Today, my Mother, Sister,  Aunt and I went to Rookwood Necropolis to visit the graves and memorials of family members from the Swager side of the family.

The two graves we visited were those of my Uncle Fred and my Great-Grandmother, Sarah. We also visited the memorial tree commemorating the lives of my Great-Grandparents, Christian and Lena.

Uncle Fred’s Grave

My uncle, Frederick Christian Swager, died on the 6th September 1941 from head trauma caused when he was knocked off his bike by a car driven by an off-duty policeman. He was aged just 11 years old.

The Independent Cemetery office at Rookwood Necropolis

He is buried in the Independent Cemetery, Section J, Grave 505.

The Independent Cemetery was originally formed as an amalgamation of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Wesleyan, and Lutheran offices but also manages many more sections, including an Islamic burial ground, Pentecostal and Salvation Army sections and a section for those without a denominational affiliation.

It is one of eight separately managed offices that form the cemeteries within Rookwood Necropolis.

The grave is located close to the road on Carpenter Avenue, across from the new crypts being built in the Orthodox section.

Aunty Gladys (left) and Mum (Margaret, right) inspect the state of their brother's grave

Strangely, I had never visited his grave before. Yet, I have always felt a connection with my uncle. As a child I had been fortunate to have been shown his Scout belt and, at times, allowed to wear it while I played during visits to my grandparents’ house. It has only been in later years that I wonder about what went through my Grandmother’s mind as she saw me wearing his belt, ignorant of the grief she bore.

It had also been quite a long time since my Mother and Aunt had visited the grave.

Thankfully, I found the grave first and was able to gently inform them that it wasn’t in good shape prior to them seeing it.

We are currently undertaking the necessary steps to have the ownership of the grave transferred from my deceased grandfather’s name into my name for the purposes of the long-term upkeep of the plot area. Once this is done I can sign off on the arrangements for the repair of the headstone.

The grave is in need of repair. The first priority is to get the headstone reattached.

The headstone inscription reads:

A dear son & brother
Frederick C. Swager
passed away 6th Sept 1941
Result of accident
Aged 11 years.


Tomorrow: Sarah Ann Swager (nee Dolman)