Thursday, September 29, 2016

Drayton & Toowoomba Cemetery

We realized recently that there is a large cemetery in Toowoomba, one of the oldest ones in Queensland. It is also significantly larger than the ones we've explored in Australia so far. So we traveled to the western side of Toowoomba to investigate.

This is a large cemetery with relatively few trees. The cemetery art ranges from the humble to the sublime. Some people insisted on monuments that were tall, presumably so that it could be seen from anywhere on the grounds

We also found markers that brought the Victorian era to Australia.

This cemetery was surveyed in 1850. Drayton was founded by Thomas Alford in 1843 who built a general store, a post office, and his home here. He named it after his home village in Somerset.

As Drayton began to grow, a nearby settlement, Toowoomba, grew faster since it had a better water supply. Thus, this became the Drayton and Toowoomba Cemetery.

These small markers are for young children and infants.

One of the typical Victorian examples of sorrow and loss is the draped urn.

The one below adds a wreath located askew near the midsection of the urn. All these images of something broken, covered, out of place, or incomplete were used by the Victorians to represent their loss.

Other markers are more modest and provide information about the residents. Older cemeteries of any size in Australia are divided by congregation to which the interred below. Originally, this was to indicate which portion of the grounds was to be maintained by which church.

In the "Old Catholic Section" ("old" here presumably means the original section(s) set aside, not the "old Catholics") we find some of the more expensive monuments. The one below is a tribute to a father with a stained glass window and the statue of an angle under a stone cover.

This is an extensive and interesting place and I've only scratched the surface here. I'll get some pictures in a second post tomorrow. I am also quite sure that we will visit again and there may be another post one day.