Sunday, November 8, 2015

A progressive old cemetery - stories from the grave


Does anyone else spend their spare time looking at old cemeteries?  Many would think this a strange thing to do when you are on holidays!  However, I find it relaxing as the headstones tell stories.  I found that the graves at the pioneer cemetery in Cairns tell better stories than any other cemetery that I have visited!

While recently in Cairns for a work conference and visiting my sisters, I noticed the old cemetery in the middle of town, which appeared very well maintained and preserved.  My sister was happy to visit it with me, although we have no family buried there.

The Rotunda has a map of the graves and alphabetical listings
of all the interred.
From the moment that I entered, I was impressed but my initial expectations were to be exceeded!

It is a relatively small cemetery, which is immaculately maintained and it is easy to see that a lot of time and money has been put into repairing and maintaining graves.

I was immediately drawn to the rotunda, which has walls of memorial plaques, listing in alphabetical order, the names, year of death, age, map reference and burial numbers of the interred. There is also a map, which shows the location of the grave, the name and grave number.  

How many people have spent hours wandering a cemetery looking for a headstone or grave?  Not at the McLeod Street Pioneer Cemetery in Cairns, where it is very easy to find a grave!  But it gets better!

It is easy to locate graves at the McLeod St Pioneer Cemetery Cairns.
1.  Locate Deceased on alphabetical plaque (inset excerpt), which shows Surname, Given Name, Year of Death, Age at Death, Grave Reference and Burial Number
2.  Use Grave Reference to determine where grave is located in the cemetery.

At the rear of many graves, there are grave markers with QR codes
This is the back of the grave for Eliza Earl.

As I was wandering through the gravestones I noticed QR (Quick Response) codes on marble gravestone markers at the back of many of the graves.  My first thought was "Why are there such modern markers in such a nice old cemetery?  They just don't fit in!".  How wrong I was!






My kids had previously introduced me to QR codes, so I got my phone out and scanned the codes.  OH WOW!  Immediately I was directed to the website for the Cairns & District family history society website and a story about the person who was buried in the grave!  Amazing!  Imagine how you would feel if this was your relative!!  How wonderful!  How I would love for my blogs about ancestors to be available at their gravestones for family to read!

The Result of  the QR Scan directed me to a blog about the interred - in this instance Eliza Earl

I need to congratulate Cairns & District family history society!  Well Done!  I would like to see this completed by more cemeteries and family history societies!  I am going to look into doing this for some of my ancestors graves!

You can obtain a QR Code Scan Application from the App store or Google Play.  I have randomly included a few codes for you to scan if you are interested. Yes you can scan the codes from this blog with your phone or tablet!  Next time that you are in Cairns, take your phone or tablet and go for an interesting walk through the McLeod St Pioneer Cemetery!

William Real - Died 15 July 1912

Arthur Prime - Killed Accidentally on 3rd July 1915

John Samuel Pyne - Died 24th January 1890

Margaret Redden and 4 of her children - Died 1878, 1882, 1884, 1889 & 1904

Click to read more stories

26 comments:

  1. This is fantastic! It would be wonderful to have more cemeteries this "user" friendly.

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  2. What a great idea! I love old cemeteries and I'm always curious about those who are buried there -- this is just wonderful!

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    1. I could have spent longer there but I did not want my sister to get too bored, but as it turns out, she really enjoyed it too :)

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  3. Man, there needs to be a law making an index, map, and QR code a requirement at every cemetery. I'm kidding about the law, but how cool is this. An interactive cemetery - who knew?

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    1. You always make me smile. What does the future hold?????

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  4. This is wonderful. The Cairns Historical Society have done a fantastic job.

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    1. They certainly have and should be recognised for the dedication and innovation!

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  5. How fantastic! What a fabulous group to have come up with that idea!

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    1. My only thought is how long will the QR codes last? Not as long as the headstones?

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  7. I really do have to wrap my head around QR codes...something like this might achieve that more than shopping ;) I have rellies in that cemetery....I wonder if they are annotated.

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    1. I will ask my sister to look for you :)

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  8. Another fascinating post, Sharon. It would be wonderful if more of our historic cemeteries had this level of care and documentation.

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    1. Thank you Maureen. In addition to the plaques and QR codes, the graves have been lovingly restored.

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  9. The people at the Cairns FHS must be both highly computer savvy and also dedicated and diligent researchers, I assume the codes were only on graves of people that they could discover interesting information about, but nevertheless, it's a wonderful idea!

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    1. The QR coded graves were the minority but hopefully they keep researching and adding.

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  10. How nice to see a blog post from you in my inbox. We do have an old cemetery here in my community though I haven't wandered through there in years. My family is all buried (well, the dead ones) in Detroit in an area which is too dangerous to go wandering in. I did visit some remarkable cemeteries in Russia last year.

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    1. Thank you Denise. How nice of you to notice my absence! Work has been very busy in recent times and blogging has suffered.
      Why were the Russian cemeteries so remarkable?

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  11. A marvelous idea for cemeteries! The information about Eliza left me wondering about what happened to the sixth child, however? I'm assuming he (listed only as "a boy") did not survive the birth since Eliza was listed as being the mother of only five children. Even though the sixth child apparently did not survive, it's strange there was no mention made of his burial? Again, I'm assuming he was buried with his mother, but I can't help wondering why this wasn't included in her history?

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    1. Very good questions. The child is not mentioned in burial records at all. It is only the headstone showing a mother and baby, which indicates the child would be buried there too. Maybe they did not recognise the stillborn child?

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  12. Way ahead of their time. Nothing like that in the UK from what I have seen

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    1. Thank you for reading Bill. Maybe you could make the suggestion and start something :)

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  13. I agree, it’s a wonderful idea; thank you for introducing us to it Now we all know a bit about poor Eliza.

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    1. There were many better stories but she was the first one I found so I thought it was fitting that she featured :)

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