Monday, 27 January 2014

Some Great Cemetery News.

Last June, while I was in Sydney on holidays, my Aunt & I had a cemetery day. We went to 3 different cemeteries where our ancestors are buried - Rookwood, Field of Mars & Macquarie. We hadn't had a cemetery day in quite some time, and we were very keen to speak to someone about two things we wanted to do -
1. See if it would be possible to have a headstone done for my Great Great Grandmother & Great Uncle whose grave is unmarked at Rookwood.
2. Have the death date on my Great Grandmother Elizabeth's headstone fixed at Field of Mars.

Rookwood Cemetery

My Great Great Grandmother Christian Croal & Great Uncle Adam Gow have been buried in an unmarked grave at Rookwood since Adam died in 1905 & Christian died in 1909.

Sitting at the grave of Christian Croal & Adam Gow
Rookwood Cemetery, June '13.
Image from my personal collection.
This was my second time to see their grave. The first time was in 2009 and it took us a good hour to find it. On this day, it took me 10 minutes. I have a pretty good visual memory with landmarks and whatnot.

My Aunt & I went up to the Office and spoke to someone about having a headstone done for Christian & Adam. They said to e-mail them with the details of our request which we did that night.

After not hearing anything for a few weeks, my Aunt rang them a few times, until finally, in November, we received approval to do the following 'We are able to supply you with a basic form of grave marker called a "sloper & plaque." This is an unpolished granite base with a lawn size bronze plaque with 8-10 lines of inscription.'

My Aunt didn't actually tell me any of this until the beginning of January because she forgot to forward me the e-mail, haha. But being told this in person was so much better anyway.

Now it's just a matter of deciding what we want the plaque to say. 

Field of Mars Cemetery

When I found my Great Grandmother Elizabeth's grave for the first time ever in 2009, I was a bit shocked to discover that the year of her death was incorrect. She died in 1952, but it says 1962. My Aunt & Dad do not remember my Poppa talking about his Mother's grave having a mistake on it. He was very much into family history as well, so we're not sure if he ever actually saw the headstone after it was done because he would not have let the incorrect year remain. Since then, my Aunt & I have always discussed about having it rectified. I also found her grave again within 5 minutes of being there (I really do love my awesome memory, heheh).

Grave of Elizabeth Gow, Field of Mars Cemetery, June '13
Image from my personal collection.
The Office at Field of Mars was closed, and said that it now operated under the same trust as Macquarie Cemetery so any queries were to be directed there. Well, that was quite convenient for us as that was our next stop. We were going to find some of my Poppa's cousins' graves. The Office at Macquarie Cemetery directed us to one of their onsite tombstone businesses. They were closed that day, but we went back the next day and spoke to them. That took some persistence from my Aunty as well because they couldn't find the grave so she had to go meet them out there one day. Along with the news about Christian & Adam's grave, she told me that Elizabeth's grave had now been fixed. She's hoping to go out there in the next couple of weeks to check. It's not a permanent fix, only a temporary 4-5 year thing. The only way we're going to be able to fix it permanently is if we get a completely new headstone. Because my Poppa did this one we were a bit hesitant, and are going with the temporary solution for now. In the future, if it comes down to it, we will get a new headstone for her.


  1. Hi Caitlin, just clicked over to this blog from your article on the Worldwide Genealogy collaboration. Nice post, and coincidence, I was roaming around the Field of Mars Cemetery yesterday and found a couple of family graves. Thanks for the info on their office.

    1. Oh really? I quite like that cemetery :) Yes, it was just our luck that we were going to Macquarie after anyway, otherwise we would have been a bit miffed, haha.