Spring Lead Cemetery


On the 13th October, 1868 a request was made to the Victorian Chief Secretary by Edward Clarke Webb of Ararat in regards to the burial ground at Spring Lead. E. C. Webb was listed as Secretary for the group making the following request:

“At a public meeting of the inhabitants of Opossum Gully and Spring Lead held on the 9th inst to consider the best means to protect the burial ground situated near the head of Spring Lead on the road leading to Opposum Gully, it was determined to apply to the Hon. The Chief Secretary, for a sum of money sufficient to securely fence it in.

At said meeting four Trustees were appointed for the approval of government, viz: Thomas Brady; Edward Marshall; Wm Johnson; John Grant.

A committee including myself was appointed to memoralize the government, setting forth the facts of the case. This piece of ground contains 3a,0,28p and has been used for burials from the first discovery of Ararat as a gold field, and contains many graves; it has never been enclosed, and consequently is over run by cattle, and graves mutilated by swine.”

Following numerous pieces of correspondence on the 9th November, 1868 the Victorian Board of Lands and Works temporarily reserved the land as a site for the Cemetery at Opossum Gully. The land then became listed as the Spring Lead Cemetery.

Full early burial records are not readily available but it is hoped that the Burial Index being produced by the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages will provide an answer to this issue. Currently the Memorial Inscriptions and Burial Records [1860-1992] are held by the Wimmera Association of Genealogy Inc, P.O. Box 880, Horsham Victoria 3402. The GSV does not hold any records for this cemetery.

Buried in the cemetery are the following:
· two family members of Edward Clarke Webb his wife and one daughter:
- Elizabeth Webb, aged 45 years, buried 15th February, 1879.
- Elizabeth Webb, aged 3 years, buried 20th January, 1867.
· a number of members of the Seadon family, including: Andrew Seadon, aged 5 months, buried, 1888; Jessie Seadon; Leslie Seadon; William Robert Seadon, buried 1930; Annie Seadon; Thomas Seadon, buried 1905.
· A number of members of the Osman family; including: Margaret Osman (1895); Miles Osman (1905).
· Members of the Farrell family including: Euphemia (1888); Isabel Maud (1911); Thomas (1898); Mathew (1901).
· Also buried are family members of the Scherger family; Hodges family; Paynter family; Smart family; to list a few.

Early burial charges at the cemetery in 1882 were listed as:
- single burial adult (10 shillings)
- land to fence off same 8ft x 4ft. (10 shillings)
- child under 12 years (5 shillings)
- land to fence off same 6ft x 3ft (5 shillings)
- For permission to place tablet/headstone (10 pounds).
In 1982 these charges were:
- Land 2.44m x 1.22m ($40.00)
- Internment Fee ($15.00)
- Marker Peg ($5.00)

I visited the cemetery in the 1990s to try to locate where the family members of my maternal side were buried, but could not locate them as there appeared to be no headstones for them. Edward Clarke Webb was an ancestor of mine. Of interest he died on the 27th July, 1898 at Mullock Bank, Ararat, but was buried at Ararat Cemetery on the 29th July, 1898, not at Spring Lead Cemetery with his wife, Elizabeth (nee Ferguson) and daughter.

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



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