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Heaphy's grave

Heaphy's grave
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28 June 2015





19m ASL


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WITH the intention of doing the Heaphy Track in New Zealand later this year, I have been researching the history of the trail. Through the research I discovered that Charles Heaphy, the explorer who the trail was named after, retired to Brisbane and died here a few months later in 1881.

I therefore set myself a quest today to locate his grave. That would prove to be a challenge with a city of 120,000 graves to search from in the steep ridges and deep gullies of the Toowong Cemetery, considered one of Australia's most haunted locations. Many of the graves were in a serious state of disrepair having been weathered by countless storms for well over a hundred years. Many gravestones had toppled over in crumbling ruins and much of the engraved lettering had been eroded away to beyond deciphering.

I did eventually find the grave of Charles Heaphy. The original headstone had been simple and all but eroded away, but the New Zealand government had restored it in 1961 with a military soldier's plaque. It stood almost out of place in amongst the crumbling ruins of other surrounding graves, and I gathered the numerous empty spaces immediately downhill from his grave were the unmarked graves of civilians lost in history. The military graves in the graveyard were all of the same simple style and regularly maintained.

The gravestone read "N.Z. Maori War Veteran Major Charles Heaphy, V.C. 1821 - 1881. He served New Zealand in peace and war as artist, explorer and member of parliament. He was the first non-regular soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross."

My research and preparation for the trek continues...

Trek from today:
The Heaphy Track


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