Jane Bridges’ wreath

This wreath made of wildflowers which was displayed at the grave of the 19th century Anglo-Australian poet Adam Lindsay Gordon was made for him by a ‘lost love’ Jane Bridges from England and transported to Melbourne by a devoted admirer. It was originally framed and then displayed under a glass dome and finally broken up and placed in sachets inside special limited edition volumes about Adam Lindsay Gordon which are now held in the State Library of Victoria.

I touched one of these sachets when I was reading through a copy of the memorial volume at the library and wondered about the story behind it. Since his suicide in 1870, Gordon’s following in Australia has persisted, reaching its peak in the years after World War 1, with huge pilgrimages to his grave at the Brighton General cemetery. Despite the fact that Jane Bridges actually rebuffed Gordon’s advances, driving him to emigrate to Australia (amongst other factors) her funerary wreath was celebrated with great fervour, suggesting that his fans were trying to compensate for his tragically shortened life.

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