Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 11 - Lovely, but immensely sad


What a lovely name I thought, oblivious to the irony. I feel sure there is an aura that enfolds me as I meander cemeteries. I don't choose grave-markers; they seem to seek me out, and insist upon being heard.

Gwendolyn Harvey Lovely was the daughter of William Harvey Chapman Lovely and Florence E. M. Lovely. At the time of their infant daughter's death, WHC was 29 and FEM was 36. They lived in Randwick which was a very swish suburb of that era. Gwendolyn had been born in Woollahra. WHC was a mining engineer. They were not poor!

Gwendolyn died on 16th April. Her mother sailed to Singapore on the 'Stettin' on 28th May. By herself. In May 1903, Florence, alone again, sailed to London on the 'Australasian'. I can find no trace of her again after this.

WHC moved around the Southern Highlands of NSW for the next ten or so years. I pick him up again in 1919 living with Trixie Linelle Whiteman Lovely in Winton, Queensland. WHC and Trixie have 6 children. WHC died in 1956 in Brisbane, at the age of 84.

There are at least three Family Trees in Ancestry.com which include WHC Lovely. Not one mentions Florence. Not one mentions Gwendolyn. I wonder if it was so painful, that he was forced for his own peace of mind, to erase it from his conscious memory.

This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

25 comments:

biebkriebels said...

Yes, those cemeteries make me sometimes a bit sad, all those young broken lives. Our village exsists only for 35 years. When I saw the amount of chuldren graves I could hardly believe my eyes. So much pain so close. But 1901 is at least a long time ago. I have a niece named Gwendolyn, who's name I always liked very much.

Gemma Wiseman said...

I wonder why the shorter trip to Singapore before the longer trip to London. Perhaps Singapore was just "time out" before deciding on the longer, more permanent journey to London - maybe to family. Incredible story! The move for William from North Shore Sydney to Queensland sounds like a total break away from old lifestyle. Reminds me of what Zara Bate did...moving from her lucrative fashion business in Melbourne's high suburbs to Queensland.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Julie, the headstone and statue are lovely, but the story is so very poignant... How sad to lose a young child... Your research is much appreciated to complete the picture.

I will be thinking about is young family today.

Bises
Genie

hamilton said...

This family most definitely could not have been poor! This is quite the memorial to an infant - only to have both parents move so far away and never visit again.

Ann said...

A lovely marker for a lovely child (sorry). Its so sad to see all these graves of such young children.

Steffe said...

A very sad story.

Sondra said...

tragedy strikes across the board and knows no bounds rich or poor. Such a sad event in the life of a young couple and it seems to have destroyed the relationship. Maybe one laid blame on the other...and that we may never know!! When Im wandering around searching for a particular grave I often say call out the name, followed by " where are you?" Then I immediately say
"Dont answer that, I will find you without any help from the inhabitants."

Julie said...

*beam*
that is wonderful, Sondra! Just wonderful.

Jim said...

Impressive statue.

Kate said...

The headstone is a sweet monument to the young child, sad as it its!!

Joe said...

How very sad. Thank you for sharing this photo accompanied by your ancestry research.

Joan Elizabeth said...

You sure notice more than I do wandering around these places (it must be that aura) ... I am usually in a rush before I wear out the driver's patience (that's aura hanging over me)

What an unusual surname. I looked it up and they say it first belong to a dandy who wore his hair in locks.

The Paw Relations said...

Such a beautiful, yet sad monument.

It's so sad when ancestors are forgotten simply because it was too painful to remember.

Fantastic post!

Herding Cats


http://seathreepeeo.blogspot.com

Oakland Daily Photo said...

It suddenly struck me that the statue had been made long before it came to grace Gwendolyn's grave. Its inscription is general and her name is on the personalized plinth below. Now I'm imagining a mason's sculpture yard where one could shop for already made statues and precut headstones. It seems so much more likely than commissioning a statue, except maybe for the very wealthy. Never occurred to me before. This is going to send me to the stone cutting workshop outside Mt. View and see if they have samples displayed.

Julie said...

Yes, I already have in mind a mason's business on the edge of Rookwood for the same purpose.

Julie said...

Actually, thinking about it, Carolyn, I had been going to point out some aspects of this statue but it did not go with the tenor of the actual post.

The angel is a bit ugly! It has the features of an adult on a child's body. and one leg looks like it has a legging. And the feet themselves ... do you know that work by Picasso (an early one, maybe during about WW1) where women are running along. Big bawdy busty women. They had feet like this young angel.

Yes ... agreed ... off the peg.

JM said...

A super beautiful photo to introduce us to such a sad story. Great post, Julie.

VioletSky said...

How sad that Florence has been erased form the family records (almost). I find it interesting that there is no mention of the parents when the grave is for one so young.

Kathy said...

This is certainly a "lovely" headstone. I think the children's graves are the saddest of all. It's amazing how many children perished due to disease in earlier times.

CaT said...

that is sad... not even one year old..
but lovely is a funny name. i also like lovejoy.
i dont think that angel is very ugly! its a cute grave.. :)

people are still separated for stupid reasons... isnt that sad, too?

must be so interesting to figure that all out!! i do wonder why the little girl died? especially when you mention they were wealthy?

Julie said...

I went looking for a coroner's report but to no avail. Although, I have just had a brain wave. Shall try to get to it this evening.

Rae Walter said...

I was interested to read your comment about the grave markers seeking you out and insisting upon being heard. Incredible and sad story Julie. Thanks so much for all the research that you have put into this and other Taphophile Tragic posts.

NixBlog said...

Great post, Julie. Highlighting once again how cemeteries can be a stimulus to find out all sorts of interesting things about the people that lived before us.

lovelyfamily said...

Please do not portray Gwendolyn in this way. It was tragic to lose her so young but she was not forgotten, nor was she erased from our family history. The marriage did not survive, but Harvey never forgot his little girl. To this day, she has one surviving (half)sister, who speaks so fondly of Gwendolyn, despite having never met her. I have a photo of the actual grave, but am unable to attach it to this comment. I fail to understand why you have cropped the headstone to ensure that she is alone. Would facts get in the way of the ‘tragic’ story of a child forgotten? As you know, her (half)brother is buried with her. He has been there since 1994. He was my grandfather, and we still have quite a few family members who remain in Sydney. We visit the grave often, and neither of their lives have been forgotten. If you insist on researching the history of other families, please ensure that you do so correctly. To do otherwise is an incredible insult to the memory of those that have past.

lovelyfamily said...

Pity the whole things a fraud. Note the excellent condition of the angel and the lead inlaid text? Thats because the family is watching and has refurbished the monument when necessary. Forgotten? Only because the camera has been aimed to cut out the plaque below, showing her brother (my father) recently interred in the family plot.