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Alexander Giffin (1828-1916)

By May 1, 2012No Comments


The death occurred at his home Bellvue Manildra, on Sunday last, of one of the district’s oldest residents, Mr Alexander Giffin Snr at the age of 88 years, the cause of death being senile decay.

The deceased was born at Belfast, Ireland, on the 18th February, 1828. He arrived at Sydney in 1836. After having been a seafarer for some time he married Elizabeth Frogley in Sydney. After living in Sydney for a time Mr and Mrs Giffin travelled to the Macquarie River, where they resided until 1875, when they migrated to Manildra, selecting close to the village. There they remained till about ten years ago when, relinquishing farming, they retired to the home Mr Giffin had erected opposite the Anglican Church. Here Mr Giffin resided until the time of his death.

The deceased had been ailing for two years, and recently has declined considerably, but notwithstanding his great age he enjoyed the use of every faculty, and to the last was a keen reader of the newspapers, being chiefly interested in the war news, six of his grandsons serving the Colours. His last illness was short and sharp; two days illness culminated in a sudden collapse, and the end.

The funeral left the deceased’s late home at 2.30pm on Monday afternoon. The coffin was carried by 6 grandsons from the house to the Church, and was followed by a large number of relations and friends, his grand-daughters carrying wreaths immediately behind the coffin. The cortege was met at the gate by the Rev. James Bate, who led it into the Church, which was draped in mourning. Part of the burial service, concluding with the singing of a favourite hymn, Abide With Me, was then read after which the funeral moved away to the Meranburn cemetery, followed by a large gathering of district residents.

Mr Giffin had been married over 67 years, and his widow (aged 90) was able to nurse him till the last. There are nine children living: Messrs John (Parkes), James, William, Alick and Mrs C. A. Miller (Manildra), Richard, Allan and Mrs Will Fleeting (Sydney) and Mrs E. Robins (Blayney). The deceased also leaves 69 grandchildren and 51 great grandchildren, a large number of whom were at his bedside.

The deceased’s chief interests lay in the Liberal and the Anglican Church, of which Mr and Mrs Giffin were the founders in the district. In the early days the church services were held at their farm house, and later on one of his daughters took an active part in raising funds to build the first church, which is now the schoolroom. The pioneer couple’s interest in church matters has never flagged, and it was mainly due to their influence that the present church was erected. All the members of the family have taken an interest in church work.

The deceased gentleman was beloved and respected by all who knew him, and his death means severance of an irreparable tie to his family and other relatives, to whom we extend our deepest sympathy.
For further information see Manildra Memories folder at Manildra Library