Material Memories and the Australian Memorial Imagination

University of Melbourne, School of Historical Studies
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Melbourne Historical Journal, 2011, 39 (2011), pp. 11 - 23
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This essay explores the transformation of Australian ways of mourning over the last forty years through memorials-one particular means by which those who live on commemorate the dead. Here I argue that changes to the form, purpose, and use of memorials reflect important shifts in the nature of public remembering and people's relationship to the past since the 1960s. These changes to public remembering have taken place within the framework of a broader 'culture of commemoration' emerging in many western societies, what Erika Doss has succinctly called 'memorial mania'.' Through this 'culture of commemoration', many seek a connection with the past that strengthens the link between the personal, often intimate process, of remembering the dead and the public nature of mourning rituals or memorials.
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