A Grave Look at History

The Australian Perspective

Authors

  • Catherine Brew Red Plait Interpretation LLP, University of the Highlands and Islands

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i2.188

Keywords:

Australian cemeteries, cultural landscape, identity, intangible heritage, meaning

Abstract

Cemeteries are seldom what they seem. A headstone tells a brief tale, but what if there are no headstones? Is it possible to extract more than the obvious? The dearth of information most frequently encountered necessitates a more interpretive approach. As documents of social history, Australian burial places have a great capacity to reveal not only how people died, but how they lived. In providing a tangible and evocative link to past communities, the history found in cemeteries acts as an insightful ingredient in shaping cultural identity. By ‘reading’ these cultural landscapes, the wider implications of identity, meaning making and the value of individual belonging and wellbeing can be explored. The notion of ‘place making’ and ‘place meaning’ suggests a bigger responsibility to social cohesion and personal development than may be first considered.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Catherine Brew, Red Plait Interpretation LLP, University of the Highlands and Islands

Catherine Brew is a partner at Red Plait Interpretation LLP. Having trained as a landscape architect, but with an interest in cultural/historical landscapes, Catherine specializes in the interpretation and management of cemeteries. She has worked on a diverse selection of cemeteries in Australia and in the UK and enjoys researching and “reading” the landscape. Catherine has won awards for her work with indigenous communities in Australia and is currently undertaking an MSc Interpretation: Management and Practice through the University of the Highlands and Islands. She is a member of the Association for Heritage Interpretation and Interpretation Australia.

References

Anon. n.d. Ryde 1790-1926: St Annes 1826-1926, Frank S. Pacey at Registered office of Ryde Local News. Ryde: Ryde Local News.

Australia through Time. 1993. Australia through Time: 125 Years of Australian History. Sydney: Random House Australia.

Barthes, R. 2009. Mythologies. London: Vintage Books.

Brew, C. 2002. “History through Monuments: A Grave Look at History.” Unpublished Report, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia.

Carter, J. 2003. “Fickle Messengers,” Interpret Scotland, 8, 4.

Catholic Australia. 2011. “Australia and the Popes,” Catholic Australia: Church in Australia, http://www.catholicaustralia.com.au/page.php?pg=austchurch-popes07a (accessed September, 2011).

Common Ground. 2010. “Rules for Local Distinctiveness,” Common Ground, www.england-in-particular.info/cg/distinctiveness/d-rules.html (accessed May, 2010).

Crooke, E. 2007. Museums and Community: Ideas, Issues and Challenges. Abingdon: Routledge.

Gosden, C., and Lock, G. 1998. “Prehistoric Histories,” World Archaeology, 30.1, 2–12.

Hein, G. E. 1991. “Constructivist Learning Theory,” Exploratorium: Institute for Inquiry, http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/resources/constructivistlearning (accessed April, 2011).

Helbig, K. 2011. “Plot to Reuse Queensland Graves Every 40 Years to Free Up Burial Space,” Courier Mail, http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/plot-to-reuse-queensland-graves-every-40-years-to-free-up-burial-space/story-e6freoof-1226073963667 (accessed September, 2011).

Historic Scotland. 2002. “Passed to the Future: Historic Scotland’s Policy for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment.” Unpublished Report.

Kearney, A. 2009. “Global Awareness and Local Interest,” in L. Smith, N. Akagawa, eds, Intangible Heritage. London and New York: Routledge, 209–25.

Munjeri, D. 2004. “Tangible and Intangible Heritage: From Difference to Convergence,” Museum International, 56.1-2, 12–20.

National Library of Australia. 2011. “Australian Birth Death and Marriage Records,” National Library of Australia, http://www.nla.gov.au/collect/genealogy/bdm/ (accessed September, 2011).

Palmer, Bryan. 1996. “Nineteenth-Century Canada and Australia: The Paradoxes of Class Formation,” Labour/Le Travail, 38, Fall, 16–36.

Reeves, Keir. 2005. “Tracking the Dragon Down Under: Chinese Cultural Connections in Gold Rush Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand,” Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, 3.1, 49–66.

Relph, Edward. 2008. Place and Placelessness. 2nd reprint with new preface. London: Pion.

Sagazio, C. 1992. Cemeteries: Our Heritage. Melbourne: National Trust of Australia.

Sneddon, G. 1997. Landprints: Reflections of Place and Landscape. Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

The National Trust of Australia [NSW]. 2011. “2011 Advocacy Agenda,” National Trust of Australia (NSW), http://www.nationaltrust.com.au/advocacy/agenda/ (accessed October, 2011).

The National Trust of Australia (WA) and Museums Australia (WA). 2007. Sharing our Stories: Guidelines for Heritage Interpretation. West Perth: The National Trust of Australia and Museums Australia.

Vanclay, F. 2008. “Place Matters,” in F. Vanclay, M. Higgins, and A. Blackshaw, eds., Making Sense of Place: Exploring Concepts and Expressions of Place through Different Senses and Lenses. Canberra: National Museum of Australia Press, 3–11.

Published

2013-11-26

How to Cite

Brew, C. (2013). A Grave Look at History: The Australian Perspective. Fieldwork in Religion, 8(2), 188–198. https://doi.org/10.1558/firn.v8i2.188

Issue

Section

Articles