Thursday, 1 January 2009

Christmas Holidays


I had a simply gorgeous time over Christmas, visiting my parents in Tasmania and catching up with some old friends. The weather was delightful and I think I managed to eat my own body weight in chocolate! There were lots of prawns, turkey and my mother's delicious chestnut chocolate cake for dessert. The above photo is of the rather fantastic pizza ovens in the garden of a friend of the family's where we spent Boxing Day. The house is outside of Hobart in the middle of rolling green fields dotted with cows, and there were chickens up the back and bumble bees buzzing around. Very bucolic.

I grew up in Evandale, which is in the north of Tasmania, near Launceston. Its claim to fame is the National Pennyfarthing Championship (I kid you not!) which has been held annually for the last 26 years. Riders come from all over Australia, and even from overseas, to compete in a race around the village.

Anyway, Evandale was apparently established as a military post called Collins Hill in 1811, then after a few name changes in became Evandale in 1836. I have always enjoyed visting the graveyards of the two main churches (they are opposite each other and both called St Andrews, how daft) and I thought I would try and find the oldest gravestone.
It was in the Anglican church graveyard, and dates from 1855, and I cannot believe I've never noticed it before! It is a masterpiece of atrocious spelling.


You probably can't see that clearly, but it reads thus:
TO
TEH
MEMORY
OF
JAMES READ
WODIeD ON MARCH
TEH6 1855
AGED 17Z6 MONTHS
WEAP NOT FORME
MY PEARENTS DAR
I AM NOT DED BUT SLEAP
IN CHEAR BUT GOD
THOUGHT FIT TO COLL
ME HOME HAS CUT ME
DOWN WEN IN MY BLOOM
THE BELOVED SON
FO W M AND
ELIZEBETH
READ

Owing to the weathering of the stone, it took me and my mother about five minutes to work out exactly what it said, as the letters were all run together. I am very curious about it, and can only surmise that the stone carver was bordering on illiterate, as all the other gravestones from the 1880s etc are perfectly readable. Who was James Read and why did he die when he was only 17 years old? I suppose I shall never know.

1 comment:

  1. Tasmania; an Australian island is island where weather can change in a blink. As exciting journey of 19 national parks & mountains like Cradle Mountain & Mount Wellington, it’s a outstanding adventure trip.

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