Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cemeteries


A visit to a new place would not be complete without a stop by a cemetery or two. On our visit to Rushworth, the old gold mining town, we found a great cemetery with lots of stories.

Every tomb stone tells a story and there were some very compelling ones in this place.


I was even pleased to find the final resting place of an old "friend".


People came flocking from around the world in the hopes of stringing it rich in the gold fields. It frequently ended in disaster and death. This family below came from Denmark. While mom and dad lived a good long life, the children were not so fortunate. Life was (is) hard in the empty and unforgiving portions of this country.


Just down the road a short drive from Rushworth as another gold mining settlement that is no more, Whroo (pronounced: roo). When the gold was spend, the town left. Much like Silverton, it literally left. There are no buildings remaining as far as we could see. It is now in a historic area and conservation reserve. It is trees and dirt roads with little signage to help you navigate. But there is a cemetery here that tells its own stories.

People here tended to dies your and often. There was never electricity in the town. It was a constant struggle for water. And, of course, a constant scramble for gold. From the records at Rushworth, it was clear that there was a constant barrage of diphtheria, typhoid, and dysentery taking young and old alike. Whroo could have been no different.


As a result, the large families were required to have even one or two reach adulthood and even then, life was tenuous.


And, as in Rushworth, people from around the world came here to struggle and die.


Most of the graves in the Whroo cemetery were unmarked. There was one made of wood. It really put me in the mind of the Shelley's Ozymandias as an attempt to create a permanent marker as a memorial to a loved one that now tells another tale altogether.


Australia was a hard place to life and, in many ways, it still is. It is hot and dry in much of the country. We killed a large spider in the house about the size of my palm - imagine what is outside! E got bit on her finger by some sort of critter and it is now blue. The water available on the farmland is safe but bad tasting. The owner filters it, we buy bottled water so we can venture out during the day.

Our "hardships" seem trivial compared to the life or death situations of 75 or 100 years ago. But there people still dying from the heat and floods now rage in Perth...average monthly rain totals in a day. Putting such things in perspective with the distance many people are from medical care and prevalence of poisonous spiders and snakes make this still a hazardous place to live for many people.

It is not just employment that bring half of the nation's people to live in one of the state capital cities. Humans are social animals and without the safety of the society, life gets very hard very fast. Middle ages hard.