On the 10 th September, 1857 a request was made to the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Victoria for land to be set aside for a proposed cemetery at Donnybrook. Following this request and a favourable response from the Commissioner, a further communication was made on the 18 th August, 1859 by the then newly identified Trustees for the proposed cemetery noting that two acres of land for use by each denomination have been set aside, plus a further two acres held in reserve for “the internment of Strangers”, making a total of 10 acres of land for the cemetery.
The original Trustees were:
· William Wilson Presbyterian,
· Edward Wright Methodist,
· George Abbot Snr Episcopalian, and
· John Trainor Roman Catholic.
·John Trainor was the Chairman of the group.
Donnybrook Cemetery can be found by driving up the Hume Highway from Melbourne to Kalkallo, pass Donnybrook Road on the right, and then turn into Malcolm Street and the cemetery is directly ahead, about 200 metres.
In June, 1980 a report was written by Mr A. Joseph on the cemetery for the Public Health Division. It was noted in the report that:
· fencing was virtually non-existent
· 22 headstones and monuments remained,
· the cemetery reserve is largely overgrown with weeds and shrubs
· there was no official plan of the cemetery and the burial register was noted as being incomplete.
· A recommendation was made to approach the Shire of Whittlesea to see if they would take over the Trustee role or to have the cemetery closed.
- The Shire of Whittlesea noted that it was their policy to promote local responsibility for cemeteries and called a public meeting to deal with this. From this meeting held on the 11 th August, 1980 a new Donnybrook Cemetery Trust consisting of five members was set up.
The records identify a number of burials at the cemetery, with the following being a brief example from the these records.
· ZINNOW, Robert: accidentally killed on the railway on the 2 nd October, 1888, aged 40 years. [The headstone was erected by his friends and fellow workmen]
· JEX, Mahalah: late of Norfolk, England who died on 20 th July, 1879, aged 79 years.
· DOYLE, John: native of Taghmon, County Wexford who died on the 13 th February, 1865, aged: 58 years.
· MENZIES, Elizabeth: died at Albury on the 14 th March, 1913, aged 81 years.
· BROOKS, Robert: of Strokestown, County Roscommon, Ireland who died on the 16 th November, 19000, aged 59 years, and
· CHEW, Thomas James who died on the 24 th September, 1869, aged 4 months and Eli CHEW [died: 17 th Sept, 1873, aged: 17 years] and Eli CHEW [died: 3 rd Nov, 1881, aged 51 years].
A hand drawn map of the cemetery was made on the 5 th August, 1980 showing the location of the known graves in the cemetery. This map only identified those graves that had headstones/memorials. The GSV in Melbourne holds a copy of these records.
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia