West Terrace Cemetery by Night
By Pearl Tizzie
Tragic Tales is a new guided night tour of the West Terrace Cemetery, Australia’s oldest operating cemetery. Previously only offered for special events like Adelaide Fringe, the tour will now be available every second Friday throughout the year, further evidence of life thriving in Adelaide outside of the peak festival season.
The Cemetery is usually closed from 7 pm until 7 am but this tour gives you special guided access to the site at night. The tour starts at the Curator’s Cottage where you are handed a lantern to guide your journey. Theatrical performers welcome you at the cottage and take you to notable sites within the cemetery. These characters bring the stories to life of key people laid to rest at the site.
Walking through the cemetery you stop at particular sites of events throughout the history of the cemetery. Performers bring to life the stories of notable people from Governors to Lion Tamers. Respectfully sharing summaries of those laid to rest in the space, and bringing a personal touch to some of the events experienced in their life. The tour reaches a tasteful balance of mournfulness, storytelling, tragedy and humour.
The tour makes great use of multimedia and space. Thankfully there are no jumpscares.
Refreshingly this tour focuses on the stories of key people that are buried in the cemetery and history, rather than embellishments or the supernatural. It is a great way to get to know the city and some of the history of the City of Adelaide. Knowledgeable and passionate tour guides welcome curious questions at the end of the tour – providing an opportunity to make the most of the history on the site.
While the tour is quite accessible it would be at your discretion if it may be appropriate for children. It does involve emotive or potentially sensitive themes. And be sure to rug up in winter!
If there were to be versions of the tour that focus on different characters in the cemetery, it would be worth a repeat visit. If nighttime walks are not your thing, there are other ways to engage with the cemetery following the tour including self guided walking tours during the day.
An interesting and different way of spending your Friday night, and to appreciate what we have here in our own city.
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