A general cemetery was established in 1829–1830 for the town of Perth, Western Australia, and during the rest of the nineteenth century, other cemeteries were added to the complex to cater for various Christian denominations as well as for Chinese and Jewish communities. In all, seven contiguous cemeteries were used over the colonial period in Perth. By 1899, when the cemetery complex was closed, approximately ten thousand people were buried there. The deceased or their bereaved loved ones chose funerals, epitaphs, burial locations, and funerary monuments to express social, ethnic, religious, familial, and gendered identity. These expressions of identity provide more information than just birth and death dates for genealogists and family historians as to what was important to the deceased and their family. In the first half of the nineteenth century, identities were dominantly related to family, whereas later in the century, identities included religion, ethnicity, and achievements within the colony of Western Australia. Some expressions of identity in Perth contrast with those found in other Australian colonies, especially in regard to the use and types of religious crosses in the Christian denominations.
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