Lisa Murray, Sydney Cemeteries, A Field Guide
NewSouth, Sydney, 2016, paperback $34.99
Written by Dr Lisa Murray (the City of Sydney Historian, the Dictionary’s former chair, a Dictionary author and one of our regular radio presenters on 2SER), with gorgeous contemporary photographs by another Dictionary author Dr Mark Dunn and a beautifully thorough index by Dictionary volunteer Dr Neil Radford, this is a book close to our hearts and minds.
This beautifully presented, written and researched guide to most of the cemeteries around Sydney is perfect for Sydney’s history lovers who fancy exploring cemeteries near and far, either in person with picnic in tow, or from the comfort of their favourite chair.
Sydney Cemeteries is arranged around regions of Sydney (East, South, Inner West, Parramatta, North, North West, Outer West, Hawkesbury and South West), and includes maps with the locations of each cemetery discussed. Each entry points out notable burials, details of the history of the cemetery, information about the symbolism you might encounter in the grave markers and interesting epitaphs to look out for, with tips for further reading and suggestions for family historians. As well as a crash course in the identification of cemetery memorials, Lisa has included Top 5 lists throughout the book – for example, the Top 5 Cemeteries for Picnics, Top 5 Floral Displays, Top 5 Tools of Trade Gravestones and the Top 5 Cemeteries for Bird Watching.
This has been a real labour of love for Lisa and her passion for the subject shows on every page. The book is written in a light, conversational and personal style but doesn’t stint on the history and information. As with all good guides, the reader is entertained and beguiled.
As she says in her introduction, Lisa does indeed know a thing or two about cemeteries, and in her usual generous, charming style, has written a lovely book which shares her knowledge and enthusiasm.
Lisa’s entries for the Dictionary on Death and Dying in Sydney in the 19th and 20th Centuries, as well as the city’s first state funeral, can all be found here.
Available from all good bookstores! Click here to go to the NewSouth website to purchase online.