A MEMORIAL THE COMMUNITY WANTED.
Written by Cherie Strickland and Lorraine Clarke – Swan Genealogy
On the 18th August 1896 a few miles from Pinjarrah on the Williams Road between the properties of Mr Salter and Captain Fawcett, Paul Alazay was thrown from his horse when it is believed that his head hit a tree or tree stump. He had been on his way to Pinjarrah unfortunately it was at least half an hour before he was found. Captain Fawcett found Mr Alazay and brought him into Pinjarrah to Doctor Lovegrove, who immediately sent him to Perth. Doctors at Perth hospital on the 19th August declared that Mr Alazay was a hopeless case. He died later that day and was buried on the 21st in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at East Perth.
Paul Alazay had arrived in Western Australia in 1893 and within a short time period became an esteemed and respected member of the Murray Farmers Co-operative Association and of the close nit community of Pinjarrah and as such since his death a gloom passed over the township. The Farmer’s Co-op sent a letter of condolence to Paul’s father in France, in this letter the Co-op requested the Mr Francois Alazay allow the Association to erect a tombstone over his son’s grave. In the December the Co-op received a response from Francois expressing his gratitude to the Farmers Co-op for their condolences, also asking if the Association could attend the sale of his son’s property ensuring that it was not sold for less than its value, he also gladly accepted their offer to erect a tombstone over Paul’s grave.
A meeting of the Murray Farmers Co-operative Association was held on the 15th May 1897; during this meeting Edward McLarty brought to the attention of the meeting a “distressing hitch” which was causing a delay in the erection of the tombstone over Paul Alazay’s grave. The Roman Catholic Church did not keep records of the locations of burials and therefore could not identify the location of Paul Alazay’s grave. (We know how Mr McLarty must have felt), McLarty noted that the Roman Catholic Church still demanded payment of the sum of 1 pound 25 before the erection of the tombstone over the unknown location could take place. The meeting suggested that Bishop Gibney be approached to help the Roman Catholic Church identify the location of Paul Alazay’s grave. At the June meeting of the Co-op efforts were still being made to ascertain the exact location of Mr Alazay’s grave. As we are sure that members of the Co-op were at Paul Alazay’s funeral you think that they would remember his burial location, however no further mention of the dilemma is in the newspapers. As you can see a headstone was erected in the Roman Catholic Cemetery and still stands today but does it sit over the right body?