Batley memorial chapel, Moawhango

Batley memorial chapel, Moawhango

This picturesquely-sited chapel, designed by Whanganui architect Alfred A. Atkins, was built by Robert and Emily Batley as a memorial to their daughter Nellie, who had drowned at Port Chalmers, Otago, in 1899, aged 21. The marble plaque beside the entrance is inscribed: 'Erected to / the beloved memory of / Nellie / eldest daughter of / Robert Thompson and Emily Batley / - / January 29th 1902'. (The service of dedication was held on 6 March 1902.) 

Tragically, the Batleys’ son Robert drowned in the Moawhango River the following year, also at the age of 21. The chapel contains a number of plaques commemorating members of the family.

See: Church Chronicle, May 1902, pp. 69-71; 'Moawhango', Wanganui Herald, 9/5/1902, p. 2; Douglas D R Cresswell, Early New Zealand Families: Second Series, Christchurch, 1956, pp. 56-64; Pat Booth, 'The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Memories of Moawhango', North & South, December 1986, pp. 57-65; Tony Batley, 'The Evolution of Moawhango', Journal of the Whanganui Historical Society, vol 19, no. 1, May 1988, pp. 18-19; 'Batley Memorial Chapel', Heritage New Zealand, 2012; Andrew Stewart, 'The Sky's the Limit', Farmers Weekly, 20 November 2018.

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