If, Dear Reader, you have followed my reviews in the order recommended this will be your ‘final stop’ in Gundagai – though you should not take that term to literally as I do, of course, mean your final stop before moving on to your next earthly destination.
South Gundagai Cemetery came into use, prior to the devastating Great Flood of 1852, when the town was situated on the flats by the Murrumbidgee River. The earliest marked burial here is that of Edmund Crisp who died on 27th August, 1846 while attempting to save a person from drowning in the Murrumbidgee River. His grave is marked by the small obelisk in the centre of the cemetery (picture 2). Beside Crisp’s grave, and also captured in my second picture, is the grave of Peter Stuckey (d.1859), another early pioneer in the area.
Regrettably, detailed burial records of the Gundagai area have been lost, but it is thought that many of the 1852 flood victims were buried quickly in unmarked graves beside the river in Ferry Street, South Gundagai and not here in this cemetery nor in the North Gundagai Cemetery which appears, based on my inspection, to only contain post flood interments.
I found the graves in pictures 3 and 4 below of particular interest. That in picture 3 hosts an interesting collection of both Christian and Buddhist symbolism while those in picture 4 belong to Brooke Family members.
Brooke is the name of an important landed family in the history of Northern Ireland, where I was born. Many of that family were noted members of the British army and, following a very limited search of sketchy information on the net, I believe some members of the Brooke family interred here may have served in the forces here in Australia. I wonder if the two Brooke families are related and if they were then perhaps the Brookes made up, if you like, for the exploits of another less savoury, Northern Ireland immigrant to the area, bushranger Captain Moonlite, buried in North Gundagai Cemetery.
While some people may find it odd to visit old graveyards I find it exciting because of the sort of things, like this, a visit can throw up.
While I found the cemetery most interesting for its graves it is nowadays promoted more for its natural features and being host to a short self-guided walking track through nearly one hectare of Grassy White Box Woodland. Apparently, and I didn’t count them, this well cared for cemetery is home to 80 species of native shrubs and wildflowers which per the local council website “provide a spectacular floral display in spring and summer”. I visited in early spring and while very pleasant I would baulk at describing the display as spectacular. Certainly worth a look though.
Address: Gocup Road, South Gundagai
Directions: About 3-4 kms south of the town centre