Charles Zakaroff

This to date is one of the most fascinating stories that I
have come across relating to Goldings, a book loaned to
me by John Hunt recording experience’s by boys and
girls that were born in England, but were sent to the
colonies in various parts of the world, but in the main
Canada and Australia. This young boy befriended an
Officer of the British Army stationed in Tblisi (Eastern
Russia) This young man was named Charles, he was a
shy, poor boy who relied on this Officer for food and
clothing, as his Country was what we call now
“Third World”
The Officer and Charles became very close, like father
and son, but his posting in this war torn country was
about to expire, so concerned for him, he approached
senior Officers with the suggestion that he take’s him
back home with him to England away from such poverty
and fend for him in England. This wish was granted on
the condition that this Officer must feed him, clothe and
house him at his expense in England, which he did for
many years. A few short years later this Officer died,
so he was housed by Dr Barnardo’s, and later arrived at Goldings. Now Charles wanted to go with other boys to Australia,
and not to remain at Goldings but was constantly overlooked on the roster system they used at Goldings. Prior to the visit to
Goldings by the then Prince of Wales to officially open Goldings, he decided to barricade himself in a “cubby hole “ and
refuse to leave until he was included on the list for Australia.
This story was told to the Prince on his visit to Goldings, as the Prince had noticed this “cubby hole “ housing this young
man, and as you can see approached him to enquire of his problem, and to see if he could resolve the matter. Shortly
afterwards his wish was granted, and he finally moved to Australia, setting up a very successful business in 1927, and when
he retired at seventy years of age, he returned to his original homeland to visit former friends of his village (by now he could
no longer speak his native tongue and had to use a interpreter) and tell of the soldier who so kindly “adopted” him and
mentioned his former school and friends at “Goldings”
His guide in his homeland Gulnara Abashadze quoted the following “ I saw how happy he was. His eyes were full of youthful
excitement. I observed this elderly man and his emotional feelings which endlessly overflowed him on his return to his former
homeland” In 1988 he once more returned aged 84, to his country of birth, learning more about the country of his family a
well earned prize for the once hungry and bewildered boy.


The Prince of Wales talking to Joe!! In the cubby hole at Goldings.

Page Compiled January 2006

All images and text copyright © to Goldings Old Boys reunion members

This is an abridged version of the original text

Charles Zakharoff
1905 - 1994

Charles Zakharoff was a Sydney cabbie for 60 years, a well known character whose 'regulars' included politicians (he shepherded
Sir Robert Askin on gambling errands), show business types, journalists, policemen, crooks and conmen. His flat in Randwick
housed memorabilia of this and an even earlier era.
Charles came to Australia in 1923 with the third official group of Barnardo Boys. He was born Chalva Gigolachvili in what is now
His parents died during the civil war after the Russian revolution. He was sent to an orphanage but escaped and was befriended by
British troops. He went with the 99th Artillery Battalion to Turkey as a batman to Captain Fred Elworthy, who had made him the
company mascot. A horse rider, he acted as a scout. When the battalion was posted home, Elworthy wangled his entry into the UK,
where he was taken to Barnardos and took the name Zakharoff, given him in jest "by my Captain".
He went into a long sulk over being rejected as
a child migrant by Canada and swore at the Prince of Wales when he visited Barnardos. But the Prince, on hearing the boy's story,
arranged for him to go to Australia.
In his flat, Charlie kept a photo of the Prince, another of himself as a boy in a British uniform and a third of 'my Captain', whose
grandchildren he had visited in England.
To Barnardos, 'our Charlie' was 'one in a million', who will be sadly missed. He thought the world of them as well.

A most amazing story