A stroll through a cemetery - reflecting on how people deal with loss.



When you're spending so much time inside in quarantine, as many of us are at this time, and with many recreational and natural areas closed, it has become harder and harder to find places where one can safely socially distances.


Half of Hobart seems to have taken up jogging, running or biking, and the other half have dogs or small children who apparently need to be taken out for frequent walks. So, where else is one to go but a graveyard to avoid all this ?


I also must admit that I have developed a fascination with graveyards over the last few years and did some extensive photography of old graveyards when doing some location scouting for the TV series "The Gloaming" ( now on Stan - check it out ). Although the historical graves are interesting in a way, they can be often quite worn away and spartan. More recent ones can often tell more of a story.


Sometimes they may reveal something about the times through the young ages of the deceased, or the design or carvings on the grave may reflect a taste of the era now well gone. Others may reveal the status or social standing of the individual by size or the elaborateness of the grave or tomb.


Wandering around the Cornelian Bay cemetery, the largest in Tasmania, you can see so many and varied ways that people are buried, honoured and remembered by those they have left behind. While some graves may look generic and conventional, each tells a story through the words on the epitaph or the objects left on the grave. Some tell a story of grief and loss that tears at your heart strings. Here are just a few examples....



As you can see, some of the graves were of young children, some barely infants, and the graves strewn with toys, teddy bears and other childhood objects screamed at me of the brutal grief of parents suffering and deal with an incalculable loss


I also went there because I was hoping to get some dramatic photos of the stone statues against the ominous clouds on a wet rainy day, with the last rays of light from the day providing an eerie and atmospheric look. I wasn't as successful with this aim as I'd hoped, but I managed to get a few and I particularly like the silhouetted angel.



I often find myself looking at these gravestones which may give a hint at the person's life, and want to know more about them. I have done a lot of research on the history of my own family background recently, with the help of sites like Ancestry.com , and have occasionally searched the names on the gravestones on the site to satisfy my curiousity.


My historical discovery today was to stumble on the Jewish cemetery, which I had only ever heard about. It contains remains of some of the first Jewish inhabitants of Hobart, before 1850, which were previously buried in Harrington St graveyard, but now there is a small memorial where they were reinterred.




I certainly would like to know more about this part of the cemetery and about the people buried there and what their lives must have been like back in the 19th and early 20th century.



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