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';Alas and alack, no photograph of Monsieur Pierre Amboise Dutruc could be located. All this begs the question: Why is the headstone so taciturn?
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.