Jericho Cemetery (Gippsland)

C/O Mr F Lawless
Melbourne Water
68 Ricketts Road
Mount Waverley 3149
9565 1960

Jericho is located on an unmade side road off from the Woods Point to Matlock to Abelfeldy road, that keeps going through Walhalla to Moe. On this side road you have the old mining townships of Jericho and Red Jacket. The cemetery is found on a hillside about 400 metres from the picnic area at the Jordan River crossing. Amongst the undergrowth and bracken you can still locate a few pieces of evidence that this was once a cemetery. These include a headstone, pieces of a headstone, some fancy posts as well as some pieces of ornate wine fencing.

The area was originally the site of the Jericho-Jordan River alluvial mine workings. Of the township of Jericho, very little remains. Most of the area has been heavily sluiced by hydraulic water pressure which has changed the site greatly from its original outlook.

The Jericho Cemetery was gazetted in 1870 and officially closed in 1983. It is known that there were earlier burials before 1870. The burial records for the cemetery were believed to be destroyed in a 1939 bushfires in the Gippsland area.  In July, 1983 the Health Commission of Victoria was advised by the MMBW (Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works) that the entire Red Jacket and Jericho Cemeteries as well as a portion of the Aberfeldy Cemetery were located in the Board's Thomson River Dam Catchment Area and requested that these three cemeteries be closed in order to preserve and maintain the water quality of the streams in the Region. This request was refused and the status of these cemetery reserves were retained.

Following negotiations the MMBW accepted the trusteeship of the Red Jacket and Jericho Cemeteries for maintenance purposes and the Health Commission agreed to close these two cemeteries to all further burials and limit burials at the Aberfeldy Cemetery to that portion of the cemetery reserves that lies outside the Catchment area.

The one remaining headstone left intact in the Jericho Cemetery is that of Charles Ferguson. “In memory of Charles Ferguson died 24th Feb 1868 aged 42 years”.  Research into burials in the cemetery via death certificates and other records has identified the following, but these are only a small number of the total burials; the actual total number being unknown.

·       McBRIEN, Patrick: Miner  B.B. Creek, Jordan, aged 32 years. Died: 21st July, 1865, Buried: 23rd July, 1865.
·       BEIRNE, James: aged 22 days, son of Francis Beirne and Mary (Maloney). Died: 19th August, 1865 at Jericho, Buried: 19th August, 1865
·       RYAN, Patrick: Labourer, aged 25 years of Jericho,. Died: 29th August, 1865, Buried: 30th August, 1865.
·       McELLIGOTT, unnamed female, daughter of Johanna McElligott (servant). Died: 3rd Jan, 1868 at Jericho, Buried: 5th Jan, 1868.
·       FERGUSON, Charles: Labourer, aged 43 years of Jolly's Track between Black River and Aberfeldy. Died: 24th February, 1868, Buried: 26th February, 1868. He died after falling off his horse and being dragged along when his foot was caught in a pack strap or stirrup
·       McCULLA, Lawrence: aged 53 years, miner of Jericho. Died: 28th February, 1888, Buried: 29th February, 1888.
·       GAFFNEY, Thomas Terence: Hotelkeeper, aged 51 years of Jericho. Died: 2nd February, 1889, Buried: 4th February, 1889. There were fragments of his gravestone found, but a new memorial is now found at Gaffney's Creek.

Finally following diphtheria in the area in 1885, four children of the Dilworth family passed away at Jericho from the 4th of June to the 12th June, 1885. All were children of John Dilworth, Miner, and Johanna McElligott.
·       DILWORTH, Helena: aged 6 years, died of bronchitis on the 4th June, 1885, Buried: 6th June, 1885
·       DILWORTH, Johanna, aged 11 years, diphtheria, Died: 11th June, 1885, Buried: 13th June, 1885.
·       DILWORTH, Margaret, aged 14 years, diphtheria, Died: 13th June, 1885, Buried: 13th June, 1885.
·       DILWORTH, Theresa Catherine, aged 4 years, diphtheria, Died: 12th June, 1885, Buried: 13th June, 1885.
A sad ending for the family.

The research into Jericho Cemetery has really only scratched the surface of those buried in it. I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who might have further information on the cemetery and burials in it. There has been an excellent book published in the 1990s on the town.

David Weatherill
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia



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