Tuesday, 7 March 2017



As a child growing up in Urunga, NSW, I often visited the cemetery to visit my beloved Papauli. He had died when I was just five... I adored him and wasn't going to let him think I'd forgotten him. I mostly went there with my Aunt Mary. She didn't think it was at all strange that I would tuck little notes and drawings and always flowers, even if only dandelions, beside the beautiful headstone. 

Of course, being curious, I would wander all around the cemetery seeing who was where and trying to work out who had been dead the longest, who was the oldest, who was the youngest.

The year after my grandfather died, we saw a new grave... covered with numerous flowers and of course, I asked my Aunt who it was. She had tears in her eyes as she told me that it was a young boy called Noel, who should never have died, but he did something silly. I didn't learn the details for some time, but the sadness of his passing stayed with me. I was heartbroken losing my grandfather, and couldn't imagine how hard it was for this boy's parents.

 Wandering through TROVE, I came across this article... from January 1954. The tears flowed as I was taken back and seeing my Aunt crying..

Urunga Cemetery
Noel Ross Bracken
Died 27th January, 1954
Aged 13 years 

Noel was the son of Hugh Eric and Elsie May Bracken
Rest in Peace. 
Never forgotten.


  1. Replies
    1. It has stayed with me since I was about six, Kerryn. Every time we go back to visit the family graves, I always include Noel's. I didn't actually know him, but I had a much loved cousin about his age, and I watched her like a hawk. It was the first time I learnt that children died also.