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IN GOD'S ACRE - Sydney street cemetery

Journal by ngairedith

transcribed from IN GOD'S ACRE - SERMONS IN STONES -
... all notes & anything in italics is my addition
An Anniversary Day Soliloquy (by N.J.B.)

Evening Post, 25 January 1919
... At high noon, or eventide, there clings to "God's Acre" in Sydney-street an attraction that surpasses that of all other places in this Empire City of ours. Although at our very doors, few find time to avail themselves of visiting this quiet place save those whose filial duty it is to occasionally pay a fitful homage to the grace of some otherwise long-forgotten relative whose headstone shows that at a distant period one lies there who helped to form the city's history. Surrounded by so much that shows civic advancement since their day, "The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep" within sight and sound of the Quay; yet few there are, seemingly, to do them the honour they so richly deserve

For myself I can always find solace in a visit to that restful spot where sleeps so many an early citizen; and I come away more satisfied with my lot and determined to do as they did; "leave the land better than they found it," and chance whatever falls between.

Good may be found in silent communion with the dead of a time wherein were written, in high honour, the noble traditions of the Homeland as handed down to us of the younger generation.

Removed, doubtless for safer keeping until is raised a more imposing monument in his illustrious memory, one will find, leaning and broken against the southern wall of the quaint mortuary chapel which is now seldom used, a headstone wherein one may learn more about the anniversary of Wellington than the books can tell us.
Hereon is written that beneath the stone rested one whose name should always be associated with that anniversary which Wellington finds so many ways of celebrating to its liking. To save fellow citizens the trouble of seeking it out themselves, word for word, all that is engraved upon a broken headstone is the story:-
Sacred to the Memory of
WILLIAM WAKEFILED
First Principal Agent of the New Zealand Company; Colonel of the First Regiment of Lancers, in the British Auxiliary Force of Spain; Knight of the Tower and Sword of Portugal; Knight of San Fernando; etc. etc.
Colonel Wakefield was the fourth son of Edward Wakefield, Esquire, of Burnham, in the County of Essex, in England.
In the year 1823 he acted as Secretary to the English Minister at Turin
In 1828 he travelled through Austria, Russia and Lapland
From 1832 to 1838 he served with distinction in the English Regiments of Lancers engaged in the Constitutional cause throughout the Civil Wars in Portugal and Spain
In 1839 he led the first body of English Colonists to the shores of New Zealand
From this period, unto his death, Colonel Wakefield conducted the affairs of the New Zealand Company throughout their difficult and varying relations with the Government, the Settlers and the Natives, with eminent temper, moderation and prudence; with great sagacity, judgment and ability.
In private life he was esteemed for urbanity of manners and kindliness of disposition. He was hospitable, liberal and unassuming. His hand was ever open to assist the poorer Colonists; in the evil days of the infancy of the settlement; generously, but judiciously; without ostentation, as without indifference.
He died at Wellington on the 19th of September 1848, in the 48th year of his age; and was followed to the grave by a large body of the Settlers and of Natives from all the surrounding districts. Whatever mound, hereabouts, is sacred to the memory of so distinguished a solder, statesman and coloniser, must be left to a future monument to mark.
NOTE William Wakefield (1801-1848), brother of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, was one of the founders of Wellington. In 1826, he married Emily Sidney, a daughter of Sir John Sidney but the year prior, after becoming betrothed to Emily, and before they could be married, Wakefield became involved with his brother in the abduction of a wealthy heiress and both brothers were arrested. Then, while out on bail, Wakefield absconded to Paris, apparently to meet up with Emily who by now was three months pregnant ... (good story)

Meanwhile, there are many persons of humbler renown whose headstones bear ample testimony to the spot whereunto kindly hands have borne them

In like manner and doubtless for a similar reason, have been removed to the mortuary chapel several other headstone, including that of
GEORGE C. ELIOTT-LOCKHART
"Much loved and deeply mourned"
Lieut. R.N. (second son of Major William Eliott-Lockhart, Madras Army), who died from exposure near Mataikuna (Mataikona, near Castlepoint), 4th September 1871; aged 30 (BDM has aged 27)
Evening Post, 15 September 1871 The Wairarapa Mercury gives fuller particulars of the death from exhaustion of Mr G. Eliott-Lockhart than published here before. It says:- On Friday last the body of a man who was identified as G. Eliott-Lockhart, was found by Mr McLean, the overseer of the Mataikuna station, about 300 yards from the old ford of the river. From the information we have received, it appears that the deceased, who was an officer of her Majesty's Navy on half-pay, and very well conducted, left Castle Point in the Glimpse on 20th August, and sent to Flat Point where he landed and rode to Castle Point. He then proceeded, on Tuesday, on his way on foot to the Mataikuna station, carrying with him a few articles for Mr McLean. He was seen on the following day by some Maori who were looking for their horses and on Friday he was found dead, lying on his back with his satchel as a pillow. Two cheques of £2 and £1 respectively, with 12s in silver, were found on him. R. Maunsell, Esq., J.P., went on Saturday, to hold an inquest upon the body, the result of which we have not yet learnt. The weather was very bad on the coast at the time, snowing and raining alternately and there is but little doubt that he died from sheer exhaustion
NOTE while a number of references can be found on Mataikuna & Mataikuni in Papers Past, it is now commonly spelt Mataikona

Likewise that erected to the memory of
WILLIAM MINIFIE (*see photo)
A Royal Marine, who fell whilst gallantly engaged in the attack on the Rebel Chief Kawhiti, at Ruapekapera Pah, on the 11th of January 1846

Also that erected by Lieut. Page and surviving comrades of the 58th Regiment to the memory of SERGEANT INGRAM (Lance-Sergeant Edward Ingram) and other Regimental Comrades, who fell on the morning of the 16th of May 1846, whilst gallantly defending their post, at the Hutt, against a desperate attack made on it by the Rebel Natives
NOTE the major attack on a defended position, Boulcott's Farm

Then there is that erected by members of His Majesty's ship Calliope to the memory of several comrades in 1846-7 who were fated to leave their bones to moulder in the only burial ground Wellington knew in days far back, when Karori was a bush-clad wilderness (*see photo)

All interested in seeing ample memorial justice done to the memory of those who fell in battle in the great war of 1914-18 should surely draw the attention of the authorities to the fact that such old-time worthies are equally deserving of a more fitting and permanent memorial than within a place to which so few have entry

Among the sad and yet beautiful tributes to the memory of childhood, is that of a stately monument whose mute appeal is made unto the East, from whence came those beautiful passages of Scripture, "Suffer the little children," etc.; and "In thy Father's House are many mansions; if it were not so I would habe told you. I so to prepare a place for you."

Who can read unmoved, the story of three little boys stricken down by an epidemic and stand tearless and read:
Thou that art gathering from they children's smiles
Thy thousand hopes; rejoicing to behold
All the heart's depths before thee bright with truth
All the young mind's treasures silently unfold
Look on this tomb! For thee, too, speaks the grave
Where God has sealed the fount of love he gave

Then there is the story of an even remoter household catastrophe wherein, so far back as October 1855, was lost to a Colonel Gold of the 65th Regiment, and his beloved wife, two little girls whose memory is recorded in simpler fashion; visualising the words of Longfellow:-
There is a Reaper whose name is Death
And with his sickle keen
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath
And the flowers that grow between
NOTE these were 2 of the 15 children of Charles Emilius Gold 1809-1871), later General Gold, & his wife Eleanor Felicia Askin Geddes Charles was also an artist

Then, time permitting, gaze upon a small green mound above which, in the leafy boughs near-by, sings the thrush, then a new bird in a strange land. Here was laid to rest with gentle care a little maid of five whose mother - as she folded those fragile arms of her dead darling across the cold breast as if in prayer - so long ago as "sixty-five" doubtless counted the long years between the Then and Now of a meeting in Paradise. How many sympathisers she will have among present-day mothers similarly plunged into deep sorrow at the loss of dear ones, both on land and sea, as a result of war and a visitation of sickness such as we have never known before!

Those who are content to sit in solitude and gaze out upon the placid waters of Port Nicholson may hereabouts seat themselves before the memorial to a citizen of past good report, and meditate upon the panoramic beauty of the distant Rimutakas - snow-capped for most parts of the year - speculating as to why the not far-distant Petone foreshore was forsaken by the early immigrants - after naming it "Britannia" - and the wind-swept Thorndon-esplanade (the Pipitea Point) chosen in its stead.
Rides at anchor in the roadstead a ship of stout timbers, equal to any which traversed the ocean in the "forties" awaiting wind and tide, of which bygone skippers and crews knew so well how to make use when 'outward bound'

The last remembrance of all is the moss-grown mausoleum of one who had not reached middle life, daughter of a Captain of the 11th Regiment and wife of a Surgeon of the 65th; whose manly grief even the moss-grown tomb bears mute testimony to in words of his own choosing:
"The loving and devoted wife" etc,; recalling to mind the poem of Meng Hao-jan (written A.D. 689-740) from "A Lute of Jade":-
NOTE Meng Hao-jan (also transliterated as Meng Haoran) was a celebrated poet of the Tang dynasty of China
I open wide my casement
To breathe the rain-cooled air,
And mingle with the moonlight
The dark waves of my hair

I fain would take the zither,
By some stray fancy led;
But there are none to hear me,
And who can charm the dead?

So all my day-dreams follow
The bird that leaves the nest;
And in the night I gather
The lost one to my breast

Behind, one clatters the gate of this beautiful "garden of sleep" as though warning "a friend" that harshness of city sounds and clanging of tramway bells and the roar of traffic generally lie at the foot of Mee's Steps, Lambton-quay, for him who can desert so safe a retreat from the perils of 'hustling' Time


PHOTO
HMS Calliope NZ Wars memorial
Bolton Street Memorial Park, central Wellington
(go to link for the story of the following)
* Royal Marine William Minifie
* Leading Seaman William Roberts
* Pursers Steward Henry May
* Seaman John Clatworthy
* Boy 2nd Class Thomas Jones
* Private Thomas Tuite of the 99th Regiment
This memorial was erected by their Surviving Shipmates as a token of their respect. It is thought to be purely commemorative none of the men are believed to be buried at the Bolton Street site, although the last resting places of Minifie and Clatworthy are currently unknown

by ngairedith Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2013-07-08 19:47:03

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