Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Taphophile Tragics - An eternity of isolation


This is the romantically named Cemetery No. 3, out on North Head, part of the old Quarantine Station. Yesterday reached 17C but out on Noth Head the winds were biting and buffetting. However, it did not dissuade a horde of people, cyclists, joggers, tourists, and picnickers. It really is a delightful place from which to get a totally different perspective of our city.


This cemetery was opened in 1881, and is located some distance away from the Quarantine Station itself, as the previous cemeteries were confronting and, apparently, smelt. There are 241 people interred here. Not all graves are marked. They died as a result of smallpox, the rat plague, and isolated infections brought back from the trenches of WW1. There seemed to be a majority of young men in their 20s. There were children, too.

As you can see, it is immensely beautiful, and there is a group that is dedicated to its maintenance. The flower below is the hardy. but infrequently found, Flannel Flower.

Next week I will be ready to tell you the story of Cemetery #1 and Cemetery #2, and to start the stories of the poor souls forever consigned to isolation.



This is my contribution to the Taphophile Tragics community.

16 comments:

Peter said...

The quarantine station has some stories to be told, looks cold and windswept. I pity the poor souls consigned there.

VioletSky said...

since this was a quarantine island, I am expecting that the families were maybe forbidden from visiting?

Julie said...

Not an island, Sanna, but a peninsula. There are (two) pincers that mark the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Both of them are ex-navy land, and are both now within National Parks. But, yes, being military lands, the family would not have been welcome. Being quarantined was very VERY strict, as you may well imagine.

Mark said...

I have never been to North Head so I look forward to the next few weeks. Looks windswept, great shots.

Joe said...

I hope they found some peace in their isolation.

Julie said...

I suspect not, Joe. Their death would have been lonely, isolated, and gruesome. The only consolation would have been the speed - often only 48 hours.

Nicola Carpenter said...

Such a beautiful spot for those who died such awful deaths to rest.

Beneath Thy Feet

Deb said...

Hard to imagine living in a world pre antibiotics and pre vaccines, where any infection could be fatal.
Love the clumps of wild flowers amid the graves.

diane b said...

But it is a beautiful resting place. I remember seeing loads of Flannel flowers as a kid romping through the bush at Loftus.
Your great great grandparents lived to an old age for those days. It looks like you might have a long future.

Joan Elizabeth said...

The windswept health out there is marvellous ... not sure I would want to be there in a winter wind however.

hamilton said...

the windswept look of this spot with the plants growing wild and the city far off in the distance beyond the water suit their story very well. this is a quite touching post.

CaT said...

that looks like quite an interesting cemetery, with all the flowers.
i start to realize that there are not that many wild flowers growing around here. yes, there are the manicured gardens, but thats boring. and blossom trees in spring, beautiful. but i miss the flowers!

Ann said...

This is one I'd like to have a look at. Do you need to do a tour or can you do it independently, how do you get there by public transport?

bettyl said...

What a delicate and beautiful flower.

Julie said...

OOps ... forgot to answer your question about North Head, Ann.

NO need to do a tour - I didn't. I took the ferry to Manly. Then to the 135 bus from Stand J. Now that is on the OTHER side of the road that you come out on. Walk diagonally across, and it is the only Stand there. Very bloody cold. Now on a Sunday the bus I caught was the 11:38 as many of the others no longer run. You are heading for North Fork Museum. The bus goes to the museum (there is a lovely Italian cafe there, too) waits for 5 minutes and does the return trip. This is on a cycle of 2 hours. Which is tons of time. Cemetery #3 is beside the museum but not sign-posted that I could see. If you look at Google maps and zoom in, it is pretty bloody obvious.

wilf said...

Beautiful flowers! Love the shot.