Waking Albury’s Dead: An Investigation into How Tombstones and Epitaphs in the Cemeteries at Albury, NSW, Reflect Grief and Memorial Trends.

Elizabeth Morgan

Abstract


This article examines the cemeteries at Albury, New South Wales, in order to track changes in Australian memorialisation traditions since the mid-nineteenth century. The Victorian ‘cult of mourning’, arising from Georgian traditions and modified to particularly Australian habits in the colony, emphasised public displays of grief. The dual processes of secularisation and World War I brought an end to public grief and, following World War II, death became taboo, as medicine and bureaucracy moved death out of its traditional place in the home, into cemeteries styled as landscaped gardens. The work of psychiatrists in promoting the acceptance of grief in the late twentieth century has allowed the public celebration and memorialisation of the dead to become culturally appropriate again. Rather than grand Victorian funerals, however, this memorialisation takes the form of more individual and customised gravestones, ‘In Memoriam’ notices in newspapers and, in the case of those cremated whose remains are scattered rather than interred, no permanent memorial at all.


Keywords


death; grief; memorlisation; 19th century; 20th century; cemetery; funeral

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