Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jandowae - indexing finished

Phew, I finally finished indexing Jandowae. There were a lot of photos (over 800) and I felt that I was plugging away at it night after night, but never making much progress. Anyhow, eventually I finished the indexing for Jandowae.

You can see all the photos here:

or if you are looking for specific names (or are on dial-up and don't want to see all those thumbnails), try the alphabetical index:

Note that the search function on the main page does NOT yet cover Jandowae. This is a third party service and we have to wait for them to vist the site (every couple of weeks) before new cemeteries are incorporated.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Bribie Island

We went to Bribie Island to find the Beach Road cemetery. Unfortunately there isn't any Beach Road on Bribie Island, so we have no idea where the cemetery is.

However, we did find the Bribie Island Memorial Gardens, a very modern collumbarium (so no headstones just plaques over niches), so we photographed it instead. The memorial gardens were developed by the local Lions Club and they have landscaped it very nicely. It is a very pleasant setting and very well-maintained.

Now we just need to find out where the cemetery was. As the references to the cemetery predate the memorial gardens (which appear to have been established in the late 1990s), they must be separate places.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Bald Hills (Sandgate) cemetery, Brisbane

Today we were out photographing Bald Hills (also known as Sandgate) cemetery in Brisbane. Although it was originally an independent cemetery with its own trustees, it was later transferred to the Brisbane City Council.

The grounds are quite well-maintained in terms of mowing, but there are a number of smashed headstones. While some of the graves do have a lot of subsidence (about 1 metre in one case) which could have caused the headstones to fall and break, in a lot of cases there is no obvious reason why the headstone would be smashed and so one suspects vandalism (sadly). I guess this is why it is important to digitally conserve cemeteries (meaning to photograph them as we do) since we cannot ensure their physical conversation when there are vandals about. It is interesting that we rarely see vandalism in country cemeteries. It seems to be a city cemetery problem.

There is a fairly new toilet block there, but it was locked. Why bother building it if you are going to keep it locked? Brookfield cemetery was the same. I can only assume that they unlock the toilets for funerals.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Warra cemetery, Wambo Shire

Warra cemetery is now indexed, but the site-wide "search" function will not yet find it (it only runs every few weeks), so you will need to use the alphabetical index for that cemetery. That's why I didn't announce it in my email to the mailing lists and newsgroups. Cemeteries don't get announced until they have been indexed by the FreeFind search engine.

Warra is about 50km west of Dalby. We were there on Australia Day when a huge storm hit Dalby so we were photographing with the sky overhead becoming dark and threatening. We had to work very quickly as the storm seemed imminent (indeed, we finished not long before the storm hit). The storm also created strange lighting conditions.

Yangan - what is that other cemetery?

On Cemetery Road at Yangan, there appear to be two cemeteries. One has a sign saying it is the Anglican cemetery. The other has no sign and only a few headstones. What is this second cemetery? We are guessing it's a general cemetery, but one headstone did have a rosary hanging from it, so maybe it's a Catholic cemetery (there is a Catholic Church in Yangan).

Note. As well as the two cemeteries on Cemetery Road, there is also a Presbyterian cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church at Yangan.

New photos: Helidon, Maryvale, Milbong, Samsonvale, Upper Freestone, Yangan

New to our headstone photo collection:

* Helidon General cemetery, Gatton Shire
* Maryvale cemetery, Warwick Shire
* Maryvale Homestead cemetery, Warwick Shire [no headstones found!]
* Milbong St Luke's Lutheran cemetery, Boonah Shire
* Samsonvale (formerly Presbyterian) cemetery, Pine Rivers Shire
* Swan Creek Anglican cemetery, Warwick Shire
* Upper Freestone cemetery, Warwick Shire
* Yangan Anglican cemetery, Warwick Shire
* Yangan General? cemetery, Warwick Shire [can anyone confirm it is a general cemetery?]
* Yangan Presbyterian cemetery, Warwick Shire

All available for your viewing pleasure at:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Welcome to the Dead Centre of Queensland!

Welcome to the Dead Centre of Queensland!

The name is not intended to be interpreted geographically but rather as an amusing reference to our hobby of photographing the cemeteries of Queensland. That is, we aim to photograph all the surviving headstones and index them. You can admire our handywork at:

Living in Brisbane as we do, realistically the cemeteries we photograph tend to be within daytrip range of Brisbane, so our site is pretty much about the cemeteries of South-East Queensland. But still we may get to other parts as time permits (which probably means when we retire, an event that will be hastened by a win on Gold Lotto).

People often ask why do we do it. That's a good question and, in truth, we never set out to do anything more than one cemetery out the back of a local church when we started. But people liked it and encouraged us to do other cemeteries and so the site grew like topsy. Of course, this means that we made design choices early in the process that might not have been the ones we would have made if we could have forseen where we'd end up. The underlying motivation is family history. We've travelled across the globe to find headstones for our ancestors, but realistically not everyone can do this. So, by photographing cemeteries and putting the photos onto the WWW, we bring the cemetery to you.

Last time I looked we'd photographed about 140 cemeteries. This sounds pretty impressive but the size of the cemeteries varies considerably. We have a couple of cemeteries with no surviving headstones, so there are just some general photos of the area, and several with less than 10 headstones. At the other end of the scale we have cemeteries with over 1000 headstones. But a lot are in the order of 100-200 headstones.

And headstones vary in their difficulty to capture photographically. Sometimes it's easy, you just stroll all the neatly maintained rows going snap, snap, snap with the digital camera, one headstone, one photo. Sometimes it's not easy. The cemetery is an overgrown wilderness full of prickles, snakes and insects. The headstones are lying on the ground broken in several pieces hidden in the undergrowth. Or the headstones have suffered erosion with the weather and passing of time and are now almost unreadable. Such headstones need many photos, from different angles with different zooms, trying to catch that slight edge to the lettering that allows you to read it. The easy-to-read headstones are just photographed and transcribed at home from the photo. The hard-to-read headstones must be transcribed at the cemetery, so some headstones take many minutes compared with a few seconds for others.

But while it is easier to photograph newer well-maintained cemeteries, the real need is to photograph the older unmaintained ones. For those cemeteries are where the need for conservation is greatest. Now we don't have it in our power to physically conserve these cemeteries, but we do have the power to digitally preserve them. Already many of these old cemeteries are hard to find -- they get overgrown and people simply forget they exist, or they are in the middle of some farmer's field. So one of our goals is to record the location of these cemeteries using our GPS and publish those coordinates on our WWW site too. The availability of Google Earth and Google Maps to display these locations has been invaluable to us.

Anyhow, welcome to our new blog! Come visit our WWW site and find some relatives!