Category Archives: Cemetery Road Castlemaine

Was She Robert Burns Granddaughter?

And fare thee well, my only Luve
And fare thee well, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.
Robert Burns

Portrait of Jean Armour and Sarah Burns aged 9

Robert Burns, the celebrated Scottish poet, had 12 children by four women – nine by his wife Jean Armour. Seven of his children were illegitimate, including the first four by Jean Armour, legitimised by their parent’s marriage in 1788. Of Jean’s children, six died young and another, William, had no children.

On a tombstone, in the Castlemaine Cemetery, it is purported this is the place where Sarah Burns, the granddaughter of Robert Burns, lies. No doubt after talking to the Castlemaine Historic Society a local Castlemaine establishment claims that Andrew Campbell built the place as a private residence and that in 1883 he married Sara Burns Thomspon (granddaughter of the celebrated Scottish poet Robert Burns).

I am not disputing this BUT after a rudimentary online search…. A portrait features the poet’s wife, Jean Amour, alongside their beloved granddaughter Sarah. Sarah was nine at the time this portrait was done. According to a Scottish geneologist Sarah Elizabeth Maitland Tombs Burns (1821-1909) was the daughter of their fourth son James Glencairn Burns (1794-1865).

This tombstone says Sarah died in 1885! Perhaps someone, out there can clarify if the woman who lies here really was the granddaughter of the Robert Burns and Jean Armour.

Crumbling Tennis Courts

“In my beginning is my end. In succession
House rise and fall, crumble, are extended.
Are removed, destroyed, restored, or in their place
Is an open field, or a factory, or a by-pass.
Old stone to new buildings, old timber to new fires,
Old fires to ashes, and ashes to earth
Which is already flesh, fur and faeces,
Bone of man and beast, cornstalk and leaf.
Houses live and die; there is a time for building
And a time for living and for generation
And a time for the wind to break a loosened pane
And to shake the wainscot where the field mouse trots….
T.S. Elliot “Four Quartets’

 

On Cemetery Road, Campbell’s Creek, opposite the historic Castlemaine Cemetery, lies crumbling tennis courts. There are quite a few deserted tennis courts around town, a reminder of the days when people played more sport. I have always been partial to romancing ruins! We have had this space in our GPS for some time. Generally we have it to ourselves!

Icy air has engulfed Castlemaine this week as we move into mid winter. The ominous forecast of more bleak weather approaching will curtail sniff mapping. Rather we will be variously sprawled out in front of the fire killing time. I will spend time revisiting Dark Passages and the work of Shaun O’Boyle. Stories lie waiting to be told in each of these places.

For All that has been
And All that is
All that’s to be
Lord, I’m just killing time
And time’s killing me