Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our Diggers Day

I regained consciousness this morning in time to snap this mayhem below at 6.45 this Friday, ANZAC Day. At one point the traffic was banked back along Toorak Road from Punt Road to St Kilda Road. You don't even see it this bad if the Burnley Tunnel is closed. The pedestrians and cars were all people leaving the Shrine. It was all over in twenty minutes.

We then did the Lake, Albert Park Lake. When I say we did the Lake, I do not actually mean we walked around it. I mean we walked to it. That was enough for someone who regained consciousness, rather than woke up. We sat and watched the birds on the lake. I heard a bit of squawk above us, and lo and behold, there were a pair of rainbow lorikeets. Did they have a nest under the tin? Wrong time of the year I think. It must have been their food storage bin. The tin encircling the tree is to stop possums climbing into the trees. I like palm tress in context. I hate them in Melbourne.

By noon we were at the Kew cemetery with friends to see where Dame M is buried. The family crypt did not match my mental image. I imagined something like in this picture. Kew Cemetery is nice enough, but very jumbled in places.

Dame M is on the right when looking at the grave, on top of her mother who is on top of someone else. Attending were us, the brother friends, the dyke friends, the Boarder and the Boarder's hair dresser surviving breast cancer friend. Dame M loved glitter. She used to slip it into greeting cards and it fell out all over you when you opened the card. Once I complained about glitter everywhere at home when the brother friends dressed here for a special outing. Dame M said she loves to see glitter on her carpets and be reminded of parties and fun times.

We did the flower thing for her funeral, so this time we sprinkled glitter all over her grave. The camera does not capture how pretty it looks. One hundred year old Agnes in the grave next door got a fair share too, thanks to some gusts of wind. Bet Agnes never partied like that before. Maybe it was the wind playing tricks, but we are sure we heard a voice coming from Dame M's grave, 'I am as dry as chip in here. Anyone got a drink?'

Kew Cemetery office was closed, but they have this nifty electronic grave finder. It even does print outs. Being electronic, you would think it would be regularly updated, but Dame M was nowhere to be found. Oddly I recalled Dame M's mother's maiden name, Warhurst, and one of the brother friends recalled that her first name was Cora. Eureka. None of the names on the grave are Dame M's name as we know it. We worked out who the people were, and on this Anzac Day, one of Dame M's uncles died in France in wartime, no doubt fighting for King and Country.

We all then spread out, looking at different parts of the cemetery. Being a stalker type, I came across this tribute to a dead lad who I immediately recognised as a Xavier Boy. Wonder how he died? I googled him when I got home and there were a couple of mentions of his death at school sites, but nothing in the press, so I would assume either suicide or medical. Such a handsome young lad. What would it be like to lose a son/grandson/sibling/friend of that age?

We all then adjourned to the Skinny Dog Hotel at Kew Junction for lunch. I had heard of it. It used to be called the Greyhound. Meals were ok but the footy was on tv and got turned up. So, rather than hang around, we partook of coffee and cake at a nearby patisserie. To conclude, once again, I was out of my area and felt a bit alien. But this park looked gorgeous.


  1. I once lived just two doors away from the Kew cemetery entrance. It's a fascinating cemetery with many interesting graves - well worth an explore.

  2. Probably the most impressive thing I've ever seen in a cemetery apart from Walter Lindrum's billiard table in the Melbourne Cemetery, is the Springthorpe Memorial in the Kew Cemetery.

    Why would you not want to watch the football? That was the best game I've seen for three weeks!

  3. Tony, I have never been to a cemetery where people did not want to have a look around at other graves. There are some beautifully maintained Greek and Italian ones at the main entrance.

    Ben, the Springthorpe Memorial wouldn't be the building in my picture? I assumed it was just a pavilion. Some of our party like football, but the noise level was high from the place being busy and then the volume went up on the tele and so drove us out.

  4. There's a tour coming up through the Kew Cemetery.
    It looks like a great place to explore, graves can reveal so much about the time period and social ideals of the past.

  5. Prior , on and even now, 2 days later, my Mia keeps on asking to watch the news on telly.."because I want to see the ANZACS". The ANZAC parade at school made an impression on her so much. Then she asks many questions, which I of course answer.
    I know many people who went to Vietnam, I have nursed many a man, returned vets also. The song that you dispalyed in an earlier post there always makes me cry, and even now I have a lump in my throat. Such a bloody messy war is clean, but that one was just horrid.
    This year we did not attend the dawn service, we had a late night previous night, so next year we shall. We did make our ANZAC cookies, and everyone got to try one from our street :)
    Dame M would be so happy you all went there and sprinkled her with glitter... what wonderful friends she has.
    Great images of the lorikeets.

  6. That park is a good one. Keep going up the hill and you run into the Library and Municipal Offices. If you're in the area again, I recommend the QPO, which would have been just opposite the Skinny Dog. It's where the old Post Office used to be and is the building that begins the separation of High St and Cotham Rd. Being a Kew boy for a good 20-odd years has finally paid off...

  7. No the Springthorpe Memorial is bigger and from memory is set amongst some trees or bushes. I understand about the noise level of the footy, it's not good when you are trying to have a "quiet" drink.

  8. Ok Jayne. One of our party had done the Melb Cemetery night tour. Creepy, she said, but very good.

    Thanks Cazzie. You always know the right things to say.

    Duh Rob. I knew it was the old Kew PO, but I thought it was OPO and I could not work it out. QPO makes sense. I did know about that before hand. We were parked opposite the park in Cotham Road.

    Yeah Ben. I didn't really think it was. Regardless of the tv, it was time to leave anyway.

  9. "The tin encircling the tree is to stop possums climbing into the trees."

    I misread that the first time. I thought it said 'pommies'.

  10. Anonymous4:24 pm

    This is a beautiful post Andrew.

    I like to think that our loved ones who have passed on know when we think of them or honour them.

    I don't think I could think of too many of my friend's mother's maiden names - even at a pinch. That is amazing.

  11. Andrew, I hearby appoint you as official glitter sprinkler over my grave. That's a lovely idea instead of flowers and I want big glitter sprinkles, there's nothing small about me.

  12. Poms would have the energy to climb a tree Brian?

    Thanks LiD. It is not something I would normally know, but it was very recently talked about.

    And glitter you shall have Jahteh.