Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Outback Cemeteries

There are tens of thousands of cemeteries dotted throughout Australia brimming with tragic and beautiful stories. Ordinary people who have done extraordinary things, people dragged down in tragedy, poverty, disease, accident and human error.
Visiting one of these places is a fascinating experience, especially if you can do a little bit of reading about the history beforehand. Broken hill cemetery, for example, holds victims of the infamous Battle of Broken Hill (also known as the Picnic Train Massacre) where two disgruntled Muslims, angry over a series of essentially racist actions by the townsfolk, ambushed a group of white Australians on their way to a picnic on the local train. The would-be dacoits hid in the countryside three kilometres out of town and took pot shots at the train, killing and wounding several locals before they rallied round and chased the perps down and killed them. Each cemetery has its own unique and moving tales - some of which are revealed in the headstone inscriptions and some through a bit of research...

Bad luck comes in fours? Headstone in Wellington cemetery
Sometimes the simple graves are the most moving (Broken Hill cemetery)
Once all the relatives have either passed away or moved on, there's no one to look after the graves in these remote, hot and barren places (White Cliffs)
Lone angel in Broken Hill's town cemetery

Broken heart and broken headstone in Broken Hill
Black-and-white infra-red shot from Silverton cemetery
Cemetery at Silverton. Although most of the houses have been uprooted and the materials shifted back to Broken Hill, the cemetery remains. All 40 acres of it. It's an incredible place, covered in small shrubs, brimming with butterflies and bird life. This is an infra-red black and white image made with my converted EOS 400D.
Blighted Hopes indeed. Silverton cemetery, Canon EOS 400D infra-red
Some outback cemeteries seem to be almost exclusively populated by young children
A lone grave marker in the equally barren and exposed cemetery at White Cliffs
One of the best headstones I found at least, Broken Hill cemetery

No comments:

Post a Comment