The coolabahs of Bourke Cemetery stand guard over a fascinating piece of Australia's frontier history and clues to some of the most poignant stories you could ever imagine.
While the new (and current) section of the Bourke Cemetery continues to serve the community in remembrance of their loved ones, the historic old section holds the secrets of a bygone age. The old graves of Afghan cameleers sit beside a corrugated iron mosque, one of the country's oldest places of Muslim worship. Just across the way, Chinese characters are depicted in reference to the souls who came to Australia to bring the first market gardens and establish the first Asian communities.
Sons of Ireland, Scotland and every corner of the British empire were dispatched to Australia to make their mark, and whether they made it or not, many found their final resting place in the Bourke Cemetery.
A visit will take you back into a world of bush rangers and drovers, cameleers and river boatmen, lost children, and local heroes. So many of the epitaphs tell of the tragedy that constantly stalked the western plains; " drowned", "killed by lightning", "murdered", "sheer isolation took its toll", "poisoned himself", "shot dead by police", and "found hanging in the bush".