I completed my PhD thesis on colonial era Queensland funeral, burial and mourning practices, particularly investigating the transmission and modification of the predominate British burial culture to the tropical environment. I have read numerous contemporary reports of the grief expressed by the populace at large at the demise of the great and good; and countless newspaper column inches describing the deaths of the notorious, the unfortunate and those whose passing was somehow out of the ordinary.
I have been struck how, after the internalization of public grief resulting from the mass carnage of two World Wars that mourning has returned to the public stage. Since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, there has been a resurgence of displays of grief, mourning and remembrance ranging from simple road-side memorials to large audiences viewing live television broadcasts of funerals. I am investigating the physical shift of focus of this grief from the place of burial (as in a bygone era) to the place of death.