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The Memoirs of Keighley Edward Graham 1904-1974

Ne oublie: Never Forget

The Graham Family motto, Ne oublie, means “Never forget”. This is particularly apt in the context of the life and Memoirs of Keighley Edward Graham. Having embarked for Australia in 1927, he never forgot his roots nor the family and friends he had left behind in England, and they too him, and, in the final year of his life, he saw the need to provide some legacy for his grandchildren in the diary entries he recorded between 31 March and 17 August 1974. The latter perhaps borne out of an acute sense of mortality, but a mortality no lesser man nor woman would try to disguise when writing to reminisce at the end of their life.

I never really knew my grandfather. I was barely five when he died but I have some vague recollection of visits to Algate Farm in Mount Helena, approximately 50 kilometres east of Perth, Western Australia. Nevertheless, I grew up with stories passed on by my mother, Elizabeth, from her father, Keighley, which told of the allure and romanticism of Castle Crine, the Butlers, Colonel John Higgin Graham, Aunt Beatrice and the tragedy of “Our Camelot”, beautifully created, never really owned, by the Grahams that is, yet tragically destroyed.

To this day, a melancholy resides in many of our hearts not to mention that of the people of Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Ireland, like Patrick “Paddy” Moloney who believed Castle Crine should never have been demolished. However, it was the decision of Zoe Butler-Henderson, the eldest daughter of Lady Clarina, Sophia Mary Butler, who would eventually sell Castle Crine Estate to the Land Commission after gaining substantial profit from the felling of its nearby timber and the removal of its lead roof tiles. That said, this was early in a decade, the 1950s, when Britain had just emerged, battered and bruised, from six years of total war, and its landed gentry, though somewhat cushioned by the economic blows of World War Two, came to realise the real cost of “Old World” Estates in a new post-war era.

Yet with every tragedy, there is renewal. For my family, it is our relationship with our cousins in England, Ri (Rosemary), Patrick and John, and their children, Tessa, Sarah, Leah, Hannah and Rebecca, and our friends in Sixmilebridge, in particular Neil Keogh and his wife, Annette, to whom my grandfather would be eternally grateful and whose friendship my family will forever treasure.

Neil Keogh, in the Australian jargon, is a larrikin. He can be a bit rowdy when he has one hand on a Guinness and the other, at times, on a cigarette, but what Irishman or Australian isn’t. Yet, he has a heart of gold and it has been through his efforts, almost single-handedly, that the dilapidated Entrance or Gate Lodge, the old Coach House, Stables and the man-made pond, known as Swan Lake, have been restored. He is a credit to his community, his family and ancestors, many of whom worked at Castle Crine before it was demolished.

Grant Miocevich (left) and Neil Keogh (right) at the Old House Pub, Sixmilebridge, County Clare, 1998
Grant Miocevich (left) and Neil Keogh (right)
at the Old House Pub, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, 1998

The English often say that Australians have an obsession with Gallipoli. The same could be said, to a lesser degree, of the Graham Family and Castle Crine. It is primarily this reason why the Grieve Family history (that of my grandmother, Nancy) is often overshadowed by that of the Graham Family in Western Australia. Nevertheless, there is great pride in our maternal Scottish heritage.

When editing any historical work, it seldom speaks for itself. What I have endeavoured to do with my Grandfather’s diary or memoirs is to weave a more visual and encompassing picture of the Graham Family and Keighley’s life within it by including various textual and pictorial sources throughout which inform of a wider story or history. This process has been punctuated by time and my need to explore the Graham Family history in England, Ireland and Canada. To this end, I must acknowledge the following:

My mother, Elizabeth Clennett (formerly Miocevich nee Graham), who inspired my love of history and all things Graham.

Neil Keogh, for keeping the spirit of Castle Crine alive for all to see.

Ri (Rosemary) Barnes (nee Graham), for her generosity of heart in sharing her recollections of Castle Crine and the Graham Family and for initiating a meeting with my Great Aunt, Trixie Graham, in 1998, which would lead to four years of correspondence before her passing in 2002.

My first cousins (once removed), Patrick and John Graham, for always making our family welcome in the “Old Dart”.

Jean and Mike Morris, who were dear friends of my Great Aunt, Trixie Graham, in good times and bad, and who my wife, Megan, and I visited in 2003.

Grant Miocevich
4 May 2006

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