Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Nature of Children's Graves - bulletin 1

The Robertson Cemetery is found at the end of Missingham Parade - the road on which I live.

View south, over Kangaroo Valley

It is in a wonderful place. It has fantastic views out over Kangaroo Valley (see my photo at left). It is exposed to the south, so it is often windy, (but only on windy days!)

It also has great views across to the ridge where Pearson's Lane runs. That view is captured well on the photo gallery of the Robertson Chamber of Commerce.

A child's grave, with steel cage and headplate

I am fascinated with the children's graves which may be found here. All old country town graveyards have many children's graves - a fact which all modern parents of young children ought realise, when debating the merits or demerits of vaccination.

In the "bad old days" young children died routinely of diphtheria, whooping cough and measles, as well as other diseases which we now readily control with antibiotics. But the communicable viral diseases were the real child killers. They still are, potentially.

All expectant parents ought visit a country graveyard, I think.

Some diseases of childhood, namely: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping Cough are covered by the "Triple Antigen" vaccination for children. Hepatitus B, and oral (Sabin) Polio vaccinations are being encouraged to be given to all children. Pre-pubescent girls are routinely given the Rubella vaccination, to prevent the terribly damaging effects on the foetus, should a woman contract Rubella during pregnancy.

Anyway, grave stones seldom give the cause of death - it is just the fact of the death which is left with us, because of the grave.

Detail of Iron work on "cage"

This little grave intrigues me greatly.

The "cage" over the grave is in good condition, but the steel plate which acts as the "head stone" is heavily rusted, and sadly, no inscription is visible now.

The ironwork in the "cage" is very high quality work, and has lasted very well. It is rusted, superficially, but in Robertson Cemetery, that looks completely natural. To me the whole grave looks like a work of love - for the little child beneath.

The rear view of the steel"headstone"

The steel plate which acts as the "head stone" is heavily rusted, and sadly, no inscription is visible now. But what is the shape of the "cutout" symbolising?

Is it meant to be a guardian angel?

To me, it actually resembles a bat, but that is such an unlikely image. I hope that no-one regards my interpretation as disrespectful - no such thought is intended.

I would love to know the history of this grave.
Tomorrow, I shall show you another Robertson grave - my personal favourite.


Miss Eagle said...

Denis, that grave is fascinating. I have never see anything like it. And I agree. Next time I hear of someone who is anti-vaccination I will pass on your suggestion of a visit to a cemetry.

Denis Wilson said...

We are not alone. The site on vaccination, which I linked to, started out: "A stroll through any cemetery reminds us how many children used die in early infancy".
That is a private site, put up by Dr. Andrew Pattison, in Melbourne (North East Valley).
For the record, I had already written my post, before I went looking for a link - and found that statement.