Wilfred Errol Giffin (c1904-1939)
OBITUARY MR W. E. GIFFIN 3 June 1939
Quite a gloom was passed over the whole district on Friday morning, May 26, when it became known that Wilfred Errol Giffin had breathed his last, after a severe illness of about a fortnight’s duration, during which the sufferer made a gallant bid for life, and kept in good spirits right up to the end, though it was generally known that hope of ultimate recovery was an impossibility, owing to the nature of the complaint.
The deceased young man, who was 35 years of age, was the youngest surviving son of Mr and Mrs Alexander Giffin, well known residents of Ainsdale Manildra, was a native of this district.
On leaving school he entered the Railway Department, starting at Manildra station, and later being in different parts of the west in the railway employ. Later he was attached to the clerical branch of the Department in Sydney, and it was at that centre that he tendered his resignation about 17 years ago, and returned home to take up life on his father’s property.
Although “Bill”, as he was more popularly known far and wide, suffered ill health at times from then onwards, there was nothing in the nature of his aliments to prevent his enjoyment of life to its full, and participating in sports and social events, early becoming one of the best known figures in every function in and about the district.
About three years ago an unfortunate mishap marred his hitherto normal state of health and good spirits, when a kick from a draught horse on the farm caused so much damage to a kidney, that the organ had to be removed, and for a time his life seemed to hang in the balance. But all his conquering abundance of high spirits overcame all doubts, and in a short while he had left the convalescence stage, and was entering again into an ordinary everyday life on the farm, and the pleasures of the community.
But early in the New Year 1939 it became evident to his relatives that the loss of the organ was slowly beginning to take its toll on his health, although to all external appearances he seemed bright and in the best of spirits.
Just prior to Easter a Sydney specialist was consulted, and from then on it became plain to his relatives that hopes for a complete restoration to normal health were dim ones, and the unfortunate young man, although suffering no pain, began to weaken by degrees, up until his last fatal illness, as before mentioned.
The passing of Bill Giffin will not only be a severe blow to the sorrowing parents and relatives, who have had many trials in the past in the way of sickness, but to the town and district in general. He was a personality that gripped one and all to his friendship on acquaintance.
Although not taking in the sporting sphere, he was a most enthusiastic supporter of any such club in town, and nothing gave him more pleasure than to see Manildra victors in football, or whatever the contest was.
In public affairs too, though only comparatively young, he put himself behind all movements for the betterment of the district, and took a leading part in many functions that added to the pleasure of the social side of the community.
On the P. & A. Committee for a term, he put his heart and soul into any particular position allotted to him, and his enthusiasm was always 100%.
Possessor of a pleasing singing voice, he was greatly in demand for the organisation of functions of a musical nature, and was the life of the party in amateur concerts etc.
A sad feature of his passing was that the annual C.W.A. Eisteddfod was staged in town the very day of the funeral, and was at its height when the funeral cortege passed slowly along the main street of the town in the afternoon.
He was an active supporter of this fine institution in Manildra and often a competitor in the vocal section. Just a few days prior to the end he was anxiously questioning relatives and visitors concerning the Eisteddfod, expressing a wish for its success.
Music to him was life itself, and he often remarked that to his way of thinking a person with no ear for music of any sort, vocal or instrumental etc. was “dead to the world, and a person without soul”.
Above all “Bill” possessed a fund of magnanimity that was unsurpassed; nothing was a trouble to him in any way of assisting anybody who needed it, and as he loved every inch of life, he liked to see others sharing his happiness also. When things looked glum for some people, his was the cheery word or expression that made a ‘silver lining’ appear in the clouds, and when misfortune came to many, he was always ready to sympathise and offer also a word of encouragement and good cheer to the sufferers. This affection for the wellbeing of others, and a perpetual ‘looking on the bright side’ of life he kept up, right until the very end, when he relinquished a life of happiness, despite its defections for him, in regards to his health, with a marvellous fortitude and fighting spirit, the latter helping him in his life, others may have gone under long before, up till the time it was no longer humanly possible to arrest the end.
General sympathy will be extended to the grief stricken parents in their loss, this being their third son to go thus. Two others, Keith and Hilton, being deceased many years, the former in tragic circumstances. One brother and two sisters are also left to mourn a devoted brother, Mr Geoff Giffin (Manildra), Miss Enid Giffin (Manildra) and Sister Eileen Giffin (of the District Nursing Association, Sydney), the latter being with her brother in his last illness in Sydney, and devoting all her nursing knowledge to alleviate pain in the last days of his life, although her experience told her all the time that the span of life for him was considerably shortened.
For further information see Manildra Memories folder at Manildra Library