Memorial Window to Boer War Veteran under floor for 80 years


In need of restoration

Author: Faithe Jones

Posted on

When a new brick chancel and tower were planned in 1929-30, the window was deemed unsuitable for the new building and it was 'reverently placed under the floor of the new building', where it lay for more than 80 years. It is hoped that funds can be raised for its conservation and relocation as it is one of very few Boer War memorial windows in Victoria.

A memorial to Private John Charlton was under discussion only a month after his death when a large crowd gathered in the Castle Creek hall to hear the Rev. Frederick W Wray (incumbent St. Paul's 1896-1902) deliver a lecture entitled, 'Incidents of the War', followed by a musical program: the proceeds were in aid of the memorial window fund. The Rev. Wray served as an Army Chaplain, accompanying the 2nd Contingent to South Africa in early 1900. He was invalided home with enteric fever in mid-1901 and thus had a good understanding of John Charlton's experience at war. Wray was later a distinguished Senior Chaplain in the First World War, receiving the CMG and CBE for his service.

The addition of a timber chancel to enlarge St. Paul's Church, Euroa was an opportunity to install the three-light window, made by Brooks, Robinson & Co., which was unveiled by the Venerable Archdeacon Hindley of Melbourne on 13 January 1903. Although primarily made up of diamond leadlights with ornamental borders in an Art Nouveau style, emblems of the Cross were inserted in the heads of the outer lights. The taller central light featured a symbolic representation of the shield, helmet and sword mentioned in the text, taken from Paul the Apostle's epistle to the Ephesians 6: 16-17.

John Charlton was born in 1878 at Castle Creek, Euroa. He was one of Mary and Walter Charlton's eight children.John joined the 5th Mounted Rifles Contingent of the Colonial Military Forces that departed from Melbourne for South Africa on 15 February 1901. The Regiment took part in major fighting, notably at Wilmansrust.  Charlton was reported in the Argus as 'dangerously ill' with enteric fever in Pretoria only a few days before he died on 16th August 1901.Trooper John Charlton's name is among those commemorated on the Boer War Memorial, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne.

Two other Charlton brothers, Francis and Robert, lost their lives in the First World War: Private Francis Alexander Charlton, 7 Battalion, was killed on 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli and Sergeant Robert Charlton, 21 Battalion, was killed in action in France on 3 May 1917.

Last updated: