Ziino, Bart: Distant grief

Ziino, Bart

A Distant Grief: Australians, War Graves and the Great War, University of Western Australia Press, Crawley, WA, 2008

The book ‘examines the role of war graves and cemeteries in private grief and mourning’. Given that the graves of the 60 000 Australians killed during World War I were in Europe

how did their families, on the other side of the world and without the bodies of their dead, attempt to come to terms with their loss? Australian reactions to death were defined by distance, a circumstance that impelled mourners towards communal responses to their loss. It drove them to create and sustain links with the graves that most knew they would never see. (blurb)

In conclusion, the author notes how chronological distance today has replaced geographical distance. ‘Distance has changed. It’s tyranny, to borrow, Geoffrey Blainey’s phrase, is no longer the inability to visit graves, but its drawing away from Australians the living links to the past and a past memory of the war.’ (p. 190)

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