Remembering little loved ones

December 9, 2023 BY

Memories: Ballarat Cemeteries CEO, Annie De Jong, invites those who have a baby or child resting in the Ballarat New Cemetery to the 2023 Ceremony of Remembrance. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

AN annual Ceremony of Remembrance will commemorate the life of each baby and child in the care of Ballarat Cemeteries.

Ballarat Cemeteries CEO Annie De Jong said the event will run for about 20 minutes, and people and families who have lost a young loved one are invited to celebrate their life.

“It’s a beautiful and peaceful service where people stand alone together,” she said.

“It’s a time to share remembrance, and to be with others who have a loved one that is no longer physically with them, although they are always still in their hearts.

“Wonderful people from agencies who support a family when they’ve lost a child or a baby come and read a poem, and this year we’ve got the Sing Australia choir coming to sing.

“They’ll finish off with the song, Over the Rainbow, which is beautiful.

“We’ve also got lanterns for families to leave a light in the cemetery for their loved ones, and these will hang in the children’s area.”

The ceremony will be held from 6pm this Monday 11 December at the Ballarat New Cemetery, near the Babies Lawn and Children’s Corner, which is located just inside the Lydiard Street gates.

“We have special spaces for children and for babies at the cemetery, which is sort of like a little creche,” Ms De Jong said. “Adults are not in this area of the cemetery.

“It’s a special place because we know the people visiting it are remembering young people.

“We have topiary animals, we’re relaxed about what people bring to leave on the graves in this area, and families can keep their loved ones in their hearts in their own way.”

Anyone who would like to write a message on a Christmas bauble is encouraged to arrive 30 minutes earlier.

Originally an initiative of the Ballarat Bereavement Network, the ceremony has been a tradition for about 20 years.