Tombstone Tuesday: Your tombstone stands among the rest…

Lonely gravesites

“Your tombstone stands among the rest,
Neglected and alone.
The name and the date are chiselled out,
On polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who cares,
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist,
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you,
In flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled,
One hundred years ago,
Spreads out among, the ones you left.
Who would have loved you so?
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
And come to visit you.”

Author Unknown.

(Many Thanks to Sandra Playle for the poem & photo)

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Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray - (c) C.Crout-Habel

Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray – (c) C.Crout-Habel

It took a great many years for me to eventually track down the final resting place of my Great Grandmother, Eliza Jane (Rowen) Murray in the Cheltenham Cemetery, South Australia. A desolate, lonely, abandoned place… caving in and with just a weathered flower pot bearing her name…. but as I stood there, claimed her as my own and took steps to stop her gravesite being re-cycled and desecrated, I knew that she recognised me and was pleased…We must not allow the sanctity of our old gravesites to be defiled…

Please sign this Petition so that, in time, the descendants of the Pioneers in those Graveyards which are now controlled by the Metropolitan Cemeteries Board of Western Australia , will be able to find them when they come… for they will come.

To sign, please just click HERE … many thanks, Catherine.

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel 

LEAVE OUR ANCESTORS ALONE!!! …

Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Memorials ready to be crushed for roadworks. Karakatta Cemetery, WAustralia

Is anyone out there maybe suggesting that I’m “obsessive”?

I confess, I give up… I am

Regular readers would no doubt remember my outrage at the “re-cycling” of cemetery plots here in South Australia and the horror at the very likely possibility that my precious Great Grandmother would be dug up.  You can read about it HERE

My next post was full of excitement as I explained that the South Australian Govern-ment had just released a “Draft Burial and Cremation 2012” Bill was and asking for comments, and suggestions, from the general public and not just from those with an invested interest.On accessing the Draft Bill my head was turned inside out with the “legalese” but plodded on and so posted “Shortcuts for Commenting” to give a bit of a “leg up” to anyone else thinking of putting in a submission.

My final post expressed both surprise, and delight, in having managed to completed this somewhat onerous task and offered to email copies of my submission, if requested.

The good news is that the new “South Australian Burial and Cremation” Bill has now passed it’s “2nd reading” in the House of Assembly with the next debate in just a few days time, Tuesday 5 Mar 2013.  Fingers crossed that we may finally have some effective legal protection for our Ancestors, their remains, their gravesites and memorials. Will post the outcome as soon as it comes to hand.

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CrissouliSadly all this good news, and hopeful thinking, was somewhat shot down in flames just a few days ago when Crissouli on her Blog, That Moment in Time, alerted us to the wanton destruction and desecration of gravesites in Western Australia.  Please click HERE to read her post and  see many photos of exactly what is going on there.  It’s hard to believe that such beautiful and spiritual, stone monuments are being gathered up and crushed for “road works”, often without relatives being informed.

Published in the “Subiaco Post” on 1 May 2006 is Ms Allchurch’s horror, and continuing anguish,  on discovering that the joint grave of her much loved Great Grand-mother, Grandmother, Aunt and mother had been destroyed, despite written assurances from the Western Australian Metropolitan Cemeteries Board that she’d receive notification if any changes were proposed.

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA

Cemetery desecration. Karakatta WA.2.

Makes you feel helpless, doesn’t it.  Thanks to Sandra Playle there is a Petition you can sign to add your voice to the voices of others demanding that authorities STOP desecrating the final resting places of our Ancestors, destroying their monuments and discarding any physical memory of them just like so much flotsam and jetsam.

On 24 Feb 2013 Sandra wrote:

“By the MCB’s admission there is around 80% cremations so I fail to understand the reasoning for renewal. I have always advocated that the cemetery be:

(a) Closed for new graves.

(b) Open for burial in existing raves ie; family in with family to the limit of three as has been the practise.

(c) Open for cremations and the scattering/placement of ashes.

(d) If they must insist on new graves then the existing headstones stay insitu and the new ones are made SMALLER to fit in the area between. This would mean the surrounds would have to go from existing graves.”

Once upon a time, the general public had trouble making their collective voice heard but technology, and the “social media” has changed all that.  I urge you to sign the petitioon and pass the message on via any medium at your disposal: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest etc.

You may think that Western Australia is much too far from you for your voice to make any difference, but it will, indeed it will.  International exposure can work wonders in this “Global Community” of ours and tomorrow it could be your Ancestor’s gravesite being destroyed, or you child, or your brother/ sister’s …

If you wish to sign the petition, just click HERE

Finally, I must share Crissouli’s beautiful poem which reaches into my very soul.

GRANDMA’S FOUNDATION

I went to visit Grandma
Her stone it wasn’t there
I thought I made an error
But I did look everywhere
It was then I noticed rubble
Right against the fence
And a dumpster full of rubbish
It really was quite dense.
Then I saw my Grandma’s name
As if she was calling me
“Please help me darling granddaughter
Will you please help me be free
For crushing is the next step
Road base they say they need
  I suspect that is just a cover up
It all comes down to greed.
The land here’s rather valuable
I heard the workmen say
My lovely stone you saved for
Will be destroyed today.”
(c) Crissouli

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing...

Memorials in the dumpster with all the rubbish and ready for crushing…

“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high deeds.” – William Gladstone

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Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel