ABOUT 85 people gathered at the beautiful bush cemetery at Whroo last Sunday afternoon, many descendants of some 300 people buried since the cemetery was created at the height of the gold rush in the 1850s.
A memorial plaque was unveiled to reveal the names and dates of those confirmed, from records, to have taken their longest rest in the grounds.
Also available to visitors were copies of obituaries, including the prominent local name of Martin Pettifer, whose death and funeral received the full treatment in the Rushworth Chronicle 117 years ago, in August 1900. In part it read: "If evidence were required to show the respect in which Martin Pettifer was held by the whole community, the large and representative attendance at the funeral on Sunday furnished it.
The remains were interred in the Whroo cemetery, the cortege leaving Rushworth comprised fully 70 buggies and a large number of horsemen, besides hundreds of persons on foot, who followed for about half the distance between Rushworth and Whroo and then returned.
The Rushworth Brass Band headed the cortege, playing the Dead March in Saul up High Street, the Oddfellows, of which society deceased was a member, following the band. At the top of the street the band and the Oddfellows got into vehicles, but nearing Whroo they again marched and headed the procession to the cemetery, the whole of Whroo having in the meantime joined the cortege."
They don't write tributes like that any longer.
Listening to the obituary at Whroo on Sunday were Yvonne Sloper (nee Pettifer) of Avenel, standing not far from Kyabram's Leon Pettifer, only "connecting" when each was pointed out to the other.
Yvonne's brother Graham Pettifer lives in Kyabram, which was also news to Leon.
So you never know who you are going to meet in a cemetery in the bush.