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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Taphophile Tragics - Far From Home

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.

Angel monument to Andrew Neville Chirnside who died on 17th May 1901 aged 12 years. All Saints Maidenhead Cemetery, All saints Avenue, Maidenhead Berkshire.

Andrew Neville Chirnside was born in 1889 in Werribee, Victoria, Australia to Robert Chirnside and Alice Belinda Chirnside nee Hodges. His father Robert was a member of one of the leading families of landowners in Australasia in the 1880's and by all accounts -

"A man of kindly heart and generous disposition, keenly interested in pastoral management and everything connected with country life, and taking a pride in having everything of the best around him."

Robert Chirnside passed away on 4th January 1900 after a three year illness which had started with a bad cold, eventually leading to trouble with the lungs. He left behind his widow Alice and five children, three sons and two daughters.

It was on 17th May 1901 during a trip back to England with his mother Alice, that Andrew was tragically struck by peritonitis which quickly proved to be fatal.

An article in The Adelaide Register records -

"The passengers by The Australia have been greatly shocked at the death of Andrew Neville Chirnside, 12 yr old son of the late Mr Robert Chirnside of Carranballac, Victoria, which took place on the passage between Plymouth and London on 17 May. Until reaching the later stage of the voyage the lad was in the full flush of youthful vigour but a seizure of peritonitis quickly proved fatal."

I wonder how poor Mrs Chirnside must have felt losing her young son so soon after losing her beloved husband. How terrible it must have been for her to have to bury her child so far from home and then return to the other side of the world.


  1. A tragic story indeed that rings with pain! And Chirnside is such a well known suburban name in Melbourne!

  2. Hi there - interesting image and story.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

  3. One cannot imagine the pain she must have gone through - the voyage alone could not have been all that enjoyable to begin with.

  4. How terrible - for the husband to have lingered for so long and the son to have died within days of becoming ill.

  5. What a sad story but probably not that uncommon in those days.

  6. That is a tragic story for sure...it must have been life changing to lose so much in such a short period of time...thank you for your research!!

  7. They certainly don't make gravestones like this anymore, do they?

  8. Isn't blogging a wonderful pastime. There is so much we can research, link to the real world and share with each other. That someone from the UK can so easily link with a prominetn Australian family with a member buried in her local cemetery, I find remarkable.

    I agree that statues of angels and even more elaborate figures not longer adorn modern areas of any cemetery that I have seen thus far in Australia. Although, there are many many statues (some angelic, others less so) in Wavreley Cemetery where I dallied this week.

    Thank you so much for your contribution this wee, Herding. Loved it.

  9. this caught my eye whilst I was here for the gallery, interesting

  10. but i like the angels! wish they would make more of them..

  11. Sad story, but a lovely angel. But it does make me think of the Dr. Who episode, "Blink".


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