Carrajung Cemetery


In June 1885 a request was made for a reservation of land to be used as a cemetery in the township of Carrajung in Gippsland within the 19 Section of land held by Mr H.G. Biggs. Mr Biggs had given his approval for this land to be used as a cemetery. The area for the cemetery was 12 acres, 1 rood, 35 perches and located in the Parish of Carrajung, County of Buln Buln. The initial request was in a letter to Mr T.A. Duncan, Land Officer, Sale and was signed by 10 selectors and residents; who included Henry Grainge Briggs, Emily G. Biggs, David Wight, James Ray, William D. Wight, James Matches, John Steele, William Doultree, Duncan Matches, and David Boye. The request forwarded to the government of the day, was approved and then submitted to the Governor in Council who approved on the 1 April, 1886.

There had already been at least one burial prior to 1886. This was the two year old daughter of Henry Grainge Biggs and his wife Sarah Rebecca (nee Shipper) who died on the 8 April, 1884 and was buried on the 10 April, 1884.

At a public meeting held at Carrajung on the 24 October, 1892 the Trustees of Carrajung Cemetery were appointed. These would appear to be the first Trustees appointed for the cemetery and they were:
Henry Bosuston
·        David Boye
·        Henry Grainge Biggs
·        Donald Dugall McAlpine
·        James Ray
·        Thomas O'Shea, and
·        David Wight.
It was noted that all were from Carrajung.

Further correspondence to the cemetery trust on the 21 June, 1913 by the Secretary of the Health Department of Victoria sought information pertaining to the trustees for the cemetery with the following information noted on the reply.
·        Henry Grainge Biggs, English, dead.
·        Donald Dougald Mc Alpine, Presbyterian, still acting.
·        Jas Ray, English, still acting.
·        David Wight, Presbyterian, still acting.
·        Oswald Grainge Biggs, English, left the district, not acting.
·        Geo Abe Doultree, English, left the district not active.

On the 13 October, 1919, David Wight, Secretary of the Trust wrote to the Secretary of the Public Health Department stating that he was resigning as secretary and there was now only one Trustee left, Mr Ray. He also could not get any other people to “take it on at the present time as it is only a harbour for Rabbits and it is one dense mass of scrub and there is never anybody uses it as when any body dies teyt are taken to Yarram or Gormandale.” He then went to request the name of the person who he should send the cemetery books to.  In 1956 a request was made to use the cemetery land for grazing cattle by a local farmer, but this request was rejected.

Detailed research has identified a large amount of information on the cemetery, but to date only a small number of burials have been identified. These include (and not the full list):
·        Allison Wight, 2 years, died 12 June, 1898, Buried: 14 June, 1898
·        George May, 7 ½ years, died: 30 January, 1900, Buried 2  February, 1900
·        Henry Benjamin Lucas, aged 29 years, died: 16 August, 1904; Buried:18 August, 1904.
·        Henry Grainge Biggs, aged 75 years,; died: 18 October, 1907, Buried: 20 October, 1907.
·        Nancy Elizabeth Willis, aged: 1 year; died: 10 March, 1928, Buried: 12 March, 1928.
So the last burial would appear to be in 1928. How many burials there were in the cemetery is not known.

Parts of the cemetery can still be seen but the bush is slowly taking over the old site. The grave, and parts of the headstone for the Biggs family was still there a short time ago. This cemetery is also part of the Lone Graves of Gippsland: Pilot Heritage Study that was undertaken a couple of years ago. Stage 1 of the study has been released; Stage 2 is supposed to be undertaken in the near future.

David Weatherill
Bundoora, Victoria, Australia


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