Monday, 30 January 2012

Taphophile Tragics # 6 - Persona


As I travel around your posts, it becomes clear that there are considerable cultural differences that become manifest in our burial practices. The differences between Tierra del Fuego, and Mexico, and Eastern Europe are massive. But there are also more subtle differences within cultures. Canada, the USA and Australia have a relatively similar culture. Relatively. But their cemeteries and graveyards have differences. Even within Australia, the cemeteries have their own character, their own persona, if that is an acceptable way of expressing it.


Some are bright and cheerful, some are airy and expansive, yet others are dreary and full of doom. This week I have selected shots from some of the cemeteries around Sydney which I have visited. I top and tail with my new graveyard this week, the burial ground attached to St Jude's, Randwick. It was established in 1865 and has quite a few graves from that year. It is still taking internments, but it is not a bright and cheery place.

The second and third (small) shots are from Botany Cemetery (what used to be known as Bunnerong Cemetery). It is the brightest cemetery I have every wandered. See those gardens where the people are walking, I will end up in there somewhere.

The middle large shot is from the South Head cemetery. It has an imposing site overlooking the Pacific Ocean, not as imposing as Waverley Cemetery, but not bad.

The fourth and fifth (small) shots are from Randwick and Gore Hill. I have deliberately shown the overgrown ragged area of Gore Hill to contrast with the dreary concrete and granite of Randwick. Gore Hill is a delight, whereas Randwick is plain sad. However, in its favour, Randwick has wonderful statues and adornments.

A bit like children, really. Each with its own quirky little nature.


This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

15 comments:

Kate said...

I'm been following your taphophile stories and you inspire me to try it also when I return to MN.

hamilton said...

I really like that garden one where you will be someday - in the far future.

Peter said...

A diverse selection, like the last cast iron shot.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Like you, I am learning as I look at more and more cemeteries, that there is quite a distinctive character in each one! The character seems to evolve from original design of those who established the cemetery and then takes on a "life" of its own dependent on those who create various "monuments" there! And round it all, there is the changing face of the environment!

Your photos are fascinating, highlighting this feature!

NixBlog said...

Great shots, Julie, but I love that first one!

Ann said...

Of these I prefer St Jude's, not a fan of modern cemeteries.

Jim said...

All terrific shots. I like the art deco design of the chapel/crematorium at Botany.

tapirgal said...

Oh, I see You have FB and then the comments. Here it is again: Julie, I loved your descriptions. The diversity is so interesting, whether it's broad cultural diversity or those subtleties within a culture or area or relating to a single grave or family. It's sometimes freaky and sometimes comforting to think of where one might eventually lie. You really addressed that one head-on! I wonder about that for myself and will probably talk about it in an upcoming post one of these days. For now I prefer to think of these posts more in terms of history…. It's a way of coming close and still skirting the issue. Plus, history is always fascinating :-)

Joan Elizabeth said...

I was interested in your point about Canada, USA and Australia. The differences are not only reflected in the gravestones but in the funeral practices .. my sister's burial in Canada had quite a few differences.

One memory is standing by the graveside in snow feeling the cold seeping into my toes ... in comparison to my father's funeral which was also in January where the sun burning on my black shoes felt like fire.

VioletSky said...

I must admit that for all the wandering I have done in cemeteries, I have not really paid that much attention. I treat them like a walk in a park with interesting stones to look at. I am also now seeing them as distinctive personalities.

Mark said...

Gore Hill is a great cemetery. Great post Julie. Nothing for TT this week hopefully next time.

biebkriebels said...

I think all the differences make a cemetery so interesting. That is exactly why I am always so curious to wtch them. Thanks for showing your pictures.
Marianne

JM said...

What a fantastic post, Julie! I especially love the stone works on top, the colourful flowers on the graves and the perspective at the bottom. Awesome shots!

Thank you very much for the nice comment.

Regarding Frida Kahlo: I'm a big fan of hers! I had the chance to visit her home, the Casa Azul (Blue House) in Coyoacán, Mexico City, and I just LOVED it. She was just great!

Alan said...

I've never ranked cemeteries before, but South Head takes the prize for me. You should visit Ireland some day. No shortage of fascinating graveyards there...

diane b said...

The differences from cemetery to cemetery is interesting and of course the different cultures.I love the South Head pic. My parents are buried in Woronora Cemetery. Let me know if you go there and I'll give you their address so you can take a pic for me. It is in walking distance from the train station at Sutherland.Yeah! I'm a shire girl (unheard of in my youth)