‘Grave Reflections’ contains the story of the St Peters Church, Cooks River’s Victorian Graveyard, a statistical analysis of the ages of the people buried there, biographical details of over 250 families and a complete burial list. Written in 1996 to mark the centenary of the closure of St Peters graveyard, Grave Reflections includes much material not published before.
The graveyard at St Peters, Cooks River can be looked on as a metaphor for that celebrated phrase from the burial service “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. The grave of the wealth merchant who was most active in building the church cannot be located. Magnificent vaults have no names, others have collapsed revealing, under large slabs of sandstone, foundations of common brick. The Christian has hope of a life hereafter, but at St Peters signs of death and decay are all around us.
In writing this book we are celebrating the lives of those who have given to our community, from all classes of life. Graveyard records from 1839 to 1896 are part of social history, from them we learn of the changes in our society. Merchants, limeburners and farm labourers give way to brick makers, clerks and shopkeepers.
Headstone inscriptions give us an insight in to the lives of these people. One can discover in the graveyard symbols of a past era, draped urns, hourglasses and broken branches, which now have lost all meaning.
Covered, as is the church, by a NSW Heritage Council ordinance, the graveyard is viewed as a integral part of the church. It is the valiant efforts of the congregation and members of families buried there that have preserved the site under very trying circumstances. Without their efforts, and a congregation on site, this book could not have become a reality.
This book represents years of a living relationship between the History Committee of St Peters Church and those whose ancestors are buried in the graveyard. It has been a two way relationship, the history committee providing the initial information and then being delighted to receive much fuller information in return.
‘Grave Reflections’ is priced at $12.00 plus $5.00 postage and handling per copy.
Order your copy of ‘Grave Reflections’ today. Send a cheque or money order (payable to St Peters Church, Cooks River) to –
St Peters Church,
187 Princes Highway,
St Peters NSW 2044