When Night Falls on the Necropolis
Rookwood Anglican and General Trusts are inviting members of the public to visit the cemetery to participate in a community ceremony in a unique setting. The Dusk Ceremony at The Elephant House will take place as night begins to fall on the Necropolis on Saturday the 19th of May.
In its second year, The Dusk Ceremony offers the community a meaningful and symbolic location to reflect on and remember those who are no longer with us, and provides the opportunity for people to engage in a communal ceremony about laying to rest times that have past.
“This event is part of an ongoing project to lie to rest the myth that we are a death denying society and rather celebrates the relationships people from diverse cultures and faiths have and want to make with this most mysterious of our life passages,” said Victoria Spence, Founder of Living with our Dead and Facilitator of the event.
The Dusk Ceremony will invite participants to make a lantern, contribute to a fire sculpture and offer a setting where music, song, art and ceremony are used to create an evocative space for reflection. After the ceremony visitors are invited to stay for a light supper and collect their thoughts around a fire sculpture.
“The Dusk Ceremony demonstrates to the community that there is far more to Rookwood than just funerals and memorials. We want to communicate to people that coming to the site for a reason other than to attend a funeral really isn’t so morbid. It really is a beautiful, peaceful place and it is unfortunate that our society seems to be bound by a cultural captivity of fear of cemeteries. The cemetery is taking a proactive role in engaging with the community in an aim to break down this fear,” said Derek Williams, General Manager of Rookwood Anglican and General Trusts.
“The ceremony is a multi-functional project – it is a mechanism for supporting members of the community who are seeking a meaningful outlet to lie to rest those who have passed or times that have passed, whilst also inspiring the community to re-familiarize themselves with Rookwood and its significance in our heritage,” said Mr Williams.
The Dusk Ceremony will take place in and amongst the surrounds of one of the oldest and most exquisite buildings in Rookwood – The Old Anglican Rest House (affectionately known as The Elephant House). The ceremony will begin in the midst of the picturesque Serpentine Canal – a feature that weaves its way through the cemetery. The Canal pre-dates the 1890’s and is an iconic feature of Rookwood.
“We are also introducing the wider community to the garden cemetery in the Old Anglican section. An architectural marvel that offers us much opportunity to enjoy it today as a lace in which people of all faiths and spiritualties can gather to experience a little bit of the sacred within the everyday,” said Victoria Spence.
Rookwood is a place rich in heritage, history and culture and nurturing and developing the cultural fabric of the site is of great significance to the Anglican and General Trust. Projects such as the Dusk Ceremony and the annual sculpture exhibition coming up in September allow people to take in the beauty of the site and appreciate it from a different perspective.
The Dusk Ceremony is open to the public and is free of charge. For further information , location details and to rsvp, go to www.livingwithourdead.com or call Victoria Spence on 0431 123 129.
The Dusk Ceremony at The Elephant House is facilitated by Living with our Dead and is a supporting event of Hidden: A Rookwood Sculpture Walk 2012.