Alison Gooch

Here is a photograph from the archives. I took it in October 1999, before I owned a digital camera and when sometimes I took only one shot of each pavement embellishment I spotted. How I regret that!

This solitary metal plaque is just a few centimetres long (compare its size with the blobs of chewing gum on the asphalt). It’s on the footpath outside a shop in King Street, Newtown, south of the railway station and opposite the high school. At least it used to be there, but it disappeared when the pavement was upgraded some years ago. A number of people have mentioned it to me when they hear I take photos of pavement inscriptions and most know that it commemorated a girl (or woman) who was killed by a car that mounted the footpath.

Recently I tried to find out a bit more of this story. In the Glebe and Inner City News of 19 June and 26 June 1996 I read that Newtown woman Alison Gooch was killed when hit by a car as she walked along the footpath at about 3 am on Sunday 16 June. The car then hit a power pole before plunging through the front of the Direct Image store at 361 King Street. A 25-year-old Bondi man was subsequently charged with dangerous driving causing death and driving under the influence.

In the register of funerals at St Stephens Church, Newtown, it is recorded that a service was held for Alison Joy Gooch of Station Street, Newtown, on 21 June 1996. Alison was 29 years old.

I don’t know who fixed the memorial plaque to the footpath.


  1. Lindsay 19 December 2012

    Rich leonard was responsible for Alisons name plate

  2. megan 19 December 2012

    Thank you for telling me this. I wonder, did the plaque disappear altogether when the Council repaved that stretch of footpath?

  3. Randolph 6 January 2013

    Alison was walking home from a night at the Sandringham Hotel when she was killed. She was one of the great Newtown characters of that era and is still sadly missed. I was in Sydney just today and was shocked to see that the plaque is no longer there.

  4. Seamus Williams 30 August 2013

    I knew Alison Gooch. I worked with her at the (now, sadly defunct) Valhalla Cinema in Glebe between 1992 and 1995 (she started not long after me in ’92 and was still there when I left in ’95). She was a lovely person. She and her boyfriend at the time -he was a musician, I think… sadly, his name escapes me- had opened a café in Newtown which I only visited once or twice, but with which they were doing very well.
    I was shocked when told of her death shortly after it happened. I am heartened to hear (only now, in 2013) that there was a plaque in her memory. Had I known it was there, I would most certainly have visited it. My memories of Alison were of a lovely, caring, vivacious and -above all-incredibly decent human being. What a terrible waste her death was.

  5. megan 9 September 2013

    Thanks, Seamus, for sharing your memories of Alison. What a senseless tragedy.

  6. James McCann 19 June 2020

    I remember Alison when i lived on King St and played at the Sando.
    I recall seeing her around that area , a short girl with wild hair ( if my memory serves me well )
    It was sad that the memorial plaque was removed , i guess time moves on.
    I live in Melbourne now , but i recall Newtown in the 90s as a real youthful , vital community , bars , venues , cafes. It was an exciting time.
    Alisons name has always stuck with me.
    It’s comforting to see other people remember her too.

  7. megan 19 June 2020

    Thanks James. It seems people still remember Alison. I wonder what you’d think of Newtown now. It’s still ‘vibrant’, as they say, but it’s changed.

  8. Mark Bower 16 November 2020

    Every thing changes. There’s a putt putt course where the Sando used to be. I remember having a beer with Gooch at the Bank, during which I asked what we were all doing with our lives. Al looked at me like I was retarded and said “Having fun”.

  9. Julie Coulton (née Langford) 14 February 2021

    I often think of Alison. I knew her in my junior years at school. She lived around the corner from me in Thornleigh as we grew from kindergarten to high school. So,so sad.

  10. Geoff 26 March 2021

    Yes, I remember her too as she grew up in my leafy suburban street in Thornleigh. Was very sad when this happened

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