This is one of the most visited memorials in Rookwood, indeed, THE most visited. But I guess that is because it is presented in a particular way that appeals to the egalitarian nature of most Australians. And because it is on the schools' visiting programme. For mine, it is the salutary story of one who believed his own promotion.
John Frazer was a mercantilist of the nineteenth century, a shopkeeper if you will. Not to denigrate that noble calling, but it is just the way you earn your living. No more, no less. Not in my eyes. It is what you DO with your wealth, should you have the skills and the wit to accumulate same, that may justify your place in history, if that is what you crave. Frazer sought to memorialise himself to his city, by building water fountains to enable the citizenry access to fresh water as they go about their day. There is a Frazer Fountain in Albert Square, at the entrance to Domain Road, opposite St Mary's Cathedral. There is another Frazer Fountain in Hyde Park North at the pedestrian crossing over College Street to access Sydney Grammar School. This latter has been moved twice already as the city grew around it. The Albert Square fountain has had its water disconnected because of the futility of trying to access it in the middle of a traffic roundabout. A classic folly in pursuit of renown.
|Yet Frazer's most grandiose folly is the monument built to house his mortal remains. Its footprint is in the shape of a giant tear-drop, bordered by a wrought-iron fence of which the lead photograph is part. Frazer died in 1884, leaving an estate of 405,000 pounds. Although others of his family were also eventually interred in the vault, due to fears of vandalism, the remains were more recently dis-interred and cremated. His descendants donated the monument as a shelter for birds, asking that the high windows be removed to allow them access. Within 6 months, the windows had to be boarded up again, because the birds were attracting vermin.|
So rather than a testament to John Frazer, Esq., the Frazer Vault stands as a testament to the workmanship of stonemasons of the past. Egalitarianism will have out.