Adelaide's West Terrace Cemetery

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The Minute Book of the Adelaide Public Cemetery minuted on the 29th August, 1843 , the granting of a portion of the Public Cemetery for the exclusive use of the Hebrew Community. This application for a Part of the Cemetery was prompted by the death and burial of Nathaniel Philip Levi on the 21st July, 1843 , the first member of the fledging Adelaide Hebrew Community to die. The area of land granted was situated on the western boundary of the Cemetery and measured 100 feet from the western boundary fence and 50 feet north and south.

Some time later the Jewish portion was considerably extended to the north to border the portion of the Cemetery that had been granted to the Roman Catholic Church in 1845. This increase can be seen in the 1847 map of the Cemetery (S.A.Archives GRG 35/585/42). However this area was considerably in excess of the needs of the Jewish community and when a Land Grant was eventually issued to the Hebrew Community (Memorialized in the General Registry Office 4 Sept. 1852, Book 42, Number 443) the area was considerably less.

However the area granted was still in excess of the needs of the Jewish community, whilst the neighbouring Catholic Cemetery was continually needing to expand. Therefore portions of the Jewish Cemetery were transfered to the Catholic Cemetery on the 25th July, 1879 ; the 6th December, 1896 ; the 1Oth January, 1897 (30 feet on the northern boundary); and the 1st May, 1898 (18 feet on the northern boundary). Additional ground was sold to the Hebrew Community by the Government on the 4th February, 1908 for 75 pounds making the Cemetery the dimensions it is today.

The Jewish Cemetery remained under the control of the Hebrew Community who maintained their own records until the passage of the West Terrace Cemetery Act in 1976. The Jewish Cemetery reverted to the State Government. However special provision was made in the Act:

Section 10. Nothing in this Act contained shall be construed as authorizing the Minister to disturb or otherwise interfere with any place of internment within the area delineated on the plan set out in the first schedule to this Act and marked "Jewish Granted MEM. No.443 Bk.42" without the written consent of the Board or Trustees or the Chief Minister of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation.

The Minute Book of the Hebrew Congregation records approval being given on the 25th May, 1868 , for the building of a "new" Matare House. This was erected later the same year at a cost of £I01-18-6. It was built of Glen Osmond stone and designed by David Garlick. This structure was demolished in the early 1970's. It was a plain rectangular building with a galvanised Iron roof. No photography of the building has been located.

The following list of burials with details of any monumental inscriptions vas compiled by the late Sadie Pritchard, Honorary Archivist of the Adelaide Hebrew Congregation. She compared inscription details (both those in English and Hebrew) with details contained in the burial registers held by the Congregation. Microfilm copies of these burial registers and lease books are held in the StateArchives (Reference SRG 162).

Sadie Pritchard Collection, South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society Library.
S.A.Archives, GRG 38/6, GRG 35/585/42
General Registry Office, Memorial 443/42
West Terrace Cemetery Act, No. 57 of 1976.
Extract from:
"Inscriptions from West Terrace Cemetery Vol. II"
© 1984 Andrew G Peake


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