In Melbourne, at the corner of Dandenong Road and Hotham Street, lies St Kilda Cemetery.
I’ve driven past it hundreds of times, and never stopped to look, but today I did.
J was doing something else, so I hopped on a train to Windsor and rode the tram four stops down Dandenong road to the cemetery.
It’s a typical Victorian cemetery, laid out by denomination and is still a ‘working’ cemetery, meaning that the original separation by creed doesn’t quite hold with Greek Orthodox and Confucian burials shoe horned in wherever a plot has become free.
The cemetery is slightly tatty and down at heel, but most of the grave sites seem to be in relatively good order.
Most of the graves date from the late Victorian era and the early part of last century, with quite a few of young men who died on the western front, but there’s also the rather over the top monument of Ferdinand von Mueller, the first government botanist in Victoria and founder of the Melbourne Herbarium
It’s not von Mueller’s only monument – his name is scattered across Australia, including a creek on the Great Ocean Road, reflecting both his immense contribution to botany in nineteenth century Australia and his many expeditions, so maybe we’ll forgive him his massively over the top monument …