The tree symbolises the fragility of life and this memorial, with its lopped upper branches, truly shows how fragile the life of Douglas Mary Horton and her son Claude Ramsay Stafford were. The ivy coils entwining the trunk represent hope and immortality.
Douglas Mary Horton (nee Ramsay) was born in New Zealand but came to Australia as a child. She had an extended family in Camden and Picton through her mother, including George Rogers who built the Methodist Chapels at Upper Picton and Glenmore. Douglas married Edwin Stafford and had four children with Claude being the second one born in 1885. He was five when his father died. His mother remarried a railwayman, Lachlan Horton in 1894 and lived briefly in Menangle Street until her own death at 42 in 1896. Claude was now an orphan at 12.
Claude’s grandparents, William and Elizabeth Stafford lived at American Creek near Mt Kembla. It is probable that Claude lived with them when he was employed at the Mt Kembla Mine. On July 31st 1902, the mine exploded when gas and coal dust ignited. The explosion caused the death of 96 men and boys including Claude Stafford and three of his cousins. His body was brought to the surface four days later and interred at the Anglican Cemetery at Mt Kembla where a handsome headstone was erected.
The memorial to Claude at St Mark’s is at the base of the tree trunk with the inscription for his mother is above and difficult to read.