Wednesday, 19 October 2011

What goes around : the travails of a graveyard tragique


As I stumbled around this desolate, crumbling cemetery today, I finally realised what it is that draws me to the dormitory of the big-sleep. It is that soft touch upon the sandstone, the movement of the eye across the inscription, the emotion of the heart as the dates and causes are ingested. What goes around, comes around. My visit goes some small way to remembering them. And, very occasionally, I am moved to give them voice again. To choose a headstone, any headstone upon which my fancy flutters, and, using modern technology, virtually recreate the person, for a fleeting moment.

And so, today, we have PIERRE AMBOISE DUTRUC. I guess because he is French, and I have an interest. But also, it occurred to me that his headstone is so bold, yet so uninformative.


Monsieur Dutruc migrated to Australia to teach French at the developing Sydney Grammar School, and eventually became a Reader in French at the newly established University of Sydney where, in 1861 he was paid 35 pounds per annum. At the same time, Pierre was the Vice Consul for Sardinia, Piedmont and Genoa. Proving that he could multi-task, he also was a wine and spirit merchant with premises at 142 George St (in 1855) and 185 Pitt St in 1876. M. Dutruc was a councillor on Randwick Council from 1867 - 1871 and has a street named after him. His wife, Louise (on the left, above), died in 1890. They had a daughter, Nellie (on the right, above). He published three volumes that were collected by David Scott Mitchell (of State Library reknown):
in 1871 'The Parterre of Flora - an emblematic dialogue with illustrative poetry';
in 1877 a French grammar book published by Angus & Robertson; and
in 1878 'The Nightingale of Plomeur', fame and fortune in 24 hours, a comedy.
Alas and alack, no photograph of Monsieur Pierre Amboise Dutruc could be located. All this begs the question: Why is the headstone so taciturn?

14 comments:

J Bar said...

Interesting find.

Tena Russ said...

As a fellow taphophile, I love your series on cemeteries. Thank you for posting.

Halcyon said...

I love that first shot with the bird. Takes my breath away.

Kay L. Davies said...

Interesting question, Julie. I would think a line or two from one of his poems should have been on his tombstone, at least.
His wife has a determined look around her mouth. the daughter inherited her mother's big eyes but looks frightened rather than determined.
Maybe he wasn't such a nice guy, made his wife annoyed and his daughter fearful. History books don't tell all.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Breathtaking said...

Interesting and intriguing read.
Pity there are no photos of this
illustious french man.

The bird in your photo is a beauty.

Ann said...

I like the DoF on your new lens.

Joe said...

Fascinating post Julie. Great idea to use your blog to remember past lives and pose an enigma or two.

Peter said...

A wonderful piece of research to accompany the photos.

diane b said...

You have an interesting hobby there. Nice bird and DOF shot. What the heck is a taphophile?

Tena Russ said...

diane b, taphophilia is "a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries." Taphophile is the singular.

Julie said...

And I should have jumped on in after having read Tess' comment nigh on 24 hours ago. It is a great word, 'Tahpophile', which I had no idea existed. However, there is a FB group that uses that name! Did I find that via your blog Tess? I appreciate knowing the word.

Tena Russ said...

Julie, as a lover of unusual words and cemeteries, I was pretty excited to find taphophilia.

Tena

freefalling said...

Maybe he wasn't a very nice person - and his rellies thought that was all he deserved.

Dina said...

Thanks for the nice post AND the new word. Now that I know the name for it I can add taphophilia to my list of interests.