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Fairfax, Caroline Elizabeth (Carrie) (1860–1936)

Caroline Fairfax, 1928 [detail]

Caroline Fairfax, 1928 [detail]

State Library of New South Wales, 06418

A wide circle of friends will regret to hear of the death in a private hospital at Wanganui (N.Z.) on Saturday of Miss Charles Fairfax, a generous-hearted lady, who all her life was intimately connected with welfare work of various kinds. She was best known for her association with the Boy Scouts, and the aid she gave in the advancement of this movement was unfailing and practical.

Miss Charles-Fairfax was a daughter of the late Mr Charles John Fairfax and a granddaughter of the late Mr. John Fairfax, founder of John Fairfax and Sons, Limited. She left towards the end of April for New Zealand, her relatives and friends believing that the trip would benefit her health.

Miss Charles-Fairfax spent a great part of her life in England, but always proudly proclaimed herself an Australian. She justified her claim to citizenship not only by practical interest in various organisations in this State, but by the personal care and interest she manifested during the war in Australian troops in England. She worked in co-operation with her sister, the late Miss Amy Fairfax, whose death took place in London in 1918. Together they visited the military hospitals, entertained the sick and wounded at their home, and their car was at the service of invalids as long as the British authorities permitted the use of private cars. Their work in this regard was largely confined to Wandsworth Hospital, London. As well as entertaining the soldiers privately, they gave parties at the South Kensington Hotel, where as many as 200 soldiers were entertained on each occasion.

Miss Charles-Fairfax was greatly interested in all matters pertaining to children, especially the sick and suffering, the Children's Hospital, Chelsea, London, was her special care, and our own hospital—the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown has also benefited by her kindly interest. During their periodical trips to Australia both sisters visited the latter hospital regularly, and gave it consistent and practical aid. She was very interested in Queen Mary's London Needlework Guild, to which she remitted funds from Australia, and was in direct communication with Her Majesty.

Miss Charles-Fairfax and her late sister were donors of a banner to the Boy Scouts' Association, and of the Fairfax flags (one a Union Jack and the other a troop flag). The banner was given in memory of their father, and was brought to Australia by Lord Baden-Powell. It is competed for annually by the various district troops, and this year is in the possession of the First Cremorne Troop. Miss Charles-Fairfax was the donor of the Amy Fairfax Scout Hall, Petersham, built as a memorial to her sister. This hall was given to the Petersham Troop of Boy Scouts. A Scout hostel in Queen's-street, Newtown, known as the Ann Fairfax Hostel, was dedicated as a memorial to her mother.

Miss Charles-Fairfax also associated herself with the work of the Boys' Brigade, founded by her uncle, the late Sir James Reading Fairfax, and of which her cousin, the late Sir James Oswald Fairfax, was chairman for so many years, and with the work of the Navy League Sea Cadets, a flag being presented by her to this organisation for competition annually. She also was interested in the Toc H. movement, and presented a lamp in memory of a relative who fell in the war.

When living in London she attended St. Columba's Presbyterian Church, Pont-street, sitting under the Rev. Dr. Archibald Fleming, and, so long as her health permitted, was a regular attendant at Scots Church, Sydney. These are but a few of the activities that most keenly interested Miss Charles-Fairfax. She never refused an appeal for any good cause, and never lost her faith in human nature. In spite of her years—she had exceeded the allotted span by six years—she kept her youth and her sweet ideals to the end.

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Citation details

'Fairfax, Caroline Elizabeth (Carrie) (1860–1936)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/fairfax-caroline-elizabeth-carrie-13794/text24640, accessed 25 November 2017.

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