James Edward Neild 1824-1906

James Neild

James Edward Neild

One of the last things that Neild wrote combined his profuse knowledge of pathology and Shakespeare – a humorous description of an inquest on the body of Ophelia for the Melbourne Shakespeare Society.

John Edward Neild died at his home on 17 August 1906.

 

Nevertheless, on 19 July 1890 his friend George Coppin organised a Grand Complimentary Concert in his honour at the Melbourne Town Hall, followed a week later by a Special Dramatic Matinee at the Princess. The starry list of participants included the Brough–Boucicault Company, the Bland Holt Company, the William Rignold Company, Alfred Dampier, Mrs G.B.W. Lewis, Kyrle Bellew and Mrs Brown-Potter. In August 1904 his colleagues gathered at the Vienna Café to celebrate his 80th birthday.

One of the last things that Neild wrote combined his profuse knowledge of pathology and Shakespeare – a humorous description of an inquest on the body of Ophelia for the Melbourne Shakespeare Society. Sadly he was too ill to deliver it in person. John Edward Neild died at his home on 17 August 1906. The family grave in Melbourne General Cemetery is unmarked.

A family friend, Fairlie Taylor, prepared a biography of Neild in 1969; the manuscript is preserved in the Medical History Museum at the University of Melbourne. Dr Harold Love’s definitive biography, James Edward Neild, Victorian Virtuoso, was published in 1989. He is commemorated in James Edward Neild House, formerly the property of the Australian Medical Association at 426 Albert Street, East Melbourne. The building is now part of the campus of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

Frank Van Straten, 2007

Media Gallery

Neild Concert Poster

Biographical references

Joseph Johnson: Laughter and the Love of Friends, Melbourne Savage Club, 1994
Bryan Gandevia: ‘James Edward Neild’, in Australian Dictionary of Biography, volume 5
Harold Love: ‘James Edward Neild’, in Companion to Theatre in Australia, Currency Press, 1995
Harold Love: James Edward Neild, Victorian Virtuoso, Melbourne University Press, 1989
Nellie Stewart: My Life’s Story, John Sands Ltd, 1923