Friday, 10 December 2010


I went to the Cairns Pioneer Cemetery today. The graves there are from 1850 to 1914, when the huge casualties from WW1 would have required another cemetery. I like graveyards. They’re a slice of history and a look into the lives of ordinary people who did the best they could with what they were given. This particular cemetery is located ten minutes from the heart of Cairns City. It’s in an area that is prime real estate. Of course in 1850-something when they decided to plonk the cemetery there, it would have been just a field and the inhabitants of the town of Cairns wouldn’t have envisaged the tourist mecca and international city it would become. I’m glad they never tired to relocate it. It’s a peaceful place to walk around and read up on the trials and tribulations of people passed.

There are so many stories in that cemetery from the young man who drowned trying to cross the Mulgrave River, to another who fell from a horse, to the tiny plain grave from the 1800’s – ‘couldn’t see that date clearly – that announced a child had been born one day and died the next. But there were two graves that particularly stood out to me. One, I couldn’t get a good picture of but it made such a strong impression on me as it was such a basic memorial to a loved one. It was a simple stone slab, weathered by time and someone in the 1880’s had painstakingly hammered in what appeared to be tin studs to spell out a child’s name and the age of 3. The other is shown in the second photo. It tells of the death of young children in the one family year after year after year.

Cemeteries – they’re about human endurance and simple love.

Amarinda Jones
Penn Halligan
Be an Amarinda book


Abigail-Madison Chase said...

It always amazes me the strenght of mothers back them who lost children and keep trying to have more. Your pictures are really nice

Amarinda Jones said...

I agree. We take for granted our modern mecidine and mod cons.

anny cook said...

Yes. We had a similar cemetery not far from us in NY. In the late 1700s one family lost four children in one year--one every two or three months. Very sad.