Thursday, July 31, 2014

Funeral Processions

The Netherlands lost 200 people when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, compared to Australian's loss of 36. The Dutch have handled everything was such amazing dignity and for everyone, not just their own citizens. Our heart felt and continuing thanks go to the people of The Netherlands who show they care. This AFP photo shows a procession of hearses in Eindhoven.


It struck me though, what we don't see now in Australia are funeral processions, as I remember them from years ago. There would be the hearse containing the body of the deceased, followed by the mourning car with immediate family and then a trail of cars following with their headlights on as they journeyed from the church to cemetery.

I am mostly in the inner area of Melbourne, where there aren't open cemeteries, only old and fully used ones, so perhaps I don't see them, or is it that people no longer have a service in a church for the departed, but use the cemetery premises for a remembrance and eulogy, burial or incineration?

I recall once coming across some old Melbourne tramway regulations. While all vehicles must give way to trams, the exceptions were trams must give way to emergency vehicles, the Governor's and Governor General's cars and funeral processions. Interesting that Premiers and Prime Ministerial cars were not mentioned, the Queen's representatives clearly being more important.

So, has anyone seen a funeral procession of cars with their headlights on of late?

15 comments:

  1. Andrew, I saw that funeral processions at my place in April 2010 when was the plane crash where Polish President and 95 other people lost their lives in Smolensk Russia. It looked in the same way as in the photo above. But funeral customs have changed and only in small villages or towns at my place you can see funeral processions.

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    1. Gosia, yes I remember that crash. I think there may still be such processions in Australian country towns too.

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  2. Its been quite a while. I used to see them when I lived in country NSW, but don't recall seeing them here in ages. I also haven't seen wedding processions in ages either.

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    1. EC, yes weddings too. We see plenty of bridal cars, but not a trail of other cars behind them

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  3. We not that far from Rookwood so do still see them sometimes.
    Merle..............

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    1. Merle

      I suppose it depends on where the funeral service is, at a chapel in Rookwood itself or in a different suburb altogether. I too have seen funeral processions head out on the long, slow trek to Rookwood.

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    2. Merle, I figured there must still be some happening. It's more that I don't see them, I suppose.

      Hels, I think I am perhaps correct by suggesting people don't use churches or places of worship as much as they used to, and so no need for a procession.

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  4. The mile-long funeral cortege of Dame Nellie Melba all the 23 miles from the CBD to Lilydale brought all Melbourne to a complete stand-still but ' the 1869 funeral of John Pascoe Fawkner is still considered – at over 220 vehicles and 2.5 miles length - a contender for the record for the longest funeral cortege in Melbourne’s history'.

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    1. Em Stacks, I should think Fawkner's must surely be longest ever in Melbourne. Do we think kindly of Fawkner with our retrospective view?

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  5. Yes I have. Here in Adelaide, city of churches, with plenty of Italians, funeral processions are still popular. With the Italians. Probably the Greeks too. Read the obituaries and find an Italian funeral, go and watch the procession.
    I remember the funeral procession for my sister-in-law years ago in a small town. The entire town knew and loved her, she died in a car accident with her husband and son. A triple funeral. When the first cars were parking at the cemetery, the church yard was still full of cars waiting to leave and join the procession. almost the whole town attended.

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    1. River, that is so tragic, a triple funeral. To lose one family member is bad enough. To lose three is just too horrible to contemplate.

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  6. I found that photo of the funeral procession in the Netherlands so moving. We still have processions here. Occasionally with a horse drawn hearse leading the way.

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    1. Yes, Fun60, such dignity in such an undignified ending.

      It is not happening in the UK like it is here, where people are sent off at one place and no requirement for travel in a convoy?

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  7. Not lately Andrew but coincidently I AM going to a funeral tomorrow.. she was a lovely old dear.

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    1. Grace, by the way you write, it won't be a really sad funeral. Good luck with it.

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