Werribee Old Cemetery

Werribee

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An Order in Council approving the establishment of cemetery in the Parish of Cut-paw-paw on the Kororoit Creek Road was gazetted in the Government Gazette of 26 June, 1885, page 1848. The size of the cemetery was one acre, one rood and thirty-three perches.

Very few records remain regarding the early stages of the cemetery but there is reference to indicate that the there were at least three graves, marked by headstones, close to the railway boundary on 27 January, 1927 when the District Surveyor lodged his report on the state of the cemetery. On 25 May, 1956 the Shire Secretary, Shire of Werribee wrote to the Secretary, General Health department, Melbourne noting the following:

* that the council had no objection to the land being revoked and made available for commercial use, and

* there was no record available as to when the bodies in the three graves were removed, but it was noted that the bodies were removed some 15 years before and reinterred in Williamstown Cemetery. Just who was buried in the three graves was not known.

* The cemetery was part of the Cut Paw Paw Sanatorium near the Williamstown Cemetery.

* It was identified in the Dept of Human Services Cemeteries Unit Archives as the Old Werribee Cemetery because at the time of the file being opened - 1956, it was in the Werribee Shire.

* The sanatorium seems to have gone by a number of names over time - Cut Paw Paw Sanatorium, Sanatorium at Cut Paw Paw, Williamstown Sanatorium.

* In its operational time the sanatorium was used for smallpox cases in the late 1800s and the bubonic plague in 1900.

* Owing to a concern for burial of people who had, and died of smallpox, it was decided to have a cemetery as part of the sanatorium. It was felt that the general population would not want these deceased people buried in the public cemetery.

* In the Victorian Government Gazette of 1885 a Cemetery In the Parish of Cut Paw Paw of one acre, one rood, thirty-three perches was gazetted - 22 June, 1885 [VGG 1885/1848] in the Sanatorium grounds.

* It was known at the time as either the Sanatorium Cemetery or the Cut Paw Paw Cemetery.

* The cemetery was in use from 1885 to about the early 1900s.

* The sanatorium land was originally of 50 acres, but it would appear that only a very small portion of the 50 acres was used. Data From the various files located to date on the cemetery: The cemetery was also known as the Sanatorium Cemetery (Cut-paw-paw) Central Board of Health [Memo: 10 July, 1884 Office of Lands and Survey, Melbourne-PROV]. It would appear that the cemetery was set up for burials for people who died in the Sanatorium. [Memo: Central Board of Health: 10 July, 1884-PROV] Very few records remain regarding the early stages of the cemetery but there is reference to indicate that the there were at least three graves, marked by headstones, close to the railway boundary on 27 January, 1927 when the District Surveyor lodged his report on the state of the cemetery. On 25 May, 1956 the Shire Secretary, Shire of Werribee, wrote to the Secretary, General Health department, Melbourne noting the following:

* that the council had no objection to the land being revoked and made available for commercial use, and

* there was no record available as to when the bodies in the three graves were removed, but it was noted that the bodies were removed some 15 years before and reinterred in Williamstown Cemetery. Just who was buried in the three graves was not known. [Correspondence by R.P.Carty: 23.7.1956 to the Secretary, General Health Branch, Melbourne.]

In a letter from the Secretary for Lands [27 March, 1956) to the Secretary, Public Health Department, Melbourne it was noted that “The area has since been licenced by the Lands Department as advised on 22.12.33 in reply to your office's inquiry of 13.2.1933…..A recent inspection, however, discloses that the graveyard is no longer apparent, the headstones and fencing having disappeared.”

The Governor in Council signed an order to discontinue burials in the Old Werribee Cemetery on 5 March, 1957 and the order was gazetted in the Government Gazette on 13 March, 1957, page 902.

Further research is required to ascertain the early history of this cemetery and just who were buried in it. Were there more than three graves in the cemetery? The information notes that there were three graves with headstones, nothing in regards to other burials with no visible markers or headstones.

If anyone has any information on the burials in this old cemetery, I would greatly appreciate hearing from them.

 

David Weatherill
Email: djweath@bigpond.net.au
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

 

 

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