A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Looking for something different to do this Valentine's Day?
West Terrace Cemetery is offering something quite different for Valentine's Day. They will be running special Valentine's themed, guided day tours from February 14 – 28, 2016. Entitled 'Till Death Do Us Part' the tours take their inspiration from our past history. Step back in time to discover stories of unrequited love, lust and jealousy. Discover love and death among the tombstones on a tour that is sure to be something to remember.
Visiting a Cemetery? Cemeteries can be seen as forbidden places. Having spent little time in cemeteries throughout my life I was motivated to visit West Terrace cemetery and investigate some of the past lives and stories held within. There is a rich vein of history here waiting to be explored.
West Terrace Cemetery is offering something quite different for Valentines Day
West Terrace Cemetery is one of Adelaide's most historic sites, yet a large slab of the population would have never ventured beyond the entrance gates. It is situated in the south-western corner of the Adelaide Parklands and can be seen from the train journey into the city.
The cemetery dates back to the foundation of South Australia. Since then a staggering 150,000 burials have taken place here. It was Adelaide's main public cemetery for almost 100 years, as such people from all walks of life have found their final place of rest at this cemetery.
West Terrace Cemetery is worth visiting for the decorative 19th century monuments and historic burial sites of South Australia's pioneer first settlers and eminent identities. It can also lay claim as the site of some of the last remaining indigenous vegetation of the Adelaide Plain. The cemetery is the site of Australia's first dedicated military burial ground which features a huge monument and the Australian flag. With large expansive lawns surrounding the white gravestones.
The cemetery is the site of Australia's first dedicated military burial ground
Map Tours Available On visiting the cemetery for the first time it can be quite daunting due to the large scale of the cemetery. The guide map is helpful and available at the entrance. The area the cemetery covers is expansive and is quite easy to take a slow drive around, but to read and absorb all the memorials the visitor needs to be on foot. Hence the popularity of the guided tours. Many of which sell out, so bookings are essential.
Smyth Chapel Walking through the grave sites there are huge collections of faded and ancient tombstones. Cherubs looking down and little memorials to loved ones. There is a small chapel, the Smyth Chapel which was built as a memorial for Father John Smyth (1824 – 1870). The chapel is a rare example of a mortuary chapel in an Australian cemetery. It has a compact design and stands out among the ornate gravesites. It was designed by E.J. Woods who designed the Adelaide Town Hall and Post Office. Throughout the cemetery there are a scattering of trees, but otherwise minimal shade, so bring a hat and some water with you.
The chapel is a rare example of a mortuary chapel in an Australian cemetery
The Cemetery has long been acknowledged as a great source of historic value and was listed as a Place of State Heritage Significance in November 1989. Anthropologists study the rituals of birth and death for which the cemetery provides plenty of information. There are stories behind every gravestone.
The Smyth Chapel which was built as a memorial for Father John Smyth
This Valentine's Day and for the next two weeks you can tour the gravesites with your loved one. Guaranteed to be something they won't forget. In the process the world of many past lives and tales of lost love and death will be revealed.
To book contact the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority on (08) 8139 7400.
All images By Jenny Esots
Stories of unrequited love, lust and jealousy at West Terrace Cemetery.