Art of commemoration at Eureka Centre

The fascinating story of Governor Hotham, his role in the Eureka Rebellion and his extraordinary grave will be the topic of discussion during an upcoming presentation at the Eureka Centre.

It’s one of two talks Historian and Manager of Cultural Heritage at Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, Dr Celestina Sagazio, will present at the Eureka Centre this Ballarat Heritage Weekend.

Dr Sagazio is a leading authority of cemetery heritage and previously worked as an historian for the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) for 26 years. In her current role, she is responsible for heritage interpretation, cultural tourism and monument restoration at the Melbourne General Cemetery.

Her first talk on Sunday 26 May at 11am is about Governor Sir Charles Hotham and the story behind his monument in the Melbourne General Cemetery. This illustrated presentation will tell the fascinating story of Governor Hotham, his role in the Eureka Rebellion and his extraordinary grave.

The 1854 Eureka Stockade Rebellion in Ballarat is an important event in our history and Sir Charles Hotham was pivotal in both triggering the rebellion and instituting the resulting political reforms in its aftermath.

The splendid craftsmanship of the Hotham Monument reflects the determined vision of his widow, Jane Lady Hotham, to have the biggest and best monument in the Australian colonies to ensure that her husband would receive proper recognition for his service.

The monument is the only known work in Australia of English architect George Gilbert Scott and sculptor John Birnie Philip. The monument is currently being restored to its former glory.

Dr Sagazio will present a second, Interesting Cemetery Tales and Humourous Epitaphs, at 3pm. During this talk she will explore the lighter side of cemeteries with interesting stories and funny inscriptions from Australia and around the world, including the reasons behind the construction of the famous Walter Lindrum billiard table monument and the only authorised Elvis Presley Memorial outside of America – both iconic destinations within the historic Melbourne General Cemetery.

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