St Jude’s Cemetery is located at the rear of St Jude’s Church.

Firstly, a little on the church first, if I may?

The church was significantly remodelled in 1954 after an earthquake caused major damage – such that it now doesn’t have a particularly interesting street appeal. It was also closed when I visited – hence the absence of a separate review. I will share one interesting titbit though.

While the original church was opened in 1855 it was not consecrated until 1977 because of a £100 debt owing to the builders. Church funds were clearly in short supply as it was not until 1909, when it could afford to pay the minimum stipend of £200 per annum, that the Revered Arthur Cunningham was appointed the first rector of St Jude’s. In the years immediately prior to this (1905 -1908) the Reverend Alexander Macully, a rather colourful gentleman about whom you can read more in my separate review – Dunluce ‘Castle’ and the Reverend Macully looked after the spiritual needs of St Jude’s flock. The Reverend Macully is buried in St Jude’s Cemetery though as I was unaware of his existence until I researched my review on Dunluce ‘Castle’, to which I have just referred, I did not locate his final resting place therein.

So, back to the cemetery.

While St Jude’s Cemetery was established and opened in 1854/5 it did not become church property until 1923. Perhaps due to the lack of funds I mentioned above, the cemetery was purchased and run by William Voules Brown who was also the curator and gravedigger.

Many early pioneering family members are interred here including some from the HMS Buffalo, which landed at Holdfast Bay (Glenelg) on 28 December 1836 bringing with it South Australia’s first Governor-elect, John Hindmarsh, who the same afternoon read, under the Old Gum Tree at Glenelg, a proclamation, on behalf of King William IV, announcing that the government and State of South Australia had been established, that the law would be enforced and that Aboriginal people would be protected.

92Settling aside the above, the reason most people come to St Jude’s Cemetery is to visit the grave of the famous Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, pictured alongside. The granite boulder pictured below, close by the grave and often mistaken for Mawson’s grave (Wikipedia!), is from the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the Northern Flinders Ranges and was gifted by geologist Dr Reg Sprigg who studied that area with Mawson in 1940.

Born in Shipley, Yorkshire, England in 1882 Mawson moved (or was rather brought by his family as I doubt if he had much say in the matter) to Australia in 1884.

In 1907, by which stage he was an accomplished geologist, scientist and academic at the University of Adelaide, he met with Sir Ernest Shackleton, leader of the British Antarctic Expedition and in so doing began his long association with the Antarctic.


In March 1908 Mawson was one of the first party to climb Mount Erebus and one of the first to reach the vicinity of the South Magnetic Pole the following summer.

In 1911 Robert Scott offered Mawson a coveted place on his Terra Nova expedition. Mawson turned this down and instead planned his own expedition to chart a 2,000 mile stretch of Antarctic coastline directly south of Australia. Unlike Scott, Amundsen and Shakelton, Mawson was not preoccupied in reaching the South Pole. In fact it wasn’t part of his plans at all and he was disappointed by those who sought the personal glory of being first to the Pole.

On 2 December 1911 Mawson and his party departed Hobart on the Aurora and headed south, not to arrive back to Australia until 26 February 1914. This, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition is regarded as one of the greatest polar scientific expeditions of all times. Mawson successfully charted the Antarctic coastline and studied the Southern Ocean as well as making detailed observations in magnetism, geology, biology and meteorology in Antarctica.

Post this expedition Mawson lead two more shorter expeditions to the Antarctic and continued his academic/ research career until his retirement in 1952. He died in 1958 and after a Commonwealth State Funeral service was buried here in St Jude’s Cemetery.

Address: Brighton Road, Brighton
Directions: At the intersection with Jetty Road

For my next Adelaide – ADELAIDE BY THE SEA review click HERE.
For other Adelaide reviews click HERE.


3 thoughts on “St Jude’s Cemetery – and Sir Douglas Mawson

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