Herbert Henry Dicker died on June 2nd, 1885, just after his second birthday. Now, more than 130 years later, toys are appearing on the little boy’s grave at the Hope Valley Cemetery, in Adelaide’s north-east.
Tea Tree Gully Library community history officer David Brooks said the toys had been mysteriously appearing about once every month for the past eight years. He said the toys — which have included trucks and a teddy bear — made him “happy and sad and curious”.
Herbert was born on April 16th, 1883 to James Dicker and Mary Ann Bowhey. He died after a two days’ illness, according to a death notice in the South Australian Weekly Chronicle, in 1885. Five years later, the family moved from their Ladywood Farm in Modbury, along with their other 10 children in 1890.
With no family in South Australia — other Dickers in Adelaide appear to be unrelated — the boy’s mourner remains a mystery. “My theory is there’s a childcare centre next door and they’re tending the grave, or there’s the argument that the ghost of Herbert is stealing toys,” Mr Brooks joked. Katice Martin, the director of Good Start Early Learning Hope Valley, knew nothing about the grave or the mystery toys.