How cemeteries end

Back at the end of June I tweeted a link to a story from South Africa about the looting of the Avalon cemetery in Soweto, and that’s certainly one view of how cemeteries end.

But there’s another one.

Australia, and other places, are full of nineteenth century cemeteries, and quite a few are effectively abandoned. For example, Carlyle Cemetery near Rutherglen is full of goldrush era graves, some of Chinese miners, but mostly of people of European heritage.

And of course, during the gold rush the population of the area was higher.

There’s a section of the cemetery that is still in use but there are a lot of nineteenth century graves which are untended and abandoned, graves to which people have no connection.

The rain comes, the wind blows, headstones topple and break, and  gradually things fade away.

One can imagine that in another hundred years or so, especially if the cemetery ceased to be maintained, that one would have an overgrown paddock with a few intact headstones and a lot of rubble, bits of broken monuments and the like.

Metal fitments, and even cast iron grave monuments would probably be stolen for recycling, and in the end it would simply be ‘lumps and bumps’ ….

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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