The earliest cemetery was the Cranbourne Cemetery - the site for the Cemetery was reserved on December 11, 1857 and the following Trustees were appointed at the same time - Alexander Cameron, Patrick Thomson, James Smith Adams, William Sykes and Edward Malloy. William and Annabella Lyall are both buried at Cranbourne - they were the owners of Harewood house on the South Gippsland Highway which they built starting in 1865. A report of the content of his will (it was once quite common for newspapers to report this type of information) says that William Lyall ‘directs that his body be buried in the allotment set apart on his property as a private burying ground and that as little expense as possible be gone to in connection with his funeral’. It doesn’t appear that his wishes were adhered to in the matter of the burial as he has a substantial grave at Cranbourne. William died in 1888 and Annabella in 1916. Also buried at Cranbourne is Charles Rossiter, the source of the name Rossiter Road. He lived at Hawksdale at Koo-Wee-Rup from around 1873 and was instrumental in having the first school in the area built on the corner of Bethunes Road and Bayles Road in 1884.
Pakenham Cemetery Trustee, George Ritchies grave at Pakenham
The Bunyip Cemetery site was officially reserved on November 22, 1886 and on December 6, 1886 the first Trustees were appointed - Joseph Williams, George Birch and James Barnes. This cemetery was used by folk living on the eastern end of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp such as Cora Lynn and Iona. The first official burials did not take place until eight years after the Cemetery was officially gazetted with the first one in March 1894. Of the first 20 burials in the register, 19 were children. This was a result of the high infant mortality rate at the time before vaccinations and antibiotics came into widespread use. Here is a sample of this depressing and sad list: William Barnes aged 6 - cause of death Diptheria; Ethel Wayneith, 9 months - Marasmus (severe undernourishment); John Peart, 2 months - Marasmus; David Fallon 9 weeks - Maramus; Ann Benham 10 months -Pneumonia; Lily Norton 10 weeks - Whooping cough; William Heuson 4 months - Whooping cough; Denis McIvor 20 days - Meningitis; Mary Anne Mulligan 3 years - Diptheria.