If, like me, you had a slumber party in the local cemetery, you'll appreciate the wealth of untapped resources quietly crumbling amidst the graves of those who went before us.
First published in 1987, Permanent Addresses: Australians Down Under is a book compiled from the travels the author and his wife took all over Australia, visiting cemeteries to unearth the legends behind the headstones.
Similar to the New Zealand TV show 'Epitaph', Dr. Brasch has documented the stories of both the celebrated and over-looked Australian pioneers.
In cemeteries all over this wide brown land are tales of bravery, tragedy, humour and romance with sometimes only a few lines on a gravestone to tempt the casual reader into delving into archives to scratch that curiosity itch.
This is a passionately but thoroughly documented and researched book valuable in many ways; it shines a spotlight on ways of life mentioned in history books but clarified when put into context with life and death and it brings to life very real people who reside beneath the soil but who still have stories to share with the passer-by.
Far from being maudlin or morbid, the character of this book is to celebrate the lives of these long-dead people.
Dr. Brasch mentions William Gladstone's words that are now in Fawkner Cemetery,which sum up this book-
Show me the manner in which a nation or country cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness tender sympathies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals.
Labels: Permanent Addresses