How 2020 ended…

This has not been a good year.

But think of how it will be remembered two hundred years from now. How much remains within the collective imagination of the events of the year 1820 CE? How many people are now thinking about what happened only one hundred years ago, if we had not just lived through this particular year?

The book on the Dyson family progresses — but slowly. Sections on the early years in Lancashire, their life in Western Australia up till the time of the coming of convicts is done. The slow boat to Van Diemen’s Land has started. Bits and pieces of the rest exist as copious notes in various states of legibility, but there is still a long way to go.


There is a social media meme going around where two images are posted.. “How [Individual] started the year… How, [Individual] going now”. In deference to the sociologists of future eras, I’m not going to explain what the significance of this is.

However, I also find myself in the possibly unique position of being able to subvert this meme and at the same time totally kill the black humour that is the sole point of it…

This is what James Dyson’s gravestone looked like at the beginning of 2020…

Photograph by a disgruntled family relative…

This is what (part of it) it looks like now…

Image courtesy of Colgan Industries, supplied by the National Trust of Western Australia.
Image courtesy of Colgan Industries, supplied by the National Trust of Western Australia.

This happened only through the support of numerous family members and friends, and an incredibly generous individual who got us over the fund raising line at the beginning of the year. If I had permission to identify that person, I would!

Restoration of the Dyson Grave in East Perth Cemetery has begun.

[…] The builder was able to collect the headstone from East Perth Cemeteries earlier in the year and has taken it to their workshop where it has undergone a full JOS clean (hot gentle pressure wash). […] The lead lettering has been replaced by an experienced specialist tradesperson who used this as an opportunity to teach an apprentice in this traditional heritage skill. We are also still working on the repining and repair works required, […] It is a slow but steady process.

National Trust of WA

Supervised by the National Trust of WA, the pieces of the headstone were raised at some time during the middle of the year by the sub-contractors performing the restoration work. To be honest, I was very disappointed I could not be present on site when the broken slabs were lifted. Knowing what I now know about our lot, I was fully prepared to see something like this when the stones were removed:—

Larrikin trapped under fallen headstone (simulation only).

Restoration work is being done by Colgan Industries, and it is nice for a change to be able to say completely unironically:

Great work everyone, and thank you!

1 comment

  1. This is very good work you are doing and quite important. I’m a great great grandson of James Dyson, my father being Robert Edward Dyson, his father Percy Leonard Dyson, son of Thomas Dyson, son of James Dyson. My uncle Leonard Dyson conducted a genealogical study of his heritage in his later years and gave me the results just before he died.

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