Ceme­tery teems with tales of state’s his­tory

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - SA TOURISM AWARDS -

OURISM is alive and well at Aus­tralia’s old­est op­er­at­ing ceme­tery. West Ter­race Ceme­tery has just been in­ducted into the State’s Tourism Hall of Fame fol­low­ing its third con­sec­u­tive award for Cul­tural and Her­itage Tourism at the 2014 South Aus­tralian Tourism Awards, and it is no won­der why.

This unique open-air mu­seum and work­ing ceme­tery has been a fea­ture of Ade­laide since the city was laid out in 1837. Now the iconic land­mark is quickly be­com­ing a popular des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors.

In late 2013, travel bi­ble Lonely Plant even named the ceme­tery as one of Aus­tralia’s “on-trend attractions”.

Home to 150,000 souls, the ceme­tery is teem­ing with fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ries of the state’s past res­i­dents. Among them is Hol­ly­wood ac­tress turned bal­le­rina Madeleine Parker, one of the strangest fig­ures in 20th cen­tury mu­sic Percy Grainger, dec­o­rated war hero Arthur Seaforth Black­burn as well as the man at the cen­tre of one of Aus­tralia’s great­est mys­ter­ies, the Somer­ton Man.

The lat­est way to ex­plore the ceme­tery is in the dead of night. Ev­ery Fri­day, un­der the veil of dark­ness, vis­i­tors are in­tro­duced to a host of du­bi­ous char­ac­ters, lar­rikins and ec­centrics as part of a unique guided sound and light ex­pe­ri­ence.

Th­ese real-life tales of mur­der, mys­tery and may­hem are as baf­fling and bizarre as you would find in any good book.

There are also reg­u­lar guided tours ev­ery Tues­day and Sun­day at 10.30am as well as five free self-guided trails to ex­plore.

Ade­laide Ceme­ter­ies Au­thor­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Pitt said the au­thor­ity prided it­self on be­ing one of the coun­try’s most in­no­va­tive providers of ceme­tery ser­vices.

“We cater for the liv­ing, not just the dead, and our guided tours and self-guided trails are a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of this com­mit­ment,” Mr Pitt said.

To book a tour, call the au­thor­ity on 8139 7400, email eventsWTC@aca.sa.gov.au, or visit www.aca.sa.gov.au

The lat­est way to ex­plore the ceme­tery is at night.

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