Post Office Gallery
51-67 Pall Mall, Bendigo VIC 3550
|13 Dec 18 - 31 Mar 19|
The business of death – that is, the protocols for managing human death, as well as its associated rituals and practices – has been a part of civic life in Bendigo since the city’s earliest days. Items such as the roughly hewn travelling tool case once used by Heathcote undertaker William Perry in the 1870s offer a glimpse into the necessary practicalities of this ubiquitous, but unseen, profession.
While the denominated sections drawn into the plans of Bendigo’s cemeteries indicate the diversity of faiths observed within the city’s population, they also echo social segregations in the community linked to belief systems and culture. From the 1880s through to the 1920s, interest in the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science found proponents in Bendigo and central Victoria via the mystical philosophies of the modern theosophical movement. The 700 page tome ‘The Evidences of Spiritualism: Lectures, Addresses and Record of The Spiritual Phenomena’ was published in 1882 by Bendigo pioneer and Member for Sandhurst in the Legislative Assembly, W. D. C. Denovan, and demonstrates that the spiritualist movement of this period was embraced and forged by leaders in the community. Spiritualist folk practices and superstitious and occult rituals that denote a belief in the spirit world, ‘magical thinking’, or the belief in a causal relationship between personal actions and events, also may be observed throughout Bendigo’s social history.
Vale: mourning, remembrance and Spiritualism in Bendigo explores a subject still often regarded as taboo, yet remains a universal human experience.