Victorian Funeral Re-enactment

The cortege coming into the cemetery, thanks to Tanya Saint for this photo

Sunday I went to the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority and Victoriana Society of SA‘s re-enactment, at West Terrace Cemetery Adelaide, of John Luke Monck‘s funeral in 1880.  With a lot of pomp and ceremony the horse drawn hearse made its way up West Terrace and into the cemetery.

Mournful mourners following the hearse


Mourners following the hearse


The horse drawn hearse

I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the crowd, it was a good turn out of several hundred people, even though it threatened to rain.  Thankfully there was only a light shower after the funeral.

Funeral Card


Funeral Card


Funeral Card

The mourners and family members gathered around the grave, with the crowd looking on.  A traditional funeral service was held, the committal spoken as it would have been in 1880, we all sang the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy and then there was the closing prayer and benediction.  If you’re not familiar with the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy you can listen to it here

The coffin in the grave



Lovely people from the Victoriana Society who were happy to pose for photos


The patient horses and their driver

I had mentioned in the Australian Genealogy group on Facebook that I would like to go to this event and so did another Adelaidian, Tanya.  We hadn’t met before but we ended up catching the same bus to the cemetery and chatting as we crossed the road.  It didn’t take long to work out who each other was and we had a great time watching the funeral and talking genealogy!

My 3x great grandfather William Chapman died on the first of January 1897 and had a large funeral cortege.  This re-enactment gave me a bit of an idea of what William’s funeral might have been like.  My next post will be about William Chapman and his funeral.

2 thoughts on “Victorian Funeral Re-enactment

  • May 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

    What an amazing experience! Thanks for sharing the pictures. The whole event appears to have been beautifully staged.

    • May 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

      Yes, it was very well done! The ‘mourners’ outfits were terrific right down to the ladies’ reticules (handbags) and drawers! 🙂


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