I dont know what it is about cemeteries that I enjoy drawing so much but Rookwood has always been on my checklist of places to draw, so when the Sydney Sketch Club headed out for its Open Day I thought it was a great opportunity.
Rookwood Cemetery is the largest neocropolis in Sydney. It was established in the late 1800s when the city location became overcrowded. No existing towns wanted a cemetery built where they lived, but land was purchased out in western Sydney which was quite rural then. It was also situated near the newly built rail line, so people could board a special train back in town that would not only take them to Rookwood, but their deceased in coffins too.
It is still a very popular cemetery as it provides for people of all denominations. My own grandparents and other relatives are here, but today I visited areas that I never knew existed. I headed up to the older Anglican section. Many of the graves in this area date around the early 1900s and seem to be neglected, which from an artistic point of view, is appealing.
As sad as it may be, some of the graves I saw had flowering trees growing from it which I thought was really heartwarming, and the weather was so perfect it was really peaceful and pleasant sketching away from all the noise. I couldn’t think of a more idyllic location.
The last place I visited seemed to be an area dedicated to fallen Australian soldiers with a simple, but striking memorial called The Crown of Thorns. This monument seemed to reach into the sky and yet I never knew it was there.
Even as I caught the bus back to the station, it drove through all these old sections which were “new” to me, and I decided I must return to draw more. The deceased are just as interesting as the living.