On Sunday evening, April 4, about 9 o'clock, an accident happened to a private in the 14th Regiment named James Slaven. He was coming from North Adelaide, and desired to cross the Torrens, in order to reach the Barracks, when, the night being dark, he fell over the bank into the Death-Hole. He was lying in the water for a short time before he managed to crawl to a dry place, and then lay there for about two hours, when be heard a person passing, whom he called for assistance. The man, who had a lantern in his hand, came to see what was the matter, and then left to procure assistance. A ladder was let down the embankment, and a person descended and tied a rope round the soldier, so that he was hoisted up to the bank. The poor fellow was at once taken to the Hospital, where be arrived between 11 and 12 o'clock. Slaven complains of pain in the back and the left ankle, but the House Surgeon is at present unable to certify as to the injuries received. This accident, like the numerous preceding fatal ones, calls loudly for immediate steps being taken to render this fearful spot safe. It is hoped that the Coroner's remarks at the last inquest and the rider of the Jury will have their desired effect.
Evening Journal (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), April 5, 1869.
...These swimming holes, however, fell into insignificance by comparison with the notoriously treacherous Death Hole at the rear of Botanic Park, about 150 yards west of Hackney Bridge. First called by this name about 1868, it was 20 yards long and ten feet deep with almost perpendicular banks and it was the site of many drownings, mainly of boys. The site was also dangerous for those not swimming. One night in April 1869 a James Slaven fell off the bank and lay injured in a shallow area, his cries for help finally alerting a passing pedestrian with a lamp, who organised a rescue party and hauled Slaven out by placing a long ladder down the high embankment and then tying a rope round him to hoist him towards the ladder.
The Adeliade Parklands: A Social History
Patricia Sumerling, Wakefield Press, Kent Town, South Australia, Australia, 2011.