Little Para Wesleyan Cemetery

Williams Road
Hillbank

 

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The Little Para Wesleyan Church and cemetery
The following extracts are taken from:­
"Little Para Pilgrims" by James L. Potter
Published by Salisbury & District Historical Society Inc. 1997.

On December 23rd 1856 , half an acre of section 3092, Hundred of Munno Para (located on what is now William Road ), was purchased from Thomas Williams for the sum of £20. Something must have happened to Thomas Williams' liberality in the transaction of the land for which he had paid less than £4 per acre only two years previously. The Trustees listed on the deed were:- J.B. Hack, J. Colton, J. Swann, J. Woods, S.R. Gault, H. Whitford, N. Goodman, T. Mankey and T.J. Mitchell with W. Butters and W. Hill as ministers of the Wesleyan Church .

They erected a Chapel on the high eastern end of the allotment and allocated the lower western end for the provision of a cemetery. The Chapel became part of the Gawler Wesleyan Circuit and was opened for worship in April 1857; just over three months after purchasing the land. The first burial on the cemetery register was recorded in October 1860 but it is possible that burials, particularly of children, occurred before this.

How long the 'Little Para' congregation continued its worship we don't know but certainly by the time of the Methodist Church Union in 1900 it had ceased to function. The last two burials to take place in the cemetery are those of Henry Whitford (a foundation trustee) in August 1889 and Thomas Williams of "The Old spot" in August 1899. At the December Quarterly Meeting, in 1901, of the then Salisbury Methodist Circuit the following minute was recorded:- "The future of the Little Para Church property was discussed without definite resolution. The Church building had been sold for £5 and tenders would be called for erection of a fence around the property."

The property, consisting of half cemetery and half vacant land, continued under the oversight of the Salisbury Methodist Circuit. After many years it became derelict and from the 1970's the cemetery has been subject to considerable vandalism with the destruction of headstones and general desecration. In 1993 the South Australian Synod of the Uniting Church sold the vacant portion of the property (the church site) to a property developer. The only remaining headstones, those of the Whitford family, were removed and resited in the Methodist Cemetery in James Street , Salisbury . The cemetery was then purchased by the Munno Para Council to remain as a reserve.

 

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