About this blog

This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.
Heather Arnold.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Local Cemeteries

The Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp doesn’t have a cemetery, I presume because it was too wet and swampy - so residents of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp could be buried at Pakenham or Cranbourne or Lang Lang or Bunyip depending on what area of the Swamp they lived.

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.



The site for the Pakenham Cemetery was reserved on February 13, 1865 and the first trustees were appointed on May 8, 1865 and they were John Startup, Richard Fortune, Michael Bourke, Thomas Mulcahy and George Ritchie.  It is believed that the first burials actually took place in the 1850s.  The owner of the Royal Hotel at Koo-Wee-Rup, Denis McNamara, was buried at Pakenham after his death on July 27, 1925. Mr McNamara had started a business in Koo-Wee-Rup in 1891, then left the area and returned in 1904 when he purchased O’Riordans store and in 1915 built the Royal Hotel. His funeral was described as one of ‘the largest in the district, representative of every class and creed’.  Charles Wadsley who died in 1944 at his home in Koo-Wee-Rup is also buried at Pakenham. Mr Wadsley was a Past Master of the Koo-Wee-Rup Masonic Lodge and ‘an expert on asparagus growing’ according to his obituary.

Victorian Government Gazette May 23, 1865




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.



Lang Lang Cemetery site was reserved on December 5, 1887 and the first Trustees appointed December 10, 1889 were Thomas Poole, William Jones, Prosper Henry Victor Le Roux, Joseph Foster, William Norquay, Patrick McGrath, Edmund McGrath and Alexander McMillan. As a matter of interest the grandly named Prosper Henry Victor Le Roux is actually buried at Cranbourne. Christopher Moody – the source of Moody Street is buried at Lang Lang.  He was a Cranbourne Shire Councillor.  In 1890, Mr Moody owned the site of the Koo-Wee-Rup township and sub-divided the land between Rossiter Road and the Main Drain and Denham’s Road and the Highway. Very little of the land was sold due to the 1890s depression. The sub-division set out Moody, Gardner (called Koo-Wee-Rup Street by Moody), Henry (called Christopher Street by Moody) and Salmon Streets. 



 Victorian Government Gazette December 13, 1889



Lang Lang Cemetery Trustee George Poole's grave at Lang Lang

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