A better memorial than a grave and headstone

We like to have memorials to our loved ones, be they parents, spouses, children or friends. To the great majority of us (I think I can include most of humanity in this, not just Australians, Westerners or those of Christian background) the usual memorial has been some sort of marker in a cemetery.

But is this the best we can do? I think that, with a little thought and imagination, we can do far better. Why not make your memorial to your loved-one something like a sculpture in a public park, or a bench seat on a trail that tired walkers or cyclists can use and appreciate?

This page was started 2021/02/11 , last edited 2021/05/01
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Herons: memorial to Les Chambers
In Gleeson Wetlands, Clare
People who unthinkingly follow other people have often been likened to sheep. It seems to me that our habit of placing our memorials in cemeteries is sheep-like. We do it because that is the way it has always been done. It has taken me 75 years to realise this, so I am just as much at fault as anyone else.

A similar way in which we behave like sheep is when we see something that is not as it could be, that could easily be made better, chances are that we will just walk by rather than doing something to fix the unsatisfactory situation. Again, I have been guilty of this.

The white-faced herons of the photo on the right is a wonderful memorial to Les Chambers. Many people walk in the Clare Gleeson Wetlands. The sculpture has only been in the Wetlands for a week or so (at the time of writing), but I have already received a number of very positive remarks about it.

This is one of four sculptures by Darren Pattison at the Wetlands.

Bench seat memorial to Pauline Ling
On the Riesling Trail, Clare
The little plaque on the seat says:

Pauline Ling
Often walked this trail with 'Fred'
Fondly remembered by her loving family
John and Malcolm, Sarah and Nigel

There are a number of seats of various types along the Riesling Trail, most of them donated by individuals or small groups; they are appreciated by the trail users.

It is my bike in the photo. One of the many times I've ridden at least a part of the Trail.

By their works we will remember them

If a person has had a hand in some concrete feature, a public building, a museum, a miniature railway, a park, a trail, a public garden, public artworks, an arboretum, a community shop, a hospital or such then that contribution to society will be that person's memorial.

Similarly, if a person lives a life in which he (or she) tries to do good, or on the other hand, if he lives unscrupulously, he should be remembered for that. (See the Good and the Bad.) In some cases the good or harm that has been done will not be recognised for some time after the acts, I suspect this will very much be the case with the climate change criminals, people like Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer, Meg O'Neil and, of course, Donald Trup. I've written another page asking the question "why would you?" of people such as these, why would anyone chose to make themselves despicable?

On a far more positive note, I've listed many Australians who are trying to do good, to get action toward slowing climate change on another page. There are a great many who are trying to do good, they are generally much less known than those on 'the dark side'.

I would hope that the contribution, positive or negative, will be publicly recognised, if not immediately, at lease later on.

Perhaps our memorials will be in the memories of others, or in the writings and records of others? How will history see you, the reader?

Related pages

Related pages on this site...

Blood donation is easy, valuable, yet few do it.

Compassion for humanity and the biosphere.

Contribution to society and civilisation.

Death and euthanasia; don't be a sheep.

Don't just walk by, do something.


Self or all: Selfishness or altruism.

Self respect must be justified and deserved.

Climate change action, or resistance to the desperately needed action, in the international and the Australian theatre will be the memorial (or the condemnation) of many.