The Mackenzie District Council cemeteries database is online: Albury, Burkes Pass, Fairlie and Twizel Cemeteries. Pre 1884 people from Fairlie Creek were buried at Burkes Pass.
Mackenzie District Council, PO Box 52, Fairlie
Offer a service for looking up burial enquiries. Albury, Burkes Pass, Fairlie and Twizel Cemeteries
Phone (03) 685-8514 country code for NZ 64 Fax (03) 685-8533 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
They accept these enquiries via telephone, email, walk ins off the street, and fax. They always endeavour to deal with these enquiries the same day. The database is current. The Council do not charge any fees for looking up cemetery records. Probably get 15 enquiries a year. They have all 4 Mackenzie District cemeteries on our database i.e. Albury, Burkes Pass, Fairlie and Twizel. We have 2025 burials listed on our database for the 4 cemeteries. Approx 1200 of these are for Fairlie Cemetery, and 200 Twizel, and approx 300 each for Albury and Burkes Pass. There is a fair percentage of plots in the older parts of the Albury, Burkes Pass and Fairlie Cemeteries which do not have headstones anymore (due to deterioration, damage and possibly vandalism?) so there are a few unmarked grave sites. Ross
There is a story that in the early 1930s there was a fire in the building where all the burial records were kept for Albury, Burkes Pass and Fairlie Cemeteries which totally destroyed all these records. They appear to have reasonably complete records prior to approx 1930 and then there is a very hazy vague period until approximately 1938 during which time there are hardly any burials recorded. After 1938 there are the "usual" number of burials recorded. It can be very disappointing having to explain to families who are searching for burials in that eight year time frame that yes, their relative is quite possibly buried in the cemetery but without the records pinpointing exactly the date of burial or the plot location, it is very difficult to locate the grave. The earliest burial on record for Fairlie Cemetery is Helen Hall, who was buried on 19 July 1886. We do not have any concerns about the Fairlie Cemetery running out of space in the near future. We only average about 25-30 burials a year (ashes and full burials included) in the Fairlie Cemetery and do not consider that we will run out of room before the year 2030 at least.
Record No: 1109
Family Name: HALL
Age: 3 years
Given Names: Helen
Address: Interment Date: 19/07/1886
Clergyman: A H McLean
Next of Kin William & Helen HALL
Record No. 1104 HENNESSY Ellen
Age: 27 years
Interment Date: 28/09/1884
Next of Kin John HENNESSY (Husband)
Evening Post, 27 September 1884, Page 2
Determined Suicide by a Woman. Timaru, 27th September. The wife of a farmer named Hennessy, at Fairlie Creek, committed suicide this morning by cutting her throat from ear to ear with a razor. No cause is assigned. She was 25 years of age, and had no children.
Timaru Herald, 27 September 1884, Page 3 From other sources we learn that Hennessy's farm lies down the Gorge toad, about a mile from the township, and that he and his wife had occupied it for five or six years. Both are described as steady and industrious people, and their neighbors are utterly at a loss to explain the suicide of the wife. Mrs Hennesay managed a small dairy, and after getting breakfast yesterday morning she milked the cows and set the milk away as usual. After breakfast her husband and the man mentioned by our correspondent, whose name, we are told, if Patrick McEvoy, went out to cart some straw to the byre. On their return the husband went to the home, and entering the bedroom to seek his wife was horrified to find her dying, in a pool of blood. The razor she had used was identified by McEvoy as hip, and he found that the had turned his bag oat to obtain it.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 27 September 1884, Page 2 DETERMINED SUICIDE.
Timaru, September 27. The wife of a farmer, named Hennessey, at Fairlie creek, committed suicide by cutting her throat; from ear to ear with a razor. No cause is assigned. She was twenty five years of age, and had no children. [note extra e in surname]
Record No: 1110
Family Name: RICHMOND
Given Names: Agnes Christain
Interment Date: 21/12/1886
Clergyman: A H McLean
Next of Kin John & Annie RICHMOND
North Otago Times, 21 December 1886, Page 2
Timaru. December 20. A little girl named Richmond, two and a half years old, was drowned on Sunday evening at Silverstream, Fairlie Creek. She got into the race at Rooney's wool scouring works, and was carried under the shed. The child was in the water for 15 minutes. Daughter of Mr and Mrs J. Richmond.
Record No: 1117
Family Name: ELDER
Age: 46 years
Given Names: MURDOCH
Address: Interment Date: 1/04/1887
Occupation: Highland Piper
Clergyman: A H McLean
Hawera & Normanby Star, 31 March 1887, Page 2
Timaru, March 31. Murdoch Elder was picked up yesterday on the road near Fairlie Creek, and died soon after. It is supposed that he fell from his horse.
Record No: 0701
Family Name: WATSON
Age: 3 months
Given Names: Jeannie
Interment Date: 16/08/1894
Clergyman: A H McLean
Next of Kin Alex & L M WATSON
Star, 27 August 1894, Page 2
Watson — August 34, at Station House, Fairlie, Jeannie, infant daughter of Laura May and Alexander Watson ; aged three months.
Record No: 1026
Family Name: WATSON Age: 3 months
Given Names: George Ross
Interment Date: 29/10/1895
Clergyman: Rev. Cowie
Next of Kin Alex & L M WATSON
Record No: 1028
Family Name: MAHER
Age: 54 years
Given Names: John
Interment Date: 2/06/1896
Clergyman: Rev. HUISON
Star, 4 January 1896, Page 6
An inquest was held at Fairlie on Wednesday touching the death of a man named John Maher, who was found dead on the roadside near the township the previous evening. Evidence was given that deceased had been in the habit of visiting Fairlie at shearing time for seven or eight years past, and that on this occasion he had been about the township for a week; that he was seen and. spoken to by Constable Mullaney at 4p.m. on Tuesday, when he seemed to be well and sober, and that he was found lying dead at 6.30 pm. on the grass at the roadside, a quarter of a mile from the township. The jury, of whom Mr Siegert was foreman, returned a verdict that deceased died from natural causes.
Timaru Herald, 4 January 1896, Page 3 inquest
An inquest was held at the Gladstone Hotel, Fairlie, on Wednesday; touching the death of a man named John Maher, found dead on the roadside the previous evening. A . O. Gilmour, hotelkeeper, stated that he had known the deceased for the past seven or eight years He generally visited Fairlie about shearing time, and had on this occasion been about the place eight or ten days. Witness last saw deceased about 4 p.m. on the 31st, and he then appeared to be m his usual health. A. Cieighton a resident of Fairlie, showed that he found the deceased lying on his back on the grass beside the main road, about 6.30 p.m., and as he appeared to be dead, witness went straight to the police office and reported the matter, and returned with Constable Mullaney and helped to remove the body to the township. Deceased was lying on his back fully clothed, but with his hat beside him, and where he was not m the way of traffic. He appeared to have died quietly. Constable Mullaney gave a similar description of the situation and condition of the corpse when found. He found nothing to indicate the cause of death. The sun was very strong at the time. Had seen deceased about the township for a week, and spoke to him about 4 p.m., at which time he was quite sober, and made no complaint. The jury having viewed the body, returned a verdict that deceased had died from natural causes.
Record No: 0727
Family Name: MCKINNON Age: 49 years
Given Names: John
Interment Date: 16/10/1898
Clergyman: REV COWIE
Next of Kin Angus & Mary MCKINNON
Timaru Herald, 17 October 1898, Page 4
There has just passed away, after a painful and lingering illness, at the comparatively early age of 49, a man who though not known to a great many of our readers, had yet a large circle of friends in the Fairlie and Burkes Pass districts, and was recognised by all who knew him as one who put the welfare of his employers first m everything he did, not leaving a stone unturned to further their interests. For ten years manager of the Three Springs Estate, near Fairlie, Mr John McKinnon may be said to have worn his life out in the service of the company he worked for. With a temperament given to worry too much, if things did not go quite right, he consumed in fifty years, vitality which should have lasted another twenty. With plain and often blunt speech, he conveyed to his hearers exactly what he thought, and if on occasions he gave offence no one so offended but must have realised that what he did or said was done with the object of safeguarding the charge entrusted to him with the wish at the same time to be just to all men. Prior to his late management he, in the late seventies, had charge of the Braemar Estate when that property was first bought from the Crown by a Dunedin syndicate, and while there m the earlier days of the settlement of the Mackenzie Country he with his wife, before proper roads were made, went through experiences such as do not fall to the lot of settlers nowadays. Coming to the colony in the early sixties he worked as a young man in the Lake District of Otago shepherding on Malvern Hills Station, and had many good yarns to spin of the early days when runs were worth £1 per head before the rabbits brought ruin to many a squatter. He leaves a widow and four children, two grown up. Residents in the Fairlie district and travellers on the road to Burkes Pass and the Mackenzie Country will long remember his kindly disposition and his wife's good-natured banter with all she knew.
Record No: 0999
Family Name: RIDDLE Age: 8 years
Given Names: John H
Address: Interment Date: 23/10/1899
Occupation: School Boy
Clergyman: Rev. J WHITE
Next of Kin John & Mary RIDDLE
Evening Post, 24 October 1899, Page 6
A boy named John Hamilton Riddle, aged eight years, has been killed at Fairlie, near Timaru, by a horse treading on his chest.
Otago Witness, 26 October 1899, Page 21
Sergeant Fraser received a wire on Saturday (says the Timaru Herald) from Constable Willoughby, Fairlie, as follows : — "A boy named John Hamilton Riddle, aged eight years, was killed to-day by a horse treading on his chest. An inquest will be held on Monday at Fairlie."
Record No: 1025
Family Name: SMALL
Age: 47 years
Given Names: James
Date Deceased: 21/08/1895
Interment Date: 23/08/1895
Clergyman: REV. TUBMAN
Next of Kin Catherine SMALL (wife)
Timaru Herald, 26 August 1895, Page 2
On Thursday, an inquest was held at Fairlie by Mr J. Wilson, J.P., acting coroner, into the death of James Small, a labouring man, 47 years of age. The evidence showed that the deceased left Fairlie on Tuesday evening to ride to his home, near Mr Nixon's, and he was found lying on the road unconscious by his son, at 8 p.m. A trap was got after some time and deceased was got home about midnight. Early on Wednesday morning Dr Dryden was sent for, but the serious nature of the case was not understood, and the doctor did not reach the house till mid-day, by which time Small was dead. The doctor in his evidence said he found no bruises on the body. Deceased might have fallen from his horse and ruptured a blood-vessel on the brain. The jury found a verdict of accidental death. Deceased had been some years in the Fairlie district, and leaves a large family, some of them now grown up.
Record No: 0988
Family Name: GILLINGHAM
Age: 45 years
Given Names: Cordelia
Address: Interment Date: 1/04/1900
Clergyman: REV. HUISON
Next of Kin F R GILLINGHAM
Otago Witness, 9 August 1900, Page 34
Condolence. — For several months past considerable sympathy has been felt for Mr F. R. Gillingham, chairman of the County Council, owing to the serious illness of his wife, who has been to the fore in promoting and helping any deserving object. Latterly it was thought that Mrs Gillingham's health was improving, and consequently the news of her death on the 2nd inst. came as a great shock. The deceased was interred on Saturday in the Fairlie Cemetery, where already two infant sons lie at rest. Notwithstanding the suddenness of her demise a fairly large concourse of friends and sympathisers attended to pay their last tribute of respect. Mrs Gillingham was of a quiet, unobtrusive nature, yet ever alert for good actions. She never tired in her efforts to alleviate the trials of her fellow creatures, consequently young and old alike looked up to her as more than a mere friend, consequently widespread sympathy is felt for Mr Gillingham in his bereavement. Mrs Gillingham possessed considerable literary attainment, and I understand she was a valued contributor to the columns of the Witness.
Record No: 0986
Family Name: GILLINGHAM Age: 14 years
Given Names: JOHN Date Deceased:
Address: Interment Date: 1/04/1905
Occupation: School Boy
Clergyman: REV HUISON
Next of Kin Sandham & Annie GILLINGHAM
Wanganui Herald, 4 April 1905, Page 6 Fatal Trap Accident.
Timaru, April 3. A young lad named John Gillingham, son of Mr Sandham Gillingham, of Fairlie, was killed on Saturday night as the result of a trap accident. He was driving down a steep cutting with another lad and a lady, when the horse bolted and capsized the vehicle. John Gillingham died a few hours later. The other lad had his collar-bone broken, and the lady received injuries, rendering her unconscious for some hours.
Ashburton Guardian, 3 April 1905, Page 3
April 3 A distressing accident occurred at Winscombe, a few miles from Fairlie on Saturday evening, in which a life was lost and two persons injured. Jack Gillingham, son of Mr Sandham Gillingham, of Kingsbury, his cousin Allan, son of Mr F. R. Gillingham, of Fairlie, and Miss Pilbrow, of Temuka, were driving down the zigzag at Winscombe, when the horse bolted. The buggy was run into the bank at the roadside, and capsized, throwing the three out. Jack [John] Gillingham was injured so seriously that he succumbed to his injuries. Miss Pilbrow also sustained serious injuries, but fears are not entertained for her. Allan escaped with a broken collarbone. Dr Cook was quickly on the scene, and the sufferers were taken to Mr F. R. Gillingham's residence, where Jack died about midnight. Miss Pilbrow sustained slight concussion of the brain, but last evening was progressing very favourably.
Record No: 0955
Family Name: JUNGE
Given Names: Peter John
Address: Interment Date: 22/06/1906
Otago Witness, 26 June 1907, Page 55
JUNGE — In memory of my dear brother, Peter Junge, who died at Fairlie on the 21st June, 1906 ; aged 26 years. "May his soul rest in peace." — Inserted by his brother George.
'Tis now a weary; long , sad year
Since my dear Peter left me all in tears
From our dear home at Fairlie Creek
From suffering and pain to Death's long sleep
And Christ has taken him home above.
Where Death can never sever love-
Where Christ releases from all pain,
And parted us to meet again.
Record No: 0958
Family Name: STRANGE Age: 30 years
Given Names: Samuel
Address: Interment Date: 16/01/1907
Clergyman: S ORR - Presby Student
Otago Witness, 23 January 1907, Page 36
An accident of a very distressing nature, which resulted in the Death of a young man named Samuel Strange, 30 years of age, occurred in the shearing sited at Mr J. S. Rutherford's Mistake Station, Mackenzie Country, on the 14th (says the Timaru Herald). It appears that while shearing with machinery the man tripped and fell, the clippers entering his arm and inflicting a fearful wound before they could be disconnected. A message was sent down to the Tekapo Hotel to ring up for Dr S. J. Cook, of Fairlie. Meanwhile the wound was bound up, and the injured man was placed on a cart and a start made for Tekapo. On. the road the party was met by the doctor, who had gone up from Fairlie in a motor car, and on examination he found that through loss of blood and shock there was very little hope. The sufferer was taken on to the Tekapo Hotel in the motor car, and died there shortly after midnight. He appears to have no relations or friends in New Zealand, having come over from Victoria, where his parents reside, apparently for the shearing season. At the inquest a verdict of "Accidental Death " was returned.
The Mclean plot has some unusual headstones - crosses. A beautiful headstone but needs repairing, has a crack.
Record No: 1153
Family Name: McLEAN Age: 81 years
Given Names: Donald
Address: Interment Date: 19/07/1895
Clergyman: REV COWIE
Next of Kin Allan McLEAN (SON)
Other Wife - Flora
Record No: 0960
Family Name: McLEAN Age: 54 years
Given Names: Allan Hugh
Interment Date: 8/07/1907
Plot 24 & 25
Clergyman: REV BLACK
Next of Kin Donald & Flora McLEAN
Star, 8 July 1907, Page 4
Mr Allan Hugh M'Lean, of Strathconan, Fairlie, died on Saturday morning, after an illness that had prostrated him for some months. He was born in Geelong in 1853, and came to Canterbury with his parents in his boyhood. His father, who died some years ago, was for a time manager of the Levels estate for the Land Company, and then bought Strathconan, becoming one of the earliest agricultural settlers in the Fairlie district. Mr A.H. M'Lean was of a retiring disposition, but was highly respected in the district. He was for some years a member of the County Council, a member of the local Masonic Lodge, and one of the initiators of the Mackenzie Caledonian Society.
Record No: 1066
Family Name: McLEAN
Age: 63 years
Given Names: Julia Mary C.
Interment Date: 7/01/1922
Record No: 1419
Family Name: McLEAN
Age: 65 years
[ Died 17th June 1912]
Given Names: UNA
Next of Kin Donald McLEAN (father)
Family Name: MCKIE
Age: 54 years
Given Names: Thomas
Date Deceased: 8/07/1897
Interment Date: 11/07/1897
Clergyman: Rev. COWIE
Next of Kin Ellen MCKIE (wife)
North Otago Times, 12 July 1897, Page 2
The Timaru Herald of Saturday has the following : A well to-do farmer, named Thomas McKie, occupying land just over the river from Fairlie, was the victim of a gun accident on Thursday. So far an information has reached us, it appears that he went out with a gun during the afternoon on his farm, after hares, and late at night he was found dead beside a wire fence with a shot wound in his stomach, the gun resting against the fence in a position indicating that deceased was trailing it over or through after him when it went off. An inquest was to be held yesterday. Deceased's wife at present, and has been for some time, an inmate of the Timaru Hospital, and the loss of her husband in such way must be a great shook to her. Deceased, who was between 50 and 60 years of age, leaves also four young children.
Record No: 0967
Family Name: McGREGOR
Age: 59 years
Given Names: Mary
Date Deceased: 18/01/1909
Interment Date: 18/01/1909
Plot 8 & 9
Clergyman: CHAS MacDonald
Next of Kin Lewis MCGREGOR (husband)
Ashburton Guardian, 19 January 1909, Page 3 Obituary
One of the oldest pioneers of the Ashburton county died after a lingering illness at "Cora Linn," [sic: cora Lynn] Fairlie, on Friday, in the person of Mrs L. McGregor, aged 59, for many years a resident of the Springbnrn district in 1869. Mr and Mrs McGregor accepted a position on Clent Hills, Ashburton Gorge, where they remained at the back of the estate for a period of 7 years. They then settled in the Springburn district, where they resided continuously till about two years ago. The McGregor family will be long remembered m the Springburn and surrounding districts for their many acts of kindness, and for the genuine interest they evinced in the welfare of all who knew them. The deceased lady was a typical colonist, and was never better contented than when ministering to the needs of others. Mrs McGregor was a sister of Mrs Brown, Riccarton, and her brother, Mr Lewis Coutts is a resident of Gore, Southland. The funeral took place at Fairlie, on Monday, in the presence of a large number of friends and sympathisers. Very general regret has been expressed at Mrs McGregor's death by residents in the Springburn and surrounding districts. The deceased lady leaves a son (for several years clerk to the Mount Somers Road Board) and two grandsons, all of whom resided with her until the time of her death.
Family Name: HAMILTON
Age: 83 years
Given Names: Margaret
Date Deceased: 5/03/1917
Record No: 0969
Family Name: MOFFATT
Age: 74 years
Given Names: James
Date Deceased: 9/01/1910
Interment Date: 10/01/1910
Clergyman: REV W J BLACK
Press, 13 January 1910, Page 9
Mr Jas. Moffatt, an old identity of Mackenzie Country, died at Fairlie on Sunday, aged 74. He came to New Zealand about 40 years ago, and after shepherding at Mt. Somers for some time and then farming at Kakahu for a while, he went into the Mackenzie Country, and was employed for many year on Haldon station.
Record No: 1398
Family Name: GRANT Age: 89 years
Given Names: JOHN Date
Deceased: 22 June 1926
Born at Cabuie, Ross shire Scotland
died at Ashwick Flat 22 June 1926 aged 89 years
and his brother
Born at Cabuie, Ross shire Scotland
Died Ashwick Flat 24th July 1926, aged 92 years.
Record No: 0964
Family Name: RIDDLE
Age: 49 years
Given Names: JOHN
Interment Date: 11/05/1908
Occupation: Carpenter & Builder
Clergyman: REV D BLACK
Next of Kin Charles & Jane RIDDLE
Family Name: RIDDLE
Age: 6 weeks
Given Names: Joyce Louise
Date Deceased: 8/10/1920
Interment Date: 8/10/1920
Next of Kin D B RIDDLE
Record No: 1421
Family Name: RIDDLE Age: 22 years
Given Names: Bertram Challis
Date Deceased: 31/03/1944
Son of David Bertram and Mabel Mary Riddle, of Fairlie
In Memory of Pilot Officer Bertram Challis Riddle lost on bombing operations
over Nuremberg March 31st 1944, aged 22
Pilot : Bertram Challis Riddle RNZAF
Service No: 424547
Royal New Zealand Air Force, 207 Squadron
Memorial RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
Panel Reference Panel 263.
Model: Lancaster LA523
Serial number: LM436
Command: Bomber Command
Squadron: Squadron 207
Start airport: Spilsby
Start date: 1944-03-30
Cause: Enemy Aircraft
Lost location: Freiensteinau
Evening Post, 11 May 1944, Page 6 MISSING ON AIR OPERATIONS.
RIDDLE, Bertram C, Pilot Officer. Mr. D.B. Riddle, Fairlie (f.)
Evening Post, 20 February 1945, Page 6
The following New Zealand air force personnel serving overseas have been reported casualties:
PRESUMED DEAD—PREVIOUSLY REPORTED MISSING.
BAILLIE, William R., Flying Officer; Timaru.
RIDDLE, Bertram C., Pilot Officer; Fairlie.
Family Name: SHAW
Age: 28 years
Given Names: Albert John
Date Deceased: 20/03/1945
Interment Date: 22/03/1945
Next of Kin Late Mrs W M SHAW (mother)
There are three Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war and
one of the 1939-1945 war
at the Fairlie Cemetery. This cemetery is situated on the left hand side of Main Street
(SH 8) just before Fairlie township, coming from Timaru.
Private Alfred James Hornblow, 18th Reinforcements NZEF, service no: 29168, died aged 29, 8th August 1916 Block 2. Lot 10. His parents are buried here as well. S/of James and Janet Crawford Hornblow (nee Taylor), of Geraldine, South Canterbury. Born at Kimbell. The Hornblow's took up a farm at Ashwick Flat named "Speedwell" in 1891 and sold it in 1922 retiring to Geraldine. Jimmy Hornblow, Alfred's father came out from Wiltshire, England to Port Chalmers in 1871 as a member of the ship's crew.
Private, Canterbury Regiment, N.Z.E.F. Service No: 6/513
Date of Death: 15/08/1921 Age: 38
S/o Catherine McConnell, of Fairlie, Canterbury. Born at Millers Flat, Otago.
Grave Ref. Block 2. Lot 22. (Presbyterian Portion.)
RUSSELL, John Richard Clayton
Rifleman, N.Z. Rifle Brigade. Service No: 24/561
Date of Death: 30/11/1918 Age: 35
S/o Mrs. B. M. Russell, of High St., Bedford, England. Born in England.
Grave Ref.: Block 1. Lot 46. (C. of E. Portion.)
Leading Aircraftman, Regiment: Royal New Zealand Air Force. Service No: 4217075
Date of Death: 04/01/1946 Age: 21
S/o William Frederick Sevicke Jones and Eileen Marie Jones, of Fairlie, Canterbury.
Grave Ref.: 41. 2.
Timaru Herald Tuesday 2 August 1887 pg2
We mentioned some time ago of a tombstone which Mr McBride, monumental mason if Timaru, was making to the order of Mr Donald McMillan, of Tekapo, and to be erected to the memory of Mr Murdoch Elder, late piper to the Mackenzie County Caledonian Society. It is now erected in the Fairlie Creek Cemetery, and reflects great credit on the maker, the workmanship is really all that could be desired. The total cost, including erection, is �21, and there is a credit balance to the memorial fund of �2 11s, which the Committee have wisely decided to hand to the widow.
FROM FAR AND WIDE by Mike Crean
14 February 2004 The Christchurch Press
The Albury and Fairlie cemeteries are the final resting places for well-travelled servicemen and a surprising range of nationalities. From Canada to South Canterbury. This is a path not commonly trod but two men who made the journey lie in the Albury Cemetery, near Fairlie. The few graves are widely scattered in this bowl-shaped cemetery on a hill behind the tiny settlement of Albury. Here lies Tom Burnett, a native of Glengarry, Inverness. He died in 1921, aged 90. He would be one of thousands of native Scots at rest in New Zealand cemeteries. But Burnett lived most his life in Nova Scotia, Canada. His brother Andrew had settled in Cave, just down the road from Albury, so it can be conjectured that Tom died while visiting, or living in retirement with, his Kiwi brother. A short distance from Burnett's grave stands a solid hunk of cemented granite slabs, from which an embedded metal ice pick protrudes. The plaque reads: "Zdenek Danny Holy, born Czechoslovakia, 20th October, 1946, escaped in 1968 to Canada to enjoy life's freedom. He loved this country, especially Mount Cook, which took his life on 1st December, 1977." A photographic portrait shows a man of about 30 with the beard and black tousled hair of a true mountaineer. The Iron Curtain still divided East and West, when Holy died. His family might never have known his fate. Unlike John and Annie Gallen, from this peaceful farming district. The couple lost four children in eight years: sons Joseph and Michael in 1938, and daughters Mary, 1944, and Katherine, 1946. How these parents' hearts must have ached, before they died, John in 1971 and Annie in 1995.
The sense of loss is similar among the graves of Fairlie Cemetery, a few kilometres further inland. But loss of a different kind dominates here. Fairlie Cemetery contains an unusually high proportion of graves of returned servicemen. References to sons and brothers killed in the wars, their bodies lying in foreign fields, are common on the headstones of family plots in New Zealand graveyards. Some of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen who came back and died later are remembered on standard-sized returned services headstones, their name under the silver fern, accompanied by their service number. Perhaps Fairlie contributed a higher than normal number of men to the wars, or perhaps the idyllic rural town attracted many veterans in their retirement years. Around a central grove of trees and a flagpole lies a growing circle of headstones. One part of this ring is designated the RSA Service Section. Most of the men buried here served in World War 2, while elsewhere in the cemetery lie the departed veterans of World War 1 and the Korean War. Among other graves is that of John Richmond jun, "who met his death at Mount Cook Hermitage on 22nd February, 1914, in an avalanche as guide there with his mate D. Thompson and one Mr King, a tourist". The Fairlie man was 30. Opposite Richmond's grave is that of Jackie Keay, "who was accidentally killed at a boxing tournament in Dunedin on 14th August, 1919, aged 21 years". Keay's brother, Thomas, was killed in action at Ypres, France, in 1917, aged 25. One can barely imagine the grisly death of Samuel Strange, "Native of Victoria, who died through an accident at Mistake Station" in 1907, aged 30. His headstone was "erected by John Rutherford Esq. and the Canterbury Shearers' Union". The name on one simple headstone catches the eye - John E. J. Lovelock. No, this is not New Zealand's greatest runner of the pre-World War 2 era. It is his father, who died at Fairlie, where he managed the Mount Cook Motor Company, in 1923. He was 55. His son, Jack, was then 13. Jack Lovelock won the 1500 metres final at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was killed in an accident in New York in 1949.