Sound from the Ground celebrates WA’s heritage in song


Classical guitarists Jonathan Fitzgerald, Duncan Gardiner, Melissa Fitzgerald and Jameson Feakes prepare for Sound from the Ground.
Classical guitarists Jonathan Fitzgerald, Duncan Gardiner, Melissa Fitzgerald and Jameson Feakes prepare for Sound from the Ground.

WITH names such as Henry Trigg, John Septimus Roe and John Monger among the headstones, East Perth Cemeteries were the final resting place for many prominent Perth figures.

In a nod to Perth’s earlier occupants, four musicians will bring their classical acoustic music to St Bartholomew’s Church for Sound from the Ground this Friday and Saturday evening.

Part of the National Trust of Australia Western Australia’s (NTAWA) artist in residence project, the guitarists will strum through the stories of people whose names are etched in history through landmarks, suburbs and roads.

Heritage director Sarah Murphy said the musicians looked at how the graves told stories.

“The brief was to look at the graves and develop a repertoire based on their stories; its not funeral music or church music, its telling the stories of their lives,” Ms Murphy said.

“What’s interesting is that this is an oasis in the city. It’s a very rare site to find a colonial burial ground in the city; incredibly rare.”

The music, from 7pm-9pm, will include a mix of contemporary and historical music, pieces by WA composer Nigel Westlake, and an eight-movement composition by Perth resident, Duncan Gardiner.

“Its interesting there’s no acknowledgement of indigenous people here and there is only one grave where they know is an indigenous person,” Mr Gardiner said.

“(The eighth movement) is a tribute to the unacknowledged indigenous people.”

The East Perth Cemeteries used to encompass seven separate burial areas for different denominations before it closed in 1899.

The NTAWA’s month-long heritage festival ends on May 18.

Click here for tickets.