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Neild, Charles Melbourne (Charlie) (1870–1917)

by Frank Sheedy

Charles Melbourne Neild gave his life for us at Bapaume, France, on March 27, 1917. We cannot ever repay these sacrifices; this we can do, though: know who these men were, and cherish and honor their memory. A charming little Richmond girl (nee Marcella Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Smith, of Burnley-street) mourns the irreparable loss of as loving, lovable and faithful a husband as ever took a heart to keep for ever and ever; and the sweetest aged mother in all the world finds a peer in Mrs. Neild, of Canterbury-road, Albert Park. She hears of her darling's tragic, heroic death when the snows of more than eighty winters have whitened her head. May God grant them both the strength and consolation that is their need. Thousands of Richmond people knew and learned to love amiable "Charlie" Neild, and will feel an equally deep meed of sorrow at his passing. Son of Dr. Neild, for many years city coroner, "Charlie" was an architect, being articled to the one-time prosperous architect Annear, and had as fellow-students, amongst others, such ultimately successful men as Gerald Vanheems, Montague ("Monty") Grover, and Peter Carney. The "boom-burst" of the early 'nineties made it imperative that each should get a living at what else he could, for building slumped. Gerald Vanheems was able to come into his own in very recent years, Monty Grover is the successful editor of Sydney "Sun," Peter Carney is a tutor at one of the public schools. Richmond knew all these young and talented Australians as a result of their association with Gerald Vanheems, whose home was at Richmond. "Charlie" Neild went in with Bland Holt in the days when that excellent entrepreneur putmelodrama on with greater scenic detail than it enjoyed before or since, and "Charlie" proved he was as much a master of his adopted profession as each of his talented fellows. It was here that Richmond came to meet and know our now departed gallant. He came to be associated with the dramatic club at St. Ignatius', and put on scenic effects that were never attempted off the professional stage anywhere in Australia before or since. Dr. O'Sullivan's beautiful home in Church-st. has the brain and artistry of "Charlie" and his fellow-students exemplified in it, for the plans went through their hands for Dr. Joseph Lalor, whose architect Mr. Annear was. Never did a kindlier heart beat; never was there a truer friend; never one more generous with what he had to give—ah, he gave his very all, his life—and, personally, I have never met a man whom it was so easy to love as quiet, philosophical, faithful "Charlie" Neild. To all our non-Catholic friends I commend Charles Melbourne Neild for a place in your memory and reverence; to fellow Catholics, pray for his sweet, pure soul. "Charlie" was good Australian from the top of his brainy head to the very soles of his agile feet. God rest his soul. When he enlisted he was in the service of the Victorian Government in his architectural capacity.

Original publication

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Citation details

Frank Sheedy, 'Neild, Charles Melbourne (Charlie) (1870–1917)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/neild-charles-melbourne-charlie-24382/text33128, accessed 23 November 2017.

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