Hector Vasyli and his group of friends were near the southern end of the Victoria Bridge, cheering on the soldiers. The cars were provided and driven by Brisbane residents, keen to show their appreciation and be part of the celebrations.
One of the civilian drivers, Mr W.J. Jackson, was a local produce merchant. As he was driving along, the vehicles ahead of him began to slow and he suddenly swerved his car to avoid a collision. In doing so, he steered his car to the side of the road and struck Hector.
On realising what had happened, he stopped swiftly, but Hector had suffered a skull fracture and a compound fracture to the right arm. Hector was rushed to St. Helen’s hospital on the river side of Peel Street, South Brisbane, but on arrival, there was no medical team who could help. Hector was then taken to the Mater Public Hospital— located on what we now called Mater Hill —at South Brisbane. But it was too late and he died from his injuries.
The bridge plaque was erected by the Returned Sailors and Soldiers Imperial League, Hellenic (Greek) Association and citizens of Brisbane. It was removed when the Victoria Bridge was demolished in 1966 but restored to its original spot on the southern arch of the Victoria Bridge in 1970 and still remains to this day.
Hector’s grave lies in the Toowong cemetery. It is difficult to find with no evident headstone, but see if you can find the patriotic lad.