Creating Monuments

Helmut Mutschall and Grant Skinner are stonemasons in the Anglican Trust section of Sydney's Rookwood Necropolis, the "City of the Dead". Helmut and Grant construct and restore stone monuments and headstones over graves - including restoring headstones from the 19th century by hand.

Helmut Mutschall started his career in stonemasonry in 1986. His family moved to Australia from Germany as there was more work in stonemasonry than cars, as he had been previously trained as an auto-electrician. His father was a stonemason from age 14 to 60, he taught Helmut the trade and now Helmut is passing on that same knowledge.

Grant Skinner started his career at Rookwood cutting grass and doing burials. He was offered the chance of doing stonemasonry at TAFE and has been doing it now for four years. Now he works in the office liaising with families about the type of gravestone they want, and ordering the stone from China.

Grant has even worked on some unusual projects: last year, a Chinese woman wanted a pig shape for their baby's grave, as the baby was born in the Year of the Pig.

Grant finds satisfaction in helping families out, by giving them some happiness in their time of grief - and seeing the works by Helmut and Grant, we can see why.

VJ Rodney Meier