Eastern Coastal Walk - Part 2

After we finished our al fresco lunch looking out at Bronte beach we climbed up and around the next curve in the cliff.  I was excited for this next part of the walk as I heard a great deal about it; and also glimpsed it from rather far away when we first started the walk.  I'm referring, of course, to Waverly Cemetery. 

Waverly cemetery was started in 1877 - amazingly enough, it is still operational today - and sits on the top of the cliff looking out over the Tasman Sea.  Apparently, the cemetery started off on a relatively small plot of land; but over the years has grown to over 140 acres of plots and monuments.  I know that some people don't really enjoy being around or in cemeteries; but not me...

I know this will sound a bit macabre or even slightly fanciful; but I don't care.  I just feel very peaceful by graves.  I also feel quite hushed and reverent thinking about all the lives that used to belong to all the remains - all the memories and experiences sort-of massing together into this huge cloud of slowly forgotten humanity that hangs over the dead. 

Wow, that sounded even worse than I thought it would. 
Ok - to explain - when I was little I was completely freaked by cemeteries, wakes, coffins, dead people etc...  The fear part of it faded as I got older; but the rest of it was still pretty firmly entrenched.  After my Dad died, I realised that dead people aren't gross or scary or anything like that - they are all someones dad, mom, brother, sister, husband, wife etc... I also came to realise that cemeteries weren't spooky at all - they were places where family members could come to feel close to those that they lost.  Plus, some years earlier, my bestest friend Meaghan took me to a cool old cemetery in her neighborhood in New York which sort-of started me down the road of viewing cemeteries as history.  Well, back to my original subject matter... there is plenty of history here at Waverly Cemetery...

There are lots of famous Australians who are interred here...  I didn't recognise the names so I doubt any of you would either.  One super interesting tidbit that I read was that there are at least eleven Civil War veterans buried there.  Also, in true Aussie form, there are memorials sprinkled all over the cemetery - to WWI veterans, to WWII veterans, to the soldiers of NSW, to those that were killed in a sea mine explosion, to the Irish Martyrs etc...

I was reading an old (ok, not really old - just outdated) account of the cemetery from the late nineties that was discussing the general disrepair of the place and the inefficacy of having a path for walkers doing to Eastern Coastal Walk leading right through the cemetery.  Apparently, there was some vandalism from the local youths and so-on.  There was a discussion of having a new and modern boardwalk put up along the cliff; but outside the fence of the cemetery.  I am pleased to report that the board walk was indeed erected and looks very nice and not garish.  Joe and I (well, mostly me) decided to use the old path so we could take a gazillion pictures of walk through the cemetery and be reflective.  We did rejoin the new and level boardwalk at the main gates and I must report, I think it was the most pleasant walking experiences of the whole trek.  In this case, I think modernization of the walking path was a resounding success.

                                                                    Some final shots:

The rest of the walk went downhill from there (no, not literally) with the entrance to Clovelly beach which was mostly all paved, filled with children and looked and smelled rather oily. 
There were a couple more fetching little coves - one with fishing boats and dogs and sunbathers on the rocks. Then, back up to the next cliff on which was perched a forlorn looking park on one side and apartment buildings on the other.  The walk weaved into some residential areas, taking us away from the sea view and I was not impressed.  Luckily, down the next hill was Coogee beach, the end of our trek and some delicious iced coffees as reward.  The bus ride back was, thankfully, much less crowded and I used the time to doze on Joe's shoulder.  We were both pleasantly wearied and decided on an evening in with tv and an early bed.

My final verdict on the walk is this: 

I would do it every weekend if I could - it is absolutely not to be missed!  I can't wait to do the beginning and final leg of it...  Plans are in the making!

9 Responses
  1. C. In Oz Says:

    I love that cemetery on the hill. It's so dramatic. (I like cemeteries, too - I just love imagining what all these people's lives were like).

    Neb and I love that walk. We should have a walking double date sometime (Neb will bring the chutney). ;-)

  2. Sarah Stewart Says:

    You are taking some lovely pictures recently Mimi. x

  3. Samantha Says:

    Cool photos, chica!

  4. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Cristin - No joke and no lie, I was in the shower today, said the word chutney out loud and started laughing so hard I thought I was going to fall over. I'll agree to the walk; but only after I am a bit more fit. There are a couple staircases and hills that leave me embarrassingly winded ;)

    @ Sarah - Thanks! I got a new photo editing software that I love - I'm not using it for anything drastic - just good cropping, frames, vignettes etc... but it had really inspired me to pay more attention to what I am snapping.

    @ Samantha - Thanks! See above :D

  5. Bindie Says:

    I love these two posts, Mimi! The cemetery photos remind me of some huz and I have taken in Narooma.

  6. Elsja Says:

    We love that walk and every time we do it (well, both times- it's not like we do it every day) we walk through that cemetary and look at the graves. I like looking at the names of the people who lived 70 years ago.

    Then I imagine how much all that property would be worth!! Those would be some EXPENSIVE graves in this day and age!

  7. Mimi and Joe Says:

    @ Bindie - Thanks much!

    @ Elsja - Seriously, could you imagine now if some company approached the city of Sydney and askedthemto donate acres and acres of waterfront property? They would get laughed out of the city....

  8. Gina E. Says:

    My hubby and I also like to wander through old cemeteries and read the gravestones. They are so full of history. The saddest ones to me are the tiny kids who didn't survive early days in Australia's harsh environment, and the young men who died in the wars...
    You've only been married two years?? Well, a big HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, and many more to come! {{HUGS}}

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