BY Danielle Rosewall
For those of you, like myself, who are history buffs, a stroll through the local Bendigo cemeteries should be interesting. Okay, so a lot of you are probably thinking ‘Umm, why would I want to walk through a cemetery; it’s not all that great?!’ And then there are the ones who also think it’s weird.
But you will find it is actually interesting just to take a walk through them as they open the doors to our history, considering how far back some of the graves go to. You may even stumble upon a relative you didn’t know about.
Most locals will know the four main cemeteries here in Bendigo: Eaglehawk, Bendigo, Kangaroo Flat and White Hills.
Bendigo: the Bendigo public cemetery dates back to the 1850s. The first registered burial was that of Ellen Mowbray Murphy on February 1st 1858, aged just 3 ½ years. The cemetery holds a monument erected to the memory of explorers Burke and Wills, and is also the resting place of George Lansell.
Eaglehawk: the Eaglehawk Cemetery dates back to 1863, which was when the site was first reserved. The first recorded burial at the Eaglehawk cemetery is that of John Edmond McDonough on July 6th 1864, aged 21, with a monument erected in his memory.
Kangaroo Flat: the Kangaroo Flat Cemetery was established in the mid 1850s and believed to have commenced in 1855. It was divided into strict sections that are still reflected today. These include Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian and Church of England. There is a memorial erected in memory of the infant children of Hames and Mary Luxton which is one of the earliest erected in the cemetery
White Hills: the White Hills Cemetery was officially opened in 1854. The first person to be buried there is unknown, but the earliest recognised grave at present is that of Gustave Alphonse Eugere Vazie, who passed away November 1853, aged 19 months.
So if you are up for it and have time to spare, take a walk through the local cemeteries here in Bendigo. It may sound crazy but it is very fascinating and you never know what you might learn.