Potato Point is halfway between two very different towns. Narooma is on the coast, a hilly town with views far to the north, and an inlet dominated by Gulaga. Moruya is on the banks of the Deua: there you look along the river to the mountains of the Great Divide. I shop in both places, and explore them erratically. In Moruya I'm often at a loose end for a few hours while the car is being serviced, so I head off in a different direction each time.
Last week I decide to visit the cemetery. I walk across a very pleasant golf course which even provides shelters from flying golf balls; through the show ground where my quiche won first prize at the annual show before it went mouldy; past the high school where I was a casual teacher and my eldest daughter broke every rule and protocol, usually with impunity.
Graveyards are like rubbish tips. They are always located in splendid places with views that are wasted on their denizens: this one is no exception. I look beyond the markers of death to rolling hills, surprisingly green for this time of year.
The temperature is rising and I welcome benches under old trees as I ramble amongst well-known local names, and cogitate on the changing fashions in tombstones. Older ones showcase the style of the local funeral mason and sport generic words of propriety and piety. Moruya granite features in a few. There are simple wooden crosses; a few markers that have obviously been added by family later: and some that are very individual, even idiosyncratic – a freshly painted purple fence; a photo surrounded by attribute adjectives; a curved female shape, a tiny house complete with gables.
Moruya offers more than a graveyard. For the living, there are pleasant buildings, some with wrought iron verandahs, and a communion of churches.
Thirteen wooden sculptures are scattered around the town. They gleam brown and warm against the traffic and the sky representing many aspects of the town including the annual jazz festival, gold mining, wild life, motherhood, the air base in WW2, the Aboriginal presence and of course football.
Perhaps Moruya's greatest claim to fame is what came out of the ground along the river road towards the airport. The park at the roundabout at the southern end of town has a monument made of polished granite celebrating the men, miners and masons from thirteen different countries, who cut, dressed and numbered granite blocks ready to send to Sydney to build the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.