Burial register ID: 12349
Surname: BRAIK
First name: ALEXANDER
Middle names: M
Gender: Male
Age: 58 Years
Cause of death: Unknown
Burial type:
Date of death: 26-Oct-1912
Date of burial: 30-Oct-1912

Block: 5
Plot: 4A

Bio contributor: David Murray

Alexander Mennie Braik (c.1854-1912)

Alexander Braik was born in Huntly, Scotland, in about 1854. He was a printer by trade and in Dunedin he worked for the Saturday Advertiser newspaper and in J. Wilkie’s office before joining in partnership with D. S. Jolly. Braik was Precentor of Knox Church in the early 1880s. The job of the precentor was to lead the singing, which in the Presbyterian Church traditionally only included psalms, which were sung without organ or other instrumental accompaniment. Braik was described as a ‘Scot through and through, loyal to his country and his God, a man of strong convictions, and fearless in his expression of them’. He was ‘well versed in the literature of his country, and greatly attached to its music’. The organ was eventually introduced to Knox Church in 1882, and for much of the next 20 years Braik was choirmaster there. He also taught singing at the Teachers’ Training College, the trainee teachers having to pass this subject in order to get their teaching certificate. Here Braik used the popular sol fa teaching method, which taught using different names for different pitches rather than traditional musical notation. It was said that Braik had ‘wonderful results in the way of making young people read at sight.

In addition to his musical duties at Knox, Braik was conductor of the Dunedin Burns Club choir and the musical director for two major Dunedin events. In 1898 he organized the Exhibition Choir of 600 children. In 1901 he organised and conducted a massed choir of 3000 voices at the schools’ demonstration performed for the visiting Duke and Duchess of York, entertaining royalty with such patriotic numbers as Red, White and Blue, and The Empire’s Flag.

Braik’s wife Jeannie died in 1896 and two years later he married Mary Theresa Crompton, of Christchurch. In April 1912 Braik was knocked down by a car in Stuart Street and suffered serious injuries. He died the following October at the age of 58, survived by his second wife and three daughters from his first marriage.

Otago Daily Times, 28 October 1912
Evening Star, 29 October 1912
Papers Past: The Otago Witness; Tuapeka Times
History of Knox Church by John Hislop (1892)
City of Dunedin by K.C. McDonald

There are 4 Interments in this grave:

Surname First names Age Date of death Date of burial
BRAIK ALEXANDER M 58 Years 26-Oct-1912 30-Oct-1912
BRAIK JEANIE 21 Years 13-Jul-1902 15-Jul-1902
BRAIK JEANIE JESSIMAN 43 Years 06-Jan-1896 08-Jan-1896
BRAIK MARY THERSEA 59 Years 03-Mar-1913 04-Mar-1913