Cemetery book records community’s rich history  

IT’S not everyday you see a woman wondering through a cemetery taking photographs of graves but observant residents of Bombala may have noticed Barbara Crowe and Rosemary McKay doing just that.

The pair has just released a book that will help record an important part of Bombala’s history. The book will be  released on February 22.

The Bombala Cemetery book includes detailed photographs of headstones and comprehensive detail of some of the region’s former residents. 

Ms Crowe, who has previously written similar books for cemeteries in Bega and other smaller cemeteries in the Bombala Shire, enjoyed the challenge of capturing some of Bombala’s most interesting stories. 

“This journey began with Rosemary Pool 

(nee McKay) who now lives in Pambula,” Ms Crowe said. 

“Her family are originally from Delegate so we set about to do a book on their cemetery which has already been released.”

“We approached the Bombala historical society and they asked us to do one on Bombala.” 

Together, the two ladies began photographing and consulting council records to create the hard copy record of the cemetery. 

The project took more than six months and Ms Crowe believes if she added up all the hours of photographing the pair spent approximately two months on site. 

“We had to fight with snakes and be very methodical about taking the photos. 

“Some days we also had to be very sensitive towards funerals that were taking place.

“Bombala was very interesting; with a little bit of local knowledge we were able to find some unmarked graves. 

“Everyone was very supportive of the project and wanting to share the information that they had. 

“It was  fascinating.” 

Ms Crowe said she is amazed at the detail and insight that a local cemetery can provide a community.

“What I find interesting is that we have done a couple of books now and you see the same names up and down the coast,” Ms Crowe said.

“And of course some of the stories on the headstones are fascinating because in the past it was not simply the name and dates written on it but there were often details of their death and record of their children’s names and grandchildren’s names.

“Some have lovely poems on them and it really adds flesh to their stories.” 

Ms Crowe said the details of how people died show an interesting time in Bombala’s history. 

“There were snake bite deaths, a drowning and very sadly a lot of child birth deaths.

“In Bombala what was unique was that we had access to the council records and some of the records there were more detailed than what was on the headstones, so we included that in the book.” 

The book titled Cemetery, War Memorial and Honour Roll in the Bombala Shire Council Area by Barbara Crowe, Rosemary Pool, Liz McIntyre and Marie McInnes will be available for purchase from February 22 at the Cosmo Café Bombala and the Bombala Historical Society.  

Graves at Bombala Cemetery provide a rich history of the town.

Graves at Bombala Cemetery provide a rich history of the town.