Approximately eight kilometres north-west of Quambatook just off the Quambatook to Kerang Road you will find the small township of Budgerum. In the 1880s Budgerum was the “hub” of the district but with the extension of the railway through Quambatook, Budgerums's importance as a settlement waned.
In 1881 a school was opened on Block 9, Budgerum and in March 1897 the school closed. It was reopened in July, 1908 and permanently closed on 5 August, 1909. The school had its largest enrolment in 1881 with 45 pupils but by 1882 the enrolment was down to 19 pupils.
The cemetery at Budgerum was in operation from 1883 until 1904 when the Quambatook Cemetery was opened. No known burial records appear to exist to today and there are only three headstones remaining today. The cemetery is on the Heritage Inventory for archaeological features under the Heritage Act, 1995 [H7626-0001]. The GSV holds a small file on the cemetery in its cemetery vertical files with the data on the cemetery (the three headstones) supplied by Mr J. Walker.
In January, 1881 a number of residents in the area petitioned the government of the day for a cemetery at Budgerum. The site for the proposed cemetery was to be on ten acres of land owned by John Foy. The early cemetery records note the use of the cemetery's name as Foys, after the owner, but it was officially known as Budgerum. Following a review of the site by the various government bodies of the day, the cemetery was temporarily reserved by the Governor in Council on 9 April, 1883 and gazetted on the 13 April, 1883. [VGG 1883, page 812]
Early Trustees for the cemetery included the following over the years from 1883 to the early 1910s:
From the information in the cemetery file held by the DHS – Cemeteries Unit, there is a note that there had been no further burials in the cemetery since1903. The Trustees requested in 1915 to sell part of the ten acres as it was no longer required. No approval was given for this. This request to sell part of the land was made again in December, 1934 but again not approved. What was proposed was to fence off the area of the cemetery where the burials had occurred over the years and lease the remainder of the land. The land was noted in 1934 as being a “harbour for rabbits and their warrens invade the grave sites”.
There is a note in the cemetery file of 12 March, 1935 that the remains of several people buried in the cemetery have been disinterred and removed to the Quambatook Cemetery.
In February 1940 the then Shire of Kerang noted that “there were about forty graves in the cemetery, many of which contain the remains of some of the old pioneers of this district”. They then noted “it is felt that something should be done to preserve the cemetery and have a complete record made of all interments.” They also noted that “an inspection of the area has been made and it would appear that the graves are confined to an area of one acre and it is considered that the fencing of this area and the improving thereof would satisfy the wishes of all concerned.”
The three graves still remaining in the old cemetery in 1983, with only two containing inscriptions, are for:
Further research has identified the following buried in the cemetery: Thomas Brown, aged 16 years, died 1898 John Maquire, aged 68 years, died 1898 Frederick MacDonald, aged not known, died 1898 Charles Hugh Walter Monk, aged 2 years, died 1903. Up until November, 1951 there were still Trustees appointed for the cemetery.
Still more research is needed to identify those who were buried in the old cemetery.David Weatherill Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia