The Doone Grave – Alice Cecilia Serecombe George (1885 – 1887)

When little Alice Cecilia Serecombe George was born in June 1885, her family were living in Porirua, Wellington.  Her dad, William ‘Willie’ George worked as a labourer and her mother, Emily Serecombe, had her hands full raising their young family.  On 28th November that year, her parents were married.

It seemed the family moved a lot.  Alice’s oldest sister Ruth was born in Dunedin in 1882, and Blanche in Christchurch in 1884.  Maybe they moved to where the work was and it seemed the Willie could turn his hand to anything.

In April 1887, the George’s were at a road construction camp, between Waiau and Kaikoura in North Canterbury.  At this time, Willie was working as the camp’s cook while Emily watched over her girls.  Tragically that same month, little Alice became ill and before the Waiau doctor could complete the 38kms ride to tend to her, she died, not even the age of 2.  On the high eastern bank of Campbell’s Creek and high beside the Inland Road, Alice was laid to rest, between the Doone and Whalesback farms. And here the lonely little grave has remained – looked after by numerous parties.

Rev. W.R. Campbell rode for miles to be able to led the burial service.  Known as the ‘Apostle of the North’, he was Presbyterian Minister who preached around the Armuri District.  Although I have not been able to confirm this, was Campbell’s Creek named after him?  After all, when he died in 1918, he was himself buried at Waiau, his coffin being taken from Merivale, Christchurch after the service for burial.  With all the places he would have seen over the years, why did choose Waiau to be buried?

Five years later in Napier, Emily George died a month after experiencing a miscarriage in 1889.

*photo of Doone Grave taken by Chris Bulovic*


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