Symond Street Cemeteries without Gabba and the Giblets

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NIKON D70 - 1/100 sec, f8 at 60mm

I went for a wander through the Symond Street Cemeteries today. I must have driven by them hundreds of times but never actually explored them. Let me tell you though it's worth finding a place to park your car in the God forsaken spot of Auckland and having a wander. Do it in daylight though as I suspect it's a little dangerous after dark with the aerosol cans laying about and evidence of glue sniffers everywhere. I felt a little uncomfortable walking around on my own. There is a nice history here, but I can summarize in a few sentences if you don't have the time.

The cemetery was opened in the 1840's and closed in the mid 1880's, although blood relatives were allowed to be buried there up until sometime in the early 1900's. It's odd that all the graves are over 100 years old. there is no new graves. The newest I found was someone buried in 1930. The cemetery on the Grafton side is completely overgrown with a few paths and on the other side of Symonds Street, it's a liitle more "cemetery" like. Hundreds of graves were moved when the motorway went through in the 60's, but for the most part, everything is as it was back 100 years ago or more. The way people died back then was interesting too. There was plenty of old farts that must have expired from old age. But there was also someone that drowned at Waiwera (imagine the trip up to Waiwera back then), and lots of people that died from being thrown from their horse.

It occured to me that Gabba and the kids were really missing out on seeing this stuff. I can't take them all with me when I go making photo's as they get impatient when I spend 10 minutes getting the shot. But I've got to see some really interesting parts of Auckland in the last 6 weeks I have been making specific photo gathering missions. I guess Gabba and the giblets really are there though when they see the photo's, but it's not really the same. I need to figure a way that they can come and I can feel free to take the time I need.

The photo above isn't the best capture I got today, but it gives a feel for the overgrown nature of the cemetery.

UPDATE: I've just reread this post and it could hardly be considered to be well written huh? My apologies. I can't rewrite it now becasue I've had a Famous Grouse and now my typing and writing skills are under the influence.

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Posted: Sunday, 17 July, 2005 19:03

Captured: 2005:07:17 13:32:35

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  • Hi Dave check this guys work out. You just gotta hate guys this good. Nice Photo Blog too arrrgh! It drives me insane working out how to get a shot that good although he has some pretty good notes
    David Servile - Monday, 18 July, 2005 15:40
  • Yeah, I been watching him for a while. Sweet photo's alright. But I've been thinking lately that they are all starting to look the same. Just about every shot he takes bas been taken on the freakin beach. Checkout <a href=""></a> for more really good photoblogs!
    Dave - Monday, 18 July, 2005 15:43
  • Hi this place is fascinating I tried to have a look around one day but it was definitely spooky and I felt like I needed twenty companions.. I have three direct ancestors from different branches of my family buried here, one a pioneering farmers wife, one a police commissioner and one who was executed for murder so maybe thats why I get a bit edgey. Love the photo.
    Marianne - Sunday, 7 May, 2006 13:17
  • Marianne, interesting that you have some many relations there. I wondered when I was there if there was many Aucklands that had family there, or if they knew they had family there.
    Dave - Monday, 8 May, 2006 9:12
  • The photo above is one of the Wesleyan missionaries gravestones in the Wesleyan and General cemetery. I note that the site today seems rather bare but when I photographed it twenty years ago, all around the stones were masses of beautiful ferns. The whole made a glorious picture. I am told the stones originally faced in the opposite direction but were turned around when the site was rededicated by family members. Definitely not the place to wander about alone but well worth a visit with friends.
    Shirley Kendall - Tuesday, 6 January, 2009 14:43
  • Thanks for your comments Shirley, it's an interesting place.
    Dave - Tuesday, 6 January, 2009 14:53
  • If anyone interested in this old cemetery would like to know where a particular grave might be found, please email me and I may be able to help. I have photographed many of these old gravestones and checked and double checked the inscriptions where possible. It is a daunting task to locate the grave of an ancestor in there without some help. I used to go right down to the bottom of the gully among the towering trees, abundant ivy, and ginger plant and look up to the blue sky with little white clouds floating by. Down there, the noise of the traffice is almost non-existant and the whole experience is quite surreal. However, do not go down there alone as there can be some wierd types hanging around at times. Cheers, Shirley
    Shirley Kendall - Sunday, 17 October, 2010 22:33

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