Alona Tester has encouraged family historians to remember Cemetery Day on 18 June.
I have always been fascinated by cemeteries and as a teenager encourage my parents to drop into various historical cemeteries when we were travelling around including Forbes, Gulgong, Bathurst and Port Macquarie. I also remember being very impressed when I visited bushranger Ben Hall's headstone.
When I was in year 9 at High School, we had a passionate history teacher, Garrett Barry who had attended some workshops with the very innovative Lionel Gilbert.
|Here I am cleaning a grave, Rouse Hill Cemetery, 1975.|
My friend and I decided to do an assignment on Rouse Hill Cemetery. It was very overgrown so not only did we have to clean the sites but also transcribe them. We also visited St Paul's Anglican Church in Riverstone and copied some of the Burial Register pages.
|A few pages from my cemetery assignment from Year 9.|
When I was studying Local History at Armidale in the 1980s, I was very fortunate to have Lionel Gilbert as a lecturer and I cherish both copies of his books that focus on cemeteries, "A Grave look at History" and "The Last Word: Two Centuries of Australian Epitaphs."
Wherever I have travelled, I always have managed to locate interesting cemeteries to visit both within Australia and overseas. I sometimes research and write more about these for various newsletters, blogs or facebook.
In 2003 my husband Jonathan Auld and I established the Hawkesbury Cemetery Register. Over the years we have been photographing, transcribing and mapping many of the historic cemeteries in the Hawkesbury district of NSW. We have also included some of the private cemeteries on private property. These days we continue to transcribe and I also manage the Hawkesbury Cemetery Register facebook site, in my spare time, which keeps me on my toes.