AUSTRALIA ~ The Antipodes

AUSTRALIA ~ The Antipodes
I love a sunburnt country / A land of sweeping plains / Of ragged mountain ranges / Of droughts and flooding rains / I love her far horizons / I love her jewel-sea / Her beauty and her terror / The wide brown land for me / ~ Dorothea Mackellar (1885-1968)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sir John and His Lady

Sir John Holland's last resting place is at Flinders Cemetery, on the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula - not far from his beloved Flinders Golf Club.
Holland’s construction company was involved in iconic Australian projects:
the Snowy Mountains Scheme, the West Gate Bridge, the Sydney Entertainment Centre, and the “new” Parliament House.
Further in Melbourne, he was involved in the construction of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Eastlink and the MCG's Great Southern Stand.
He was also involved in the construction of the Tasman Bridge in Hobart and the Captain Cook Bridge in Sydney.

And it all began with:
His first major contract was to build a shed for £200. The shed was to be built on the property of a farmer called Malcolm Fraser.
(This information is not totally correct! It was Malcolm Fraser's parents' property of 'Nareen' in western Victoria which became Malcolm's later. And the shed was a woolshed.
Just a sideline, Malcolm Fraser now lives not far from me at Thurulgoona, a property in Red Hill South/Merricks with views of Westernport Bay!
'Nareen' was sold in 2000 says the government website but HERE says differently. 'Nareen' is now listed as the Nareen Homestead Complex.)
Malcolm Fraser became Australia's Prime Minister 20 years later.
And it was then that the John Holland Construction Group was commissioned to build the new Parliament House in Canberra.
More details of Sir John's amazing life are HERE!
The turned head of the magpie on the headstone is similar to the magpie symbolising Collingwood Football Club in Melbourne.
Perhaps Sir John was a supporter.

Next to Sir John's resting place is that of his lady.
So strange! I have Googled her name several times and can find no information at all about her.
I am quite sure with her "compassion for others" she may have been involved in community life! But on that, the records are silent.
Perhaps the only clue is the wren symbol on her headstone.
In Celtic worlds, the wren mainly symbolised creativity, sharing, friendliness and free spirit.
More details HERE!
Further, Sir John re-married in 2003.
His new wife's name was Suzanne (Suzie on his headstone) Wharton and she was not given the title of Lady.

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Dina said...

Interesting, their history and their birds.

hamilton said...

Those personal epithets on these two stones have so much more feeling than the ubiquitous 'rest in peace' or biblical verses.

freefalling said...

How beautiful to incorporate the birds onto their headstones.
I especially love the little wren.
I didn't really know much about the person behind the company - he certainly lived a full life.

Leovi said...

Yes, pretty stones to hold the remains of their former lives very interesting.

Ann said...

the magpie and the wren, how interesting. Wonder what they mean.

Sondra said...

WOW he went from building a shed to the Parliament building...thats marvelous! I like the bird on the stone very nice.

Margaret Gosden said...

The birds embedded in the headstones are a nice touch! Much in little is conveyed!

Oakland Daily Photo said...

The birds add an almost whimsical touch to death. Surprised but pleased to see both wives mentioned on Sir Holland's headstone. Second wives deserve a mention. Maybe not the third wife. LOL.

Gattina said...

Interesting story, didn't know them.

Julie said...

I have found zilch on Lady Holland, too, Gemma. Maybe, Sir John was attributing to his wife, the characteristics that others have since attributed to him.

I find the birds fascinating. I can not find Holland mentioned as a ticket holder at Collingwood, nor anything in his background that would indicate he was an AFL tragic.

The wren on Joan Holland's marker is problematic, as the bird shown is a blue wren, which is the male of the species.

I had heard of Holland and his engineering company, but not the full list of his contructions. I find the link with Frazer interesting. So Malcolm and Tammy are no longer on 'Nareen'. Was it sold or is one of the children working it?

Thank for your contribution, yet again, to Taphophile Tragics. I really appreciate the research that you have done for today, and full well know how long this sort of post can take to craft.

biebkriebels said...

It is nice the two wives are mentioned on the stone. With his name "Holland" his family must have been related to the Netherlands once.

bj said...

Hi, Gemma, this is an interesting post.
The old gentleman was 89 when he took his 2nd wife. Must have been a fisty old fella.:))

Thanks for coming by and looking at my tomatoes. Especially since you don't like cooking photos. :)
Hope your day is a good one.
xo bj



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