Gelantipy Cemetery

Also Known as Butchers Ridge Cemetery


On the road north east from Bairnsdale via Bruthen onto Buchan you will find the town of Butchers Ridge. A short distance further north of Butchers Ridge you will come across the town of Gelantipy. In the area of Butchers Ridge, just off the Gelantipy Road you will find the old Gelantipy Cemetery. For many people in the area, the cemetery is also known as the Butchers Ridge Cemetery, but they are one and the same.

Very little is known about the cemetery. The cemetery is on public land but no headstones are to be found in it. The Gelantipy Historical Society is currently setting out to preserve the area and to fence the old burial ground. The cemetery is in Butchers Ridge. There is little physical evidence of the cemetery but the forest debris was recently burnt off and the area revealed some slight mounds that are thought to be graves.

Silver and gold had been found in the area of Butchers Ridge in 1892-3 by McRae and O'Rourke and the area worked for a small number of years. A school, State school No. 3239, Butcher's Ridge started in September 1895 with the school operating in a number of buildings when in 1953 a new school was provided.

There were three burials associated with people at Gelantipy Station that just note their burial at Gelantipy, not Gelantipy Station; but are believed to be at Gelantipy Station: Clark Statham (1878); Henry Unruh (1892) and Arthur Burnand (1880). The grave and headstone for Arthur Chapel Burnard is still found on the Station, surrounded by a wooden fence.

What is known about the early history of the cemetery has been obtained from the old cemetery file held by the Dept of Human Services Cemeteries Unit. The following is a brief précis of this information.

In December, 1907 a local resident of the area, Donald McRae, wrote to the Secretary of the then Shire of Tambo requesting that a cemetery be approved in the Gelantipy. Mr McRae provided details of the area of three acres that had been identified as a site for the cemetery. The Shire then passed on this request to the Public Health Department on 1 September, 1908. On 30 September, 1908 Donald McRae then wrote to the Secretary, Board of Health in Melbourne noting that the following people had indicated that they would be willing to act as Trustees for the new cemetery:

* James Duke Roman Catholic

* John MacDonnell Roman Catholic

* Henry George Frederick Westphal - Lutheran

* Frederick Albert Peck,- Lutheran, and

* Donald McRae, Secretary - Presbyterian

On 31 March, 1909 the site for the cemetery was approved by the Governor in Council and on 7 April, 1909 the cemetery was gazetted. The cemetery was to be two acres, three roods, 29 perches in the county of Tambo, parishes of Gelantipy East and Marroo.

Information in the cemetery file ceases in May 1922 with the short note from the Public Health Department advising that there now only four trustees for the cemetery Messrs W. Rogers, H.G.F. Westphal, F.G.A. Peck and P. McDonnell.

Research by the Gelantipy and Buchan Historical Societies has identified a small number of burials in the cemetery, but more research is required to gain a more detailed list of burials in the cemetery. To date the following burial at the Gelantipy Cemetery has been identified:

* ROGERS, Ellafenday, wife of Alfred Rogers. She was 80 years of age and died in September, 1916 and buried on 1 October, 1916 at Gelantipy Cemetery. There was an inquest into her death. She was born Ellafenday Williams in Durham, England and had 9 children She married Afred Rogers in Beaufort, Victoria Of interest is that her husband Alfred Rogers who died in March, 1904 was buried at Wulgulmerang Station, further north of Gelantipy.

* There is a belief that 2 very young children of Edward and Helen Hodge may be buried in the cemetery, but this has not yet been proven.

There is still a great deal of research required to be undertaken into this old cemetery. It would appear that burials probably ceased in the late 1920s.

David Weatherill
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia



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