Tag Archives: Convicts Death

The Convict Grave – A Perspective

Perspective inspired by the photo beneath.

Mortar, clay and cedar, tarnished moist and dead. No grass, clover, dew or air. Despoiled of distinction for an age. Prying shards of lamp light slash the aperture where no epitaph can be found, carved for the wretched anon beneath the crumbling brick sod. The hand that struck to snatch the life – for whatever reason – we cannot know. No purpose acquaints us, connects us with her humanity. No birds sing blissfully unaware of what travesty may have befallen, what tragedy may have ensued for peering eyes to bare witness to in perpetuity. Only nameless silence, solitude, bound to hidden remains forever unsung with nary a crusty word chipped into rock. What history was lived will remain obscured: the lineage, the trials and tribulations, the injustices or just desserts. No dignity here, only inevitable death and peering eyes, calculators, slide rules, plans. Lamp light. Ignominy in life and death. RIP.

 

In 1991, Sydney Town Hall underwent major restoration works. During excavations to lay new stormwater pipes under the Lower Town Hall, workmen discovered evidence of burials. Archaeologists were employed to excavate the site and record their findings.

Of the four graves discovered, only one was relatively intact. This grave is shown in the photograph. Excavation revealed a brick vault enclosing the remains of a wooden coffin set in clay. The coffin was made of Australian red cedar, and fastened with iron nails and brass tacks. Forensic examination of the skeletal remains revealed that the bone fragments belonged to a woman. Following the excavation, the remains were re-interred during a simple ceremony conducted by the Anglican Dean of Sydney. The grave was filled in with sand and the bricks rebuilt across the top of the vault.

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January 25, 2010 · 11:40 pm