Harry McNeish's Grave

On 10 May 1959, the unveiling of a headstone over the grave of one Harry McNeish took place. The story is a moving one. McNeish, Scots born, was a survivor of the Endurance expedition of 1914- 17 and in fact look part in that bravest of all small - boat voyages - the crossing from Elephant Island to South Georgia. McNeish was the expedition carpenter, a vital skill for survival. Eventually he came to live in New Zealand and died, aged 64, in Wellington Hospital in September 1930, three years before the Antarctic Society came into being.

Although his funeral was marked by full naval honors, his grave at Karori Cemetery, unmarked, revealed none of the manšs gallant past. Les Quartermain, man of letters, was delighted to learn of the existence of McNeish's diary in the Alexander Turnbull Library and published portions of it in the newsletter "Antarctic" in the early

1950s. At the same time he urged the council to do something commemorative about the grave, and thus was conceived a project somewhat out of the ordinary - to erect a suitably inscribed head-stone acknowledging an "epic boat voyage with Shackleton". The society's leading figures attended the unveiling, performed on a cold and grey day with a flag flown at Scott Base on a previous season.

In June 2004, Harry McNeish's grave was the subject of some maintenance as part of the Mrs Chippy Project. During the early part of 2004 the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Antarctic Society raised funds to place a life sized bronze statute of Harry's cat 'Mrs Chippy' on his grave.

Click here... for a map to help you find Harry's grave and the staute of Mrs Chippy in Karoi Cemetery .

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