Why Photograph Cemeteries?
People often ask me why I spend so much time in cemeteries photographing............
We are losing cemetery headstones at an alarming rate from weathering, deterioration and old age, lack of maintenance, spreading mould,
reclaiming of gravesites and most distressing of all, vandalism.
This is why we are committed to preserving this heritage for future generations.
By photographing the gravestones of these ancestors, we are actively recording family history
not only for those researching now, but those in the future.
I do this work because I believe that the legacy of every person deserves to be remembered in photographic form, and that the heritage of the Pioneers of the State of South Australia should be kept for preservation
by the National Library and for future generations.
Many headstones become unreadable or damaged well before the lease expiry date.
For 6 years I have travelled about the state of South Australia photographing complete cemeteries for the benefit of the genealogy enthusiast.
With 702 cemeteries already photographed and over 289,500 photos, this is one of the largest collections available to the public.
I have made an effort to visit as many cemeteries as possible, but are limited to weekends and our 'annual holidays'. It then takes many, many hours looking at the photos to rename them by surnames.
My aim is to photograph at least one cemetery per week. Something we more than achieved in both 2008 2009 and 2010.
In 2005, when I began our 'little project', it became apparent that there is a need for photos to be made available to those who are unable to travel to city, country and remote destinations.
By making available the District CD's to both the State and National Libraries, the headstones will now be a 'living memory' and not ravaged by the sands of time and lost to 'the enthusiast' of the future.
In the past years we travelled a total of over 30,000 klms, specifically to photograph cemeteries.
I wish everyone well with their research.
January 09 - Hay Lawn Cemetery (NSW)
Clare Cemetery burials from 1871 to 1939 added in year order - from Newspaper Archives - contains may unmarked burials
29 May 2013 - spent the day at State Records photographing more WWI soldiers - only 2 1/2 boxes to go!!!
17 March 2013 - Travelled back to Hawker and photographed as well as Wonoka, Gordon and Pichi Richi cemeteries - photographs available soon.
Over 1,000 klm in 14 hours - a very long day.......
Not a great deal of cemetery work was completed after the disaster in June (see below) when we went up north to photograph - we finally had our car back after 7 weeks waiting on repairs in Port Augusta. My 85 year old father took ill in September/October and spent 7 weeks in hospital and then into Respite care, which has now been used and he has come to live with us until a High Care Nursing Home Placement becomes available.
Am still adding daily (as time permits) WWI soldiers photographs - passed the 10,000 mark!!
29th June 2012 - went off to the Flinders Ranges and up as far as Lyndhurst - coming home disaster struck. We hit a roo at 5pm an hour outside of Hawker. No phone coverage and car was not drivable as it took out the radiator and more. Spent 16 1/2 hours in the freezing cold in the car overnight waiting for a tow truck. So a muesli bar for Tea it was and water. Mis-information when it was called it in at Hawker meant the truck didn't come out far enough and thought it was a hoax call so turned around. So morning came and we started walking the 15 klms back to the nearest town. Then some angels - Mark, his wife and Popsie travelling through to Cairns in two cars, stopped and gave us a ride for the last 10 klms. Our sincere thanks to them, the four guys who stopped to take info into Hawker, the Hotel at Parachilina who let us make phone calls, the people at the Majestic Oasis Motel in Port Augusta who stored our belongings from the room (that we didn't get to sleep in) till we could get back, and most of all Chris from Chris's Mechanical Repairs in Hawker, who came to our rescue and towed the car to Port Augusta for repairs. We had to get a one way hire car to get back to Adelaide, but we made it home in one piece. Just have to get back to Port Augusta and pick up the car when it is repaired - bet your weekend wasn't that exciting and expensive !!!!!! But we did get the following cemeteries done and are all now available - Lyndhurst, Leigh Creek, Leigh Creek original (now in the Leigh Creek mine - our thanks for the people at the mine for allowing us access), Copley, Beltana and Parachilna.
The 2011 year in review
Once again we travelled far and wide throughout the state, completing the following - Northern Areas Council District, Whyalla District, Mount Remarkable District and the Mid Murray and Light District. Bonus Districts that were completed were Playford, Charles Sturt, Goyder, Kangaroo Island and the Orroroo and Carrieton District has also almost been completed, as well as many of the Ceduna area cemeteries are now available thanks to a kind donation of time and photographs from Beth.
The Obituaries website is going well, with now over 1,000 available.
Also the WWI Pictorial Honor Roll of South Australians had gained momentum and will soon have over 750 photographs of servicemen available.
The Religious Orders pages have been expanded to include all of Australia.
All of which I will be working on over the Summer months to come.
Another website 'Book of Memories' to record where people's ashes have been spread is now also available and looking for contributions.
I have also photographed a large portion of Centennial Park Cemetery - an ongoing project for 2011.
Our only target for this year that we didn't achieve was that of the Broken Hill Cemetery - hopefully in 2011.
Looking back we have certainly achieved a lot this year! With 145 more cemeteries added to the site we are now well on our way to having close to 250,000 headstones photographed - something that I would never have imagined possible when I first started this project. We travelled far and wide this year and completed all the areas in the South East of the State - Barossa and Clare Districts, Salisbury District, Wakefield District and tackled the two large cemeteries of North Road Anglican and Cheltenham Cemetery here in the Adelaide Metro Area. Two highlights were giving presentations to the Fleurieu Peninsula and South East Family History Groups.
We have purchased our own domain name - www.gravesecrets.net and www.webgenaustralia.com to assist you with your research needs on the web.
Our website has been revamped - something that took me many weeks - and I now have added the 'Local History Book' section which I will be working on over the summer months. I hope this adds another useful aspect to your research.
The name search page appears to be another useful tool that everyone appreciates - it was my aim to be able to put in a surname and have available every cemetery where there is a headstone by that name listed - but unfortunately with permission from the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority denied for acess to West Terrace (the most historic cemetery here in South Australia), Enfield and Smithfield cemeteries, sadly this will never become a reality.
Did you know that the South Australian BDM disks will not run on a 64bit operating system with Windows7 Home Premium? (This is what most new computers now have). You can overcome this problem by purchasing Windows7 Professional.
Windows 7 64bit using ‘Windows Virtual PC – XP Mode’
You need to download it from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/default.aspx
Follow the instructions to install the above. Then start XP mode and install the BDM’s