Charcoal Drawing – Pennyweight Flat Cemetery, Castlemaine

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Victims of the harsh conditions of the goldfields,

They gaze out across the valley

where their parents sought their fortunes in the muds of Forest Creek.

As the cicadas whirr, I recall coming here with my Aunt Anne at dusk,

The biting wind whipping across the small hill,

Kangaroos emerging from the bush to feed on the greenery on the slopes leading down to the creek,

Rabbits darting about in long grass,

Chilled, we turned for home in the gathering gloom.

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Pennyweight Flat Cemetery was in use between 1852 – 1857.

It is a rare example of a surviving Gold Rush cemetery.

The site was chosen because the burials would not be disturbed by the search for gold.  

A high proportion of the burials are children and babies.

200 people are buried there.

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8 Responses

  1. How very poignant. It must have been quite moving arriving at dusk.

    • Thank you, Meanderer, The cemetery is a place which stirs the imagination. It feels quite a lonely place – and is very plain with few inscriptions surviving. The marked graves are circled by stones collected from the hill. Whenever I have visited, there has usually been a wind blowing.

  2. I’ve visited old cemeteries up north, Flinders Ranges, and read the headstones …… such stories are told… so many children…. so much heartbreak….

  3. Yes, Enivea, It is easy to forget in modern times how perilous life could be for children in the 1800s and early 1900s. Parents who saw all their children grow to adulthood would have counted themselves as lucky.

  4. This is so interesting and descriptive – I can imagine that such a place pulls you in to wonder about its stories. The drawings are excellent at capturing its mood, too.

    • Thank you Diane, I am glad the drawings and text have stirred your imagination also.

  5. Hope you don’t mind Margaret but I have added the above drawings and prose to a Facebook site dedicated to the Pennyweight Flat Cemetery – acknowledging you as the creator of said artwork. I am now “following” you – but not stalking!

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