Approximately 100 kilometres northwest of Orbost you will find the township of Bendoc . From the middle 1840s there were a number of pastoral leases in the area but in the 1850s alluvial gold was discovered in the Bendoc River . Once this gold ran out reef mining for gold came into operation. The township of Bendoc was surveyed in 1869 and the first hotel was built in 1870. State School 1166, Bendoc also known as Wagra Bendoc, came into operation on 11 July 1873 . The town was first known as Wagra/ Wagra Bendoc, an aboriginal word meaning plain of crows. Wagra was believed to be the aboroginal word for black-eyed crow. The 1911 Census for Bendoc identified 210 people living in the area and in the 1961 Census it identified 131 people.
Dairy farming was common in the early days of the area; wheat was grown and beef cattle were grazed. After 1945 saw milling became an important industry for the area.
In the late 1880s a request was made for a cemetery at Bendoc. The Department of Lands was written to in January 1890 noting that two allotments that made up one acre that had been requested for the cemetery site by the town would be too small for a cemetery. It would appear that this site was already in use as a burial ground and was located in the township of Bendoc . On 12 March 1890 the Shire of Tambo wrote to the Public Health Department noting that in the opinion of the Council another site should be set aside for Cemetery purposes.
Thomas H. Lewis, Honorary Secretary, The Bendoc Cemetery Trust wrote to the Secretary of the Public Health Department on 25 November 1890 noting that a number of residents of the area had formed themselves into a Committee of Trustees for the Bendoc Cemetery and as the old burial ground could not be recognised by the Department, a site about one mile and a quarter from Bendoc on the Eastern side of the Bendoc to Bonang Road has been chosen by the Trustees as being in their opinion as a body very suitable and convenient for the Bendoc Cemetery. They then asked what steps should be taken in having this site surveyed and approved.
Also on 25 November 1890 the Bendoc Progress Association wrote to the Public Health Department requesting that the following people be recognised as trustees of the Bendoc Cemetery : Norman Cameron, Hamilton Reed, Charles J. Dudley, Robert Gordon, Thomas H. Lewis, E. Cox and W. Stakers. On 13 June 1892 the Governor in Council approved a site of 3 acres, 2 roods, 21 perches to be temporarily reserved as a Cemetery in the parish of Bendoc. The site was gazetted on 17 June 1892 [VGG 1892/2651].
The following Trustees for the Bendoc Cemetery were gazetted on 7 October 1892 : Charles Dudley, Thomas H. Lewis, Norman Cameron, Hamilton reed, Robert Gordon and John Lock [VGG 1892/3839]. The last set of Trustees appointed for the cemetery was gazetted on 6 June 1923 : Henry E. Sellers, William H. Cameron, John Windle and Isaac Dent [VGG 1923/1486].
The Shire Secretary, Shire of Orbost, wrote to the Board of Public Health on June 8, 1897 noting that they had written to five residents in the area of Bendoc to be Trustees of the cemetery, but all had declined. The Shire Secretary also noted that as Bendoc was a great distance from Orbost, the Council could not accept the responsibility of acting as Trustee.
The Secretary of the Public Health Department wrote to the Chief Commissioner of Police on 14 May 1900 requesting for a report from the local police as to whether the old burial ground in the township of Bendoc or the site between Bendoc and Bonang that was reserved in 1892 are now being used for burials. On 28 May 1900 Constable J. Shannon on the Bendoc Police Station wrote to the Chief Commissioner stating: I have to report that there has not been any interment in the old burial grounds for years. There has been no interment in the site near the Bendoc Bonang Road . Both places are unfenced and in their natural bush state. There are no trustees. All bodies from here are buried in the Delegate, N.S.W. Cemetery .
The old Public Health File on the Bendoc Cemetery finished on January 1912 with a note from the Secretary, Public Health Department, stating that there are two burial sites at Bendoc in which burials have taken place.
Rogers and Helyar in their book on Lonely Graves In Gippsland, note seven burials at Bendoc and one at Bendoc Upper ( Henry Hickman 1868). The burials listed at Bendoc are: Lillias Clarke 1878; Phillip Farmer 1884, Ann Maria Higgs 1899, Henry Higgs 1898, Richardson 1890, Harriet Stanbridge 1899 and John Stockdale 1872.
Further research has identified the following buried at Bendoc:
* Unnamed Male Clark, son of Police Constable Alfred Clark of Bendoc Police Station and Kate (nee Wright). Buried Bendoc Cemetery : 3 June 1881 .
* Edmund Church , 51 years, Gold Miner, formerly Seaman, Buried Bendoc Cemetery 13 June 1881.
* John Collins, Bootmaker, aged 64 years. Buried Bendoc cemetery 14 July 1889 .
Further research is needed to ascertain just who else might have been buried at Bendoc. Judging by the dates of burials these three above were probably buried in the Old Burial Ground in the Bendoc Township .
If anyone has any further information on the two Bendoc cemeteries, I would appreciate hearing from them.
* Department of Human Services, Cemeteries and Crematorium Unit Archives Files:
H-CEM-44; Bendoc Public Cemetery .
* Department of Sustainability and Environment (Historical Places); Bendoc Cemetery Reserve.
* Rogers, J. G. and Nelly Helyar: Lonely Graves of the Gippsland Goldfields and Greater Gippsland , Moe, 1994.
* Education Department of Victoria : Vision and Realisation , Volume : 3, 1166 Bendoc; page 1077: 1973.
* Ministry of Planning, Victoria : Cemeteries of Victoria . A National Estate Study ; Report prepared by L.P. Planning, Parkville , Victoria . Circa 1982/1983
* Registry of Births, Deaths & Marriages; Victoria . Death Certificates.
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia