Celebration born of tradition
AJAY Gallagher continued a near century-old tradition when he was christened yesterday at St Aidan’s Anglican Church in Eureka.
In fact, little Ajay represented the fourth generation of Gallaghers to be christened at the picturesque site.
And amazingly, family members from all four generations were there for Ajay’s service.
Ajay’s big moment was witnessed by his father Darren, his grandfather Murray and his great-grandfather Eric, all of whom were christened there.
The tradition started with Eric, who was christened by the church’s first rector, Reverend George Ure, in 1915.
Eric’s christening took place only 20 years after the church opened in 1895 as the first Church of England parish in the Byron Shire.
Ajay’s grandfather Murray was christened at Eureka in 1947, with Darren welcomed to the world in 1976.
Over lunch yesterday, the family believed Ajay was the first Gallagher male to be christened at Eureka since his dad.
For this reason, relatives travelled from far and wide for yesterday’s event.
Ajay, his mother Tova and father Darren came up from Richmond, north west of Sydney, where Darren is based with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
And while Darren’s defence commitments meant he wasn’t able to marry Tova at the Eureka church, they were keen to make up for it yesterday.
“Our whole family history is invested in this church,” Darren said.
Yesterday’s celebration would help make Ajay a Gallagher just like his dad, grandad and great-granddad.
“He’ll have identity,” Darren said.
“The boy, as he gets older, will understand the gravity of it.”
Darren acknowledged how fortunate it was that everyone could be together for this momentous occasion.
“It means a lot to my granddad and that has to mean a lot to me,” he said.
The christening of Gallagher males at Eureka is just one tradition Ajay will carry on.
He also shares his middle name Howard with the males on his mother Tova’s side of the family, in memory of Tova’s grandmother whose maiden name was Howard.
Darren also said it was good to be back in the area after spending plenty of time here when he was young.
“We spent a lot of time as kids growing up here visiting our grandparents,” he said.
“Driving into this area, the stress just falls off you.”
Living in a stress-free part of the world has obviously worked for Eric, who, despite being in his 90s, only moved off the Eureka farm where he was born, in 2008.
Although he has left his farm, he takes comfort in the knowledge his family will keep returning to the same Eureka church as new family members arrive.
Darren said he was keen for Ajay to keep the tradition going by one day christening his own son at Eureka, even if it meant giving Ajay some military-style directions.
“If this is church is still open, I’ll make him do it,” he said with a wry smile.