And now, Dear Reader, I would like, if I may, to invite you to the final resting place of some of the ‘cast’ I have introduced you to in others of my Gundagai reviews. And, no Bullocky’s Dog (on the Tuckerbox) is not buried here!
Gundagai actually has a couple of cemeteries of interest to the visitor, one in North Gundagai and one in South Gundagai – conveniently and respectively named North Gundagai Cemetery and South Gundagai Cemetery.
North Gundagai Cemetery is a treasure trove when it comes to tracing the social history of the town. While some reports indicate that many of the towns 1852 flood victims are buried here I was unable to find firm evidence of this on my most recent visit to the cemetery at 6 am one Saturday morning. Yes, I did wonder if people (including my Reader) would think me weird if they saw me ‘loitering’ in the cemetery at such an hour but, Dear Reader, believe me, I was en-route between Canberra and Adelaide and this was the hour I was passing through.
The focus of this stop in my journey was to visit the final resting places of a number of well known locals and a man who never lived here, apart from spending a couple of nights in the local gaol. Well known, in terms of featuring in at least one of my reviews on this blog – though, to be fair, they did have significant renown before I brought them to my blog.
The pleasant cemetery, located on the outskirts of Gundagai, is divided into two parts, one for Catholics and one for Protestants and others.
In addition to having a general stroll around the cemetery, which I enjoyed – not because of a morbid fetish on my part, but rather because of what you can learn about a locality by just reading gravestones – I recommend you have a specific look at the following graves:
Within the Catholic area
Yarri – A local Aboriginal man who saved the lives of many during the great flood of 1852 – See my separate review – Yarri and the Great Flood of 1852. Interestingly the headstone does not record the date of Yarri’s death (1880) but rather 7 September 1990, the date the headstone, found just inside the gate on your right, was erected in his memory.
Frank Rouconi – I have referred to Rusconi, a local stonemason and sculptor in various of my reviews. While his most famous (though often not attributed piece of work) is the Dog on the Tucker Box sculpture, his finest work – located in the local visitors information centre – is his Marble Masterpiece. Given his artistic skill and the many ornate headstones he produced for others, it is rather ironic that his own grave (pictured below – centre) be covered with a simple marble slab – a common feature within this cemetery.
In the Protestant Area
Andrew George Scott (Captain Moonlite) – On entering this section of the cemetery, walk straight ahead to the trees (in picture 1 above). Having left the main area of graves behind, situated under one of these trees you will find the grave of Captain Moonlite.
Captain Moonlite is the non-resident who spent a few nights in the local goal I referred to earlier. He was a bushranger and all round criminal who was hanged and buried in Sydney in 1880. While a criminal, his story is colourful and fascinating and the subject of my next review, attached to which you will also find a close up shot of his ‘second grave’ here in Gundagai. Located in the vicinity of Moonlite’s grave are the unmarked graves of two of his bushranger gang members – Nesbit and Wreneckie. Nesbit was also Moonlite’s lover – more on that in my separate review. Typically criminals of the day were buried in unmarked graves in unconsecrated ground. Given the relative isolation of these graves from the main part of the cemetery I do wonder if this is, in fact, unconsecrated ground or not. I suspect not but at least these criminals are isolated from more law abiding citizens (including one of which they killed).
Senior Constable Webb-Bowen and Sargent Edmund Perry – retracing your steps towards the cemetery exit, on your left you will see the graves of Webb-Bowen (d.1879) and Perry (d.1864) both killed in the line of duty by bushrangers. Webb-Bowen was killed by Captain Moonlite and his gang. The obelisk shape of Webb-Bowen’s headstone makes these graves easy to locate.
A highly recommended stop on your visit to Gundagai.
Opening hours – 24/7 !
Address: William Street, North Gundagai