In the area near Wilsons Promontory you will find the small town of Tarwin Lower, which is located on the road from Inverloch to Walkerville about 19 kilometres south of Inverloch. Just outside of the township of Tarwin Lower from Inverlock is the Tarwin Lower Cemetery on the left hand side of the road.
In the late 1800s a number of cemeteries were established in the area. These included Waratah Bay/Walkerville, Yanakie/Wilsons Promontory Lighthouse and Boys/Fish Creek that had limited or minimal use, while others including Inverloch, Meeniyan Tarwin Lower and Foster are still in use today.
The cemetery at Tarwin Lower of ten acres was established in 1888 and was approved by the Governor In Council on 8 October, 1888 and gazetted on 12 October, 1888. The cemetery has served that area continuously and is still in operation today. Early records on the cemetery, especially its early burials are not available (lost over time) and research is being undertaken to identify these early cemetery burials.
The cemetery today is in a lightly wooded and cleared area being set out in a number of separate burial areas for the older area with the newer burial area being on the right hand side of the cemetery as you enter the cemetery grounds. There are also a number of family burial areas. There is no sign on the road to indicate where the cemetery is, just a dirt road running to the cemetery's front gate off the main road. The cemetery is well cared for by the current trustees but you need to move to each area to locate who is buried in each from those graves still containing headstones. The first set of Trustees identified so far were in the early 1900s and consisted of:
The second of the Catholic Trustees had left the area by 1913 and had not yet been replaced. William Cashin, noted above, was also the Deputy Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages for the Lower Tarwin District in the late 1890s to well into the 1900s.
The earliest burial identified to date in the cemetery was that of Richard Paterson, a carpenter, aged 60 who was buried on the 18 July, 1890. Two further burials in 1891 for Jessie Burgess and John Wydell have been identified. To date 21 burials from 1890 to 1906 have been located. One burial in the cemetery that is still remembered today is that of Frederick Ostermann, Master Mariner. His grave and headstone is still located in about the middle of the cemetery, protected by a stand of trees.
Frederick Ostermann, born in Lienen, Germany, was captain of the 1120 ton, 3 masted iron barque, Magnet, build in Sunderland, England in 1885. Ostermann was master and part owner of the barque. The Magnet was forty days out of Capetown when on 8 May, 1900 it encountered a storm as it entered Bass Strait at 4am. The barque set a new course after it passed King Island, but at 2am on 9 May the Magnet being thirty-two miles off course struck the beach at Tarwin Lower. The next morning the barque was located by some local stockmen and the local police notified. The Magnet was eventually towed off the beach but the tow lines snapped and the ship went ashore again and broke in the middle. The vessel was a total loss and the captain and crew stayed aboard and began to remove any valuables and personal belongings. Captain Ostermann became ill during this time and on 20 August, 1900 he died on board the ship. He was buried in the Tarwin Lower Cemetery on 23 August, 1900. There was a magisterial inquiry into his death held at Tarwin Lower on 23 August, 1900. Parts of the Magnet can still be seen every so often today on the beach as the sand moves. Frederick Ostermann was married in Germany to Catherine Hinrichs and had four daughters.
A number of other family members from the area – including Cashin, Crichton and Jordan were early burials at the cemetery. There was a note in the cemetery records that some earlier burials were supposed to have occurred well before 1880 but none of these have been identified to date. This would not be uncommon as many older “cemeteries” had burials in them before they were gazetted.
If anyone has any further information on this cemetery, I would appreciate hearing from them. This is one of the little known cemeteries in the Gippsland area and it would most valuable to have further information on its early history.David Weatherill Bundoora Vic. firstname.lastname@example.org
Garry Batt passed away Jan. 2012
He was a long term supporter and
contributor to this site and he will
be sorely missed by all who knew him.