Pass Notes - Burkes Pass Cemetery, Mackenzie County, N.Z.

On the left a little way from the Burkes Pass village is the cemetery, nestled among the pine trees just a quarter mile past the St. Patrick's Church. It was the first cemetery in the Mackenzie District and was surveyed in 1881. The land was donated by Mr A.B. Smith of Rollesby and A.B. was buried there in 1893. Francis (Frank) James Cowan, born Nov. 11th 1873, died 19 November 1873, aged 8 days, son of Andrew Cowan, Ferry Keeper of Tekapo, is the first recorded burial but others names unknown were buried earlier before the survey. Buried at Burkes Pass in the heart of the land they loved so much are families and people who lived in the Mackenzie. There is Sir Charles Hamilton, of jet boat fame and his nephew "Dick" an internationally renowned glider pilot, the Burnett's of Sawdon Station, WW1 and WW2 returned servicemen, mountaineers, many Mackenzie country pioneers and their children, our local policeman and old neighbours and friends. Buried here is the artist Edmund Norman who was for some time employed as a boundary keeper. He died 3rd June in the winter of 1875 by the roadside "at the foot of the long cutting" after leaving the Burkes Pass Hotel for Sawdon.

 Dr. Charles Dick loved the area and wanted to stay. He played rugby for Scotland between 1935 and 1938, capped 13x including a game against the All Blacks in 1936, scoring a try. Emigrated to New Zealand after the Second World War and took over a medical practice in Christchurch. In 1959 he moved to The Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch as its first Medical Superintendent - a post he held until his retirement in 1978.

The main entrance to this well maintained cemetery is two wooden gates flanked by stone pillars. I have never seen a cemetery with so many rocks used as the base and adorned with tussock. During a visit on Easter Sunday 27th March 2016 I took only 44 images as there is already a photo study offsite at Billion Graves website with 234 images & 313 records the work of Steve Fraser from March 2014, the list. The Mackenzie District Council cemeteries database is online with photographs of the headstones and includes Burkes Pass. This active cemetery occupies less than 50% of the two hectares available and contains 760 plots of which 335 are in use or have been pre-sold as of 2014. Another website & facebook, map.


Look how blue the sky is. On a clear day the Mackenzie Country is a magnificent spectacle.

The Pass is named after Michael John Burke so the correct spelling should be Burke's Pass, however as is not unusual, usage has dropped the apostrophe all but one instance I have just looked at use BURKES Pass on signs and article headings.

Timaru Herald, 7 October 1885, Page 8 A TRIP TO BURKES PASS.

By the Pass we mean that part of it which extends to the saddle or watershed a mile or two beyond the rising little township. After leaving Fairlie Creek there is a first-class macadamised road along the plain. The little scattered township of Silverstream [Kimbell] is soon reached. The level country and the downs are looking very well, and in one very small green paddock several thousands of sheep were observable. To the right, over the Opihi River, Messrs Wilson and others have a good deal of land under crop. Two or three miles further on the Pass is entered. To the left is the Three Springs Station, and to the right the Ashwick. There is very little snow on the former, and that only on the tops of the higher peaks, but on the latter which faces the south there is a good deal, as there is also on Sawdon immediately behind. The road after entering the Pass, down which the Opihi River flows, winds between rugged mountains, which tower up close on either hand. The view though somewhat confined, is very grand, especially in winter when the snow is generally low down. The Opihi just now has but little water in it, but at times it is very difficult to cross. Very little snow has fallen in the Pass this year, and indeed the weather all over the Mackenzie Country has been one of the finest on record. Burkes Pass township is the half-way from Fairlie Creek to the Tekapo, and is comfortably situated at the foot of the Rollesby range. It comprises about a dozen houses, including the Mackenzie County Council offices. A considerable amount of planting has been done in and near the Pass by the Council. The greater part of the trees were put down by Mr M. Fitzgerald, of Timaru, under the direction of Mr F. W. Marchant, formerly Overseer to the Road Board and afterwards to the County. They are principally Pinus Austriaca, Pinus Insignis, Abeis Douglosii, birch, Cupressus Lawsoniana, elm and Wellingtonia gigantea, and have thriven very well indeed, and already tend not a little to relieve the rugged aspect of the Pass. When first put down considerable doubt was expressed as to whether they would thrive or not, but the experiment has proved a successful one, and the experience gained should induce the Council and others to persevere in the work of forming plantations where nature has provided little timber growth of any description. The Ashwick Flat plantation is 88 acres in extent, to which an addition of 10 acres is being made this year. The reserve on the flat is altogether about 125 acres. It is the intention of the Mackenzie County Council to plant a few acres every year, as their means will permit. There are two plantations, about two miles apart, on the road between Silverstream and Burkes Pass, at the Horseshoe Bend of the River Opihi. Another, the oldest and most conspicuous one, is round the Burkes Pass cemetery, some of the trees having been planted twelve years. There is yet another small one at Fairlie Creek cemetery, which is in a highly flourishing state. Within the past week a plantation has been commenced in connection with the church grounds at Burkes Pass, the church being jointly the property of the Presbyterians and the Church, of England. The Burkes Pass cemetery, which is very prettily situated, contains proportionately, perhaps, more than any other in New Zealand, the largest number of graves' recording violent deaths.

Timaru Herald  Tuesday 26 July 1887 Notes from the Mackenzie Country
Though we live in this outlandish spot we cannot escape the extinction of life when our turn comes. Mrs George Foster departed this life last Friday, after a lingering illness. It is an exception to the general rule in this part of the country - death from natural causes - for ninety per cent of the tombstones in our cemetery indicate accidental death, such as lost in the snow, drowned, or killed by a fall from a horse.  Correspondent, J. Cochran, Burke's Pass.

New Zealand Herald, 9 October 1891, Page 2  [Don't know where he is buried]
A report has reached the Timaru police that some human remains have been found on a range in McKenzie Country. They are believed to be those of Andrew Thomson, chemist, who was missed from Burke's Pass as long ago as January, 1882.

Timaru Herald, 4 May 1896, Page 1
The Friends of the late Philip H. Stock are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral, which will leave his late residence, Silverstream, for the Burkes Pass Cemetery, at 12 Noon, on Wednesday, May 6th, 1896. HUGH FRASER, Undertaker, Fairlie.

Timaru Herald Tuesday 4 July 1899
Mackenzie County Council Monthly meeting. From the Department of Lands and Survey, notifying the appointment of the Council to be trustees for the Burke's Pass Cemetery. Mr McLeod drew attention to the overgrown state of the Burke's Pass Cemetery - The engineer and riding members to get the gorse cleared. Notice to clear the road next the cemetery to be given to the adjoining owner.
  

South Canterbury Times 3 September 1901 Page 4
The monthly meeting of the Mackenzie County Council was held yesterday. Present; Messrs F. R. Gillingham (chairman), Rutherford, Hamilton, McLean and Burnett. Mr Wreford sent an apology. Mr McGregor wrote that the petitioners could not take the responsibility of carrying on the Burke’s Pass cemetery with the small sum mentioned by the Council. Had the original Burke’s Pass Cemetery Board not transferred their powers and purse to the Mount Cook Road Board they would still have been in possession of a considerable credit balance, from a grant (£150) made by the Timaru and Gladstone Board of Works.

New Zealand Herald, 14 October 1902, Page 5 FATAL TRAP ACCIDENT.
Timaru, Monday. THOMAS DENNISON, an old age pensioner, living at Burke's Pass, was accidentally thrown from a trap on Saturday and killed. [Don't know where he is buried]

Otago Daily Times 8 May 1903, Page 4
DEEWE. On 18th April, at Burke's Pass, Canterbury, New Zealand, Arthur (late of Ivanhoe Station, Cunnnmulla, Australia), second son of the late Clifford John Drewe, solicitor, Liverpool, England; aged 39. [Don't know where he is buried]

The Mackenzie County Council in January 1904 had an offer from Mr Keeffe was the sexton of the Burkes Pass Cemetery to trim fences and grub out gorse and briar for £5 a year for four years.

Timaru Herald, 13 July 1893, Page 3
The ordinary monthly meeting of the Mackenzie County Council was held at the County Council office, Fairlie, on Monday, 10th July. The following members were present :— Messrs James I. Milne (chairman), John McGregor, George Alves, Arthur Hope, R. Rutherford, and F. B. Gillingham. A letter was received from Mr A. S. Smith, Monavale, asking for permission to cut down three or four large insignia pines, growing near the graves of members of the family in the Burkes Pass cemetery. It was agreed to have the trees cut down as requested.

Timaru Herald, 9 September 1907, Page 2 NEGLECTED CEMETERY
During the past few weeks, some correspondence has appeared in the column of the "Herald" exposing surprise and indignation at the neglected condition of the Burke's Pass Cemetery. The subject was brought up at the meeting of the Mackenzie County Council on Friday, and the vigour of the condemnation of the cemetery management in the correspondence was equalled or surpassed by that of discussion that took place.
    A letter was, read from Mr J. McGregor, contradicting some statements attributed to Mr Guthrie at a previous meeting of the Council. Mr Guthrie said that Mr McGregor "did not do a hands turn" in the working bee. It did not suit Mr Guthrie to say that he sent his son in his stead. He complained that Mr Guthrie, as chairman, had called a meeting of the committee at two days' notice and when he should have known that two of the members were absent from home. Mr McGregor recommended the Council to take charge of the Cemetery, and the engineer would look after it in an unprejudiced manner.
    Mr Scott said the Cemetery Committee had been a failure. Of eight members only three were present at the last meeting and he suggested that the Council should take charge and appoint three residents of the township to look after the cemetery. He was in the cemetery the day before, and saw a man at work there, grubbing gorse, etc., but while he was grubbing round the plots on three sides, he was not doing anything on the fourth side, where a number of graves were smothered by gorse and birch seedlings. He could only suppose that there was some petty spite at the bottom of the arrangement.
    Mr Guthrie said he had been anxious all along to see the cemetery well kept, and seeing the letters in the papers made him more so. But the complaints had reference to a part of the cemetery which was within the cemetery reserve, but not within the cemetery proper. The trouble arose many years ago through the management of the cemetery being of a very slipshod nature. Mr Guthrie, by way of explanation, gave a sketch of the history of the cemetery.
    Over 30 years ago, there being no cemetery nearer than Pleasant Point, the Provincial Government made a reserve of 10 acres and granted the Mount Cook Road Board £100 for laying out the cemetery. The Road Board caused Mr Marchant to survey a part of the reserve and mark out four sections - of plots, with roads and paths, and the remainder of the reserve was planted with trees, with the object of providing an asset for future years. (Mr Rutherford said that was correct.) In 1879 a person who was then or who had been a member of the Board, and must have known the whole of the facts, lost a son, and instead of having him buried within the plotted area, he took it upon himself to go out side, and buried his son among the trees. The Board should not have allowed it, but it was done. That example had been followed by others, and there were fifteen or sixteen graves among the trees. In consequence of this, some years ago three or four rows of trees were cut down. Gorse, broom and birch seedlings were now grown illicit, among the tree stumps, and that was about the worst part of the cemetery reserve. This was the part that Mr Harvey's letter referred to. The surveyed portion was divided into four sections, and these were allotted to the Church of England, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and strangers, while those buried outside were of mixed denominations, he did not think that people who had taken upon themselves to go outside the cemetery proper had any right to complain. The committee, had made arrangements with Mr Banks to make a re-survey of the plotted area, and numbered iron pegs had been procured to mark the plot:. The whole trouble had been due to the want of a caretaker, and the committee had arranged with the undertaker at Fairlie to act as sexton and he would keep the burials within the proper boundaries. The committee had also put on a man to clean and grub the cemetery, the plotted part, and the paths and fences around it, and they proposed to ask the Council as the Cemetery Board to pass a resolution asking the relatives of those buried outside that area to contribute 5s per grave, and then that area could be cleaned up too. Mr Smith said he had gone up purposely to see the cemetery, and he thought it was in a disgraceful condition. The committee had failed to keep it in order, and could not pull together. He therefore, thought the committee should be disbanded. He did not approve of the distinction between the two parts made by Mr Guthrie. Mr Rutherford agreed that the cemetery was a disgrace to the County. The Council could not look after it, so they appointed a committee, and they had not done much better. Mr Schlaepfer thought there had been too much friction among the committee, and it would be well to have a change of blood. Mr Smith proposed that the Council take over the Cemetery, and the Chairman said "make it apply to all three." Mr Smith altered his motion that the Council take charge of all three cemeteries. Mr Guthrie objected to this being done in a hurry and suggested that notice should be given of the motion, and Mr Smith agreed to this. It was moved by Messrs Schlapfer and Black, and carried —''That in future no plots be sold nor any bodies be buried outside the consecrated ground of Burke's Pass Cemetery, also that the graves which are at present outside the cemetery proper be included in the cemetery." The Council approved of the arrangements made by the Burke's Pass Committee, in regard to the sexton and the clearing of the ground.

Oamaru Mail, 21 April 1913, Page 4 Drowned
FERENS.— On April 16th, at Burke's Pass, Charles J.R. Ferens, youngest son of the late Thomas Ferens, of Oamaru; accidentally drowned. [Don't know where he is buried]

Timaru Herald, 16 November 1918, Page 6
The friends of the late HARRY ANDREWS, late of Mackenzie Country, are requested to attend his Funeral which will leave the Church of England, Fairlie, at 1 p.m., TO-Morrow (Sunday) November 17, for the Burkes Pass Cemetery. J. E. MILES, Undertaker.

Press, 14 August 1931, Page 16
    MR JOHN CROSBIE. The death on Saturday at Timaru of Mr John Crosbie, at the age of 90 years, removes one of the oldest residents from the Mackenzie Country, he had been a resident in the Mackenzie for close on 70 years. In the very early days he worked for Mr Cox at Tekapo Station, and he was the first shepherd to look after sheep on the Jollie Run. Mr Crosbie was a broad-minded man of considerate disposition. In his prime he was man of great strength and endurance, and ever ready to take the main burden of any task to relieve his mates. He was recognised as a good sheepman and followed up the occupation in New Zealand after coming from his native land, Scotland. The last 17 years of his life had been spent .in retirement at Mr Geo. Murray's "Braemar." The funeral took place on Monday at the Burke's Pass Cemetery, and was largely attended
    MR S. BRYANT. The death of Mr Sidney Bryant removed one who had been for a considerable number of years associated with the Mackenzie Country, having come into the locality as a mere lad nearly years ago. His work, particularly among sheep, kept him chiefly at Burke's Pass and Fairlie. During later years for health reasons he was compelled to go further back, and for a number of years had been employed by Mr .W. Preston at Rhoborough Downs Station, Lake Pukaki. His widow, son, and daughter reside at Hazelburn and have the sympathy of a very wide circle of friends. Mr Bryant was a member and successful competitor of Burke's Pass Collie Club for a great number of years. [Don't know where he is buried]
    MR GEORGE FOSTER. Mr George Foster, of Arundel, who died recently, was actively engaged among stock in the Mackenzie District well back into the last century, among his various important engagements being that of manager of Rollesby Station, Burke's Pass, for Captain Hayter. As a sportsman he was best known for his early association with the Fairlie dog trials, being president the second year of its club's existence.  [buried Geraldine]

In loving memory of James ALEXANDER
beloved husband of Doris Ballantyne
Died July 1st 1944
aged 51 years.
Also his beloved wife Doris
Died Oct. 22nd 1978
Aged 81. years
S. McBride

ANNISS
in loving memory of Frederick John
born Burkes Pass 1887
Died 12-4-1972 aged 84.
Dearly loved husband of Agnes Rutherford
born Uddingston, Scotland 1889
died 12-3-1990 aged 100. Late of Curraghmore Station.
We remember with love
William Alan Apes [Bill] Q.S.M. Q.F.S.M.
27-10-1941 - 9-2-1999
NZ Police Silver & Gold Merit Award
Dearly loved and treasured husband of Kathleen Mary [Kath]
loved father and mother of Margaret and Vanessa.

In memory of John Bain
died March 19th 1916
aged 52 years
also his wife Ellen Isobel.
Died April 6th 1926
aged 53 years.
and their son
John Greig Bain
aged 11 weeks
At rest in the Lord.

In remembrance of Mary Ann beloved daughter of
Helen & Donald BAIN
died at Burkes Pass
April 10th 1893 aged 26 years.

also Donald Bain
Died April 6th 1904
died aged 81 years

also his son Thomas
died Aug 9th 1907
aged 5 years

In loving memory of our dear mother
Helen BAIN
Died Dec. 2nd 1916
aged 80 years.

In sacred memory of Donald, beloved husband of Barbara Ann BURNETT. Born at Burkes Pass August 22nd 1863. Died Jan. 29th 1953. A devoted husband and honoured father. At rest.

Sacred to the memory of Barbara Ann, beloved wife of Donald Burnett. Born Bettyhill, Sutherlandshite. Sept. 29th 1876.
Died Oamaru Nov. 24th. 1939. A loving wife and devoted mother at rest.

In loving memory of Thomas George MacDonald (Mac) Burnett M.B. CH.B. born 12-9-18. Died London 7-5-51.
[Buried at the Saint Columba Church, Bettyhill, Highland, Scotland]

In memoriam Donald William MacLeod BURNETT eldest son of Donald and Barbara
Born 2-11-1910 - Died 31.7.1986
Buried at Nerang Queensland.

In memoriam
Roy Seaforth Macaulay (Sandy) BURNETT
fourth son of Donald and Barbara
Born 20-11-1916 - Died 10-7-2000.
In loving memory of 11589 Pvt. Andrew Mackay Sawdon BURNETT
Born 17-6-1913.
Killed in action on Crete 21-5-41.
"Greater love hath no man."
In loving memory of Willie, third & dearly beloved son of William & Wilhelmina J. Macleod, Achina Farr, Sutherlandshire, Scotland, who died suddenly at Sawdon Station, Burke's Pass, Sept. 11th 1908, aged 26 years. So loved, so mourned.
In memoriam Mary Margaret Wilhelmina (Marawill) loved wife of R.H. ENGLAND and only daughter of Donald and Barbara Ann BURNETT. Born Nov. 29th 1911. Died May 26th 1939. At rest.
In loving memory of Annie Eliza Carter of Shelford Guildford England and Irishman Creek Station
Born 5-2-1879
Died 7-2-1958.
Leila Georgeson nee Hamilton
died 17 May 1922
Dearly loved wife of Bob
Moved here from Ashwick Station by their loving son Dick (Sholto) to be near her family.
17 September 2001.
Also in memory of his beloved father
Robert Marrington (Gray) GEORGESON
Died Brisbane 14 November 1969
Sholto Hamilton "Dick" Georgeson, M.B.E.
of Ashwick, Irishman Creek, and Christchurch
Glider Pilot
1922 - 2014
In loving memory of
Charles William Feilden HAMILTON Kt. O.B.E.
of Irishman Creek Station.
Born Ashwick Station July 1890
Died 30th March 1978

In loving memory of
Margery Lampkin Hamilton nee Wills
of Irishman Creek Station.
Born St. Albans England August 1895
Died 1st March 1982

In loving memory of John Smith Innes of "Haldon,"
died 12th Oct. 1936. Aged 54 years.
13/2206 Sgt. AUCK.
M.T.R.F. 1st NZEF WW1.
29580 Pte
D. M. McC. Leishman
1st reinforcements Died 1-2-1932
Aged 41
MARRIOT
Raymond Eric
Born Sheffield U.K. 17-8-1917
Died Levin, N.Z. 18-3-1993
Esther Mary (nee HOWES)
loved wife of Raymond
Born Fairlie N.Z. 13-4-1914
Died Levin N.Z. 29-10-2008


Sacred to the memory of
Frances McDowell
born Molyuch, Ireland
4th March 1831
Died at Burke's Pass
23rd July 1888
also
Mary McDowell
who died at Albury
21st July 1904
aged 77 years.

In memory of Malcolm Alexander McLeod
Born August 24th 1890
Died January 6th 1891
Suffer little children come unto me.

In memory of William McLeod aged 40 years
Died Octer. 23rd 1879 from injuries received by a fall from a horse. Native of Assynt, Sutherlandshire, Scotland.
Erected by his relations Donald & James McLeod.
James & Peter, Timaru.

In memory of John Mackenzie accidently killed Aug. 12th 1876 aged 39 years.
Ida Annie Mackenzie March 24th 1876 - April 1876.
In loving remembrance of Donald McMillan
Burke's Pass, N.Z.
who died on March 22nd, 1905
Aged 61 years.
Also
Margaret Jane
wife of the above
Died Aug. 31st 1930
Aged 72 years.
My times are in thy hands.
Erected in memory of
Christina McMillan
infant daughter of Donald and Margaret Jane McMillan
Born 23rd July. Died 27th July 1882
see next image below
Also William M McMillan
who died March 21 1887
Aged two weeks
Suffer not little children thy came unto me.

Nira Mildred McMillan

Treasured memories of Matthew William Muldrew 20 Dec. 1949 -26 Dec. 1992.
Margaret Lelia Muldrew (Peggie)
17 June 1921 -16 Dec. 1996
John Kitchener Muldrew (Jack)
30 May 1916 -24 Sept. 1997
R.N.Z.A,F. 422086
Fly. Off. 488 Squadron
The lives of ones we love are never lost
their influence goes on through all
The lives they ever touched.
Kenneth Arthur PAYNE
Born 12th Nov. 1956 in Melbourne, Australia.
A geologist who loved new Zealand especially the mountains where he tragically died on 5th Jan. 1986 trying to arrest his companions fall on Mt Cook.
Loved son of Ces & Marge Payne. Brother of Rosemary & Janine. Wanted to get to the top, but how do you reconcile the risk
In memory of
Annie Maria,
daughter of
Nicolo & Ellen RADOVE
Born Octer 27,
Died Dec. 10th 1880.
May her soul rest in Peace in Heaven.
Jones & Peters, Timaru

Erected by Nicholo & Ellen RADOVE
In memory of their beloved daughter,
Catherine
who died Dec. 1st 1881.
Aged 4 months.
May she rest in peace.

In memory of Donald beloved husband of Helen Ross.
died May 27th 1926 also his beloved wife Helen
died June 7th 1965, aged 92. At rest.

In loving memory of George Bowie Ross died 5th Jan 1972 aged 76 and his beloved wife Leila Georgina died 16th June 1994. Aged 81. At rest. 7/2139 DVR Field Artillery

Ross.
In loving memory of David George
Single Hill Station 5th August 18986 aged 45.
Dearly loved husband of Diane.
God has you in his hands
We have you in our hearts.

15503 Pte.
J.W. Scott
N.Z. Infantry
Died 22.11.1982 Aged 72yrs.
2nd N.Z.E.F.

In memory of Walter Scott 1874 - 1944
SISSON
Rodney Haslett (Rod)
of Kimbell & Papanui
dearly loved husband of Ngaire
Died 19-1-1985 aged 65.
Among the mountains he loved.
In loving memory of Elijah,
beloved husband of Mary Smart,
died Dec. 5th 1930.
Aged 84 years.
Arrived in N.Z. in ship Randolph 1850.
Also of his wife Mary
died Feb. 3rd 1940
Aged 86 years
Arrived in N.Z. in ship Pleiades 1874
Abide with me.
see next above
In loving memory Georgie Smart
who died at the Timaru hospital
September 4th 1903
aged 3 years & 3 months
In loving memory of A.B. Smith, Mona Vale. Died Feby 6th 1893. Aged 63 years. Also his beloved wife S.L. Smith Died Sept. 20th 1915, aged 75 years.
Cecil Edmond Smith buried 19 April 1925 aged 55
In Memory of John W. Smith who was lost with D. Morrison in an avalanche of snow on the Rollesby Range, 24 July 1879 aged 19 years. Also his brother Al. S. Smith 1863 - 1948. R.B. Sibly, Timaru.
In memory of Louisa SMITH (nee Ferns)
beloved wife of AL. S. Smith
died Feb. 11th 1939. Aged 81.

In loving memory of Louisa Evelyn Collinson nee Smith
born 26th July 1898
Died 18th July 1990
 

see next above

Oamaru Mail, 21 April 1913, Page 4
FERENS. On April 16th, at Burke's Pass, Charles J.R. Ferens, youngest son of the late Thomas Ferens, of Oamaru accidentally drowned.

Burkes Cemetery, taken February 2006 by Garry Tommey.
Burkes Pass Cemetery, summer 2006.  pdf

Photo taken in March 2012 by Vicki Slow.
Burkes Pass Cemetery. a pioneer cemetery, March 2012. The large grey plinth inside the fence is the headstone of William Sibbald.
The flat marble headstone third from the left is for George Smart aged 3 years and 3 months.


March 2016. The William Sibbald headstone now has the fallen column back on the plinth.


Photo taken 27 March 2016. The Hamilton headstones are the rocks.

The cemetery site was selected by pioneers as over the Pass the shallow soil and rock-strewn ground made burial nearly impossible.

In February 2001 the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust purchased the church and land to enable it to be retained in the community and become a focal point in turning Burkes Pass into a heritage village. 

John Keast  4 January 2007 The Press (Christchurch) (as of 2016 the booklet has not been published)

This is a place of stories -- many sad, some tragic. It is true of all cemeteries, but more so at Burkes Pass. Elizabeth Angelo- Roxborough knows some of the stories and their poignancy and is putting them together in a small book for the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust. It will be available through the trust and the South Canterbury Museum in Timaru. It will form the basis for cemetery tours planned for the historic village. Similar tours have proved popular in Timaru.  Joining a cemetery tour was one occasion when a journey to a cemetery was both enjoyable and interesting. The tours covered a small number yet extensive range of interests of people who made a substantial contribution to the district, particularly to the social and commercial life. There were "lots of nice stories" which pointed to the generosity and goodness of many men and women. One of the problems facing cemeteries in towns such as Burkes Pass was where there were no family members left to care for plots. Maintenance then became a widespread problem. Money raised from the tours might be instrumental in starting a fund that might assist in maintaining such plots. Angelo-Roxborough lives at Burkes Pass and has absorbed its history. She and artist husband Maurie live in the stately Stone House that was once home to the Mackenzie District Council and the Mount Cook Road Board. She has always loved the bleak and beautiful cemetery but has not always known the history of those buried there. "There are climbers, musterers, too many children, the old and the unlucky," she said. Angelo-Roxborough has called on the knowledge of locals and the families of those buried at Burkes Pass to help compile her book. In all, brief histories of the lives of about a dozen people will feature, and Angelo- Roxborough says they were a cross-section of society. There are many stories from which to choose. She has found out a lot about Bridget and James Keeffe, who came to the Rollesby Valley adjoining Burkes Pass from Fulham in England in 1876. They were childhood sweethearts, he living at No. 9, she at No. 12. James worked at Rollesby and, in his spare time, built Alma Cottage. The cottage is still there. Together, the Keeffes had 10 children. Bridget died of dropsy at 51; James of asthma at 57.

Then there is the story of Nicolo "Big Mick" Radove, born in Sicily and one of the first to farm Birch Hill, near Mount Cook. He is buried in Timaru but two infant children are buried in ornate graves at Burkes Pass. Radove bought Birch Hill in 1868. His friend, John Lloyd, helped with mustering. But Lloyd contracted an incurable disease and spent his last days at the station. Each night Radove would carry his friend up to a hilltop behind the homestead so he could watch the sunset. When Lloyd died, Radove buried him on that spot. The grave is marked by a headstone and wooden fence. There is also the story of climber-adventurer Ken Payne, who died descending Mount Cook in 1986. Angelo-Roxborough contacted his family and they sent photographs and his last diary notes, in which Payne described spindrift around his hut and his feelings of disquiet about the risks of the climb. A final selection of characters for the book will be made over the next few weeks as Angelo- Roxborough works on the manuscript. One of the hardest jobs, she said, would be to pare back the information. A fuller history of some of the people mentioned in the book may be added to the Burkes Pass Heritage Trust website. The Mackenzie District Council has made a small grant to the trust to help with the cost of publishing.

Timaru Herald, 31 July 1888, Page 3
FAIRLIE CREEK, July 30. Last Thursday it left off snowing and a downpour of rain commenced, without a break until Saturday morning, when it gradually began to clear up. The snow having considerably wasted away, the creeks and the river Opihi were in high flood and dangerous to cross. A little incident occurred which luckily passed off without a fatality. Last Wednesday evening Mr Close, undertaker, left here with a coffin for the burial of the late John McDowell. Owing to the great depth of snow he was travelling all night, and only reached Burkes Pass at 10 the following morning. It actually took him 13 hours to travel 13 miles. Only for his great presence of mind the result would have been serious. The Mackenzie Country road from Silverstream up is completely blocked, and the mails from here can only be despatched on horse-back. From the above notes it would appear that the storm was from the east of south, and that the eastern ranges precipitated the bulk of the snow as the clouds were carried over them. The foot hills on this side appear to be whitened to their bases, and the whole mountain region made a fine picture under yesterday's sun, and a perfectly clear sky. Settlers among the snow will scarcely be inclined, however, to dwell upon the pictorial effects of the storm. "'Tis distance lends enchantment to the view."

Timaru Herald, 11 February 1893, Page 4 FUNERAL OF MR A.B. SMITH
The funeral of Alexander Bruce Smith, of whose death notice was given on Wednesday last, took place at Burke's Pass on Thursday. The coffin was conveyed by rail to Fairlie, and thence the funeral procession proceeded to the cemetery at the Pass, where there lay already a son and a daughter, the former the victim of an avalanche disaster many years ago. A large number of people attended from all parts of the district, and on all sides were heard sincere expressions of sorrow for Mr Smith's painful and untimely end. The coffin was borne from the gate to the grave upon the shoulders of six stalwart sons of the deceased, and the Rev. James Clarke conducted the impressive funeral service. Numerous floral offerings were placed upon the grave by friends and relations. Mr Smith was a colonist of thirty-five years' standing having landed in Otago m 1858. For some years he held the Merino Downs Station m Otago. He then removed to South Canterbury, and for over twenty years has been known as the owner of the Rollesby, Waratah, and Mona Vale estates. At Mona Vale he in a few years effected great improvements in planting and building, and may truly be said to have died m harness as a colonist, as he was contemplating further improvements when he unfortunately met with the accident which caused his death. Wherever he settled Mr Smith indulged his love for forestry, taking great pleasure in planting and tending trees of all kinds. He also took an interest in local affairs, and was one of the first members of the Mount Cook Road Board, and subsequently of the Mackenzie County Council. A man of sterling worth and genial kindly nature, Mr Smith was loved and respected by all who knew him. He leaves a widow, seven sons and four daughters to mourn the loss of a beloved husband and father.

Timaru Herald, 30 April 1901, Page 2
The funeral of the late Mrs Wm. Anniss, took place at Burke's Pass on Thursday last and was attended by sympathisers from the surrounding country. Mrs Anniss was brought from the Timaru Hospital on Saturday the 20th and died the following Monday. About 18 months ago she underwent an apparently successful operation for cancer at Timaru but soon after the old symptoms appeared and she .returned to the Hospital, but did not regain strength enough to submit to a second operation. Mrs Anniss had lived at Burkes' Pass 23 years and was highly respected. She leaves a husband and large family to mourn her loss.

Timaru Herald, 11 September 1913, Page 6
MACLEOD. In loving memory of Willie third dearly beloved son of William and W.I. MacLeod, Achina, Bettyhill, Thurso, Scotland, who died at Sawdon, Burke's Pass, on September 11, 1908. 

What's the Mary SMART and BAIN family connection? A shipboard mate of the Bain family. As a girl of 19 Mary (then Mary Greig) she set sail from Ross-shire with her aunt, Mrs Donald Bain, on the Pleiades, in 1874.

William GREIG and his wife Margaret McKENZIE married in Jan. 1823 in Lochlash. Their children included the following:
a. Helen GREIG, born 1826 in Aplecross, Scotland, married Donald BAIN 1852. All seven of their children were born in Scotland, but the entire family came out to New Zealand in 1874.
b. Thomas GREIG b. 1828 Lochlash, first wife was Mary McKENZIE. Only one child from this marriage, Mary GREIG, born c.1854 Scotland. It is this Mary who came out to New Zealand with the BAIN's in 1874, and married Elijah SMART in 1878. Other than Mary, and the BAIN's, none from this part of the family that I am aware of came out to New Zealand.
d. John Greig b. c.1832 Lochlash. Died 25. Nov. 1905. Buried Pleasant Point.

John and Ellen Bain nee Burgess have a lovely headstone, white marble with lead lettering depicting an open page from a good book. The same headstone design is also found nearby on the Elijah and Mary Smart's grave. Is there a connection but not a family connection? The clue was written on the SMART headstone. Mary Greig arrived in Lyttelton, N.Z. onboard the ship Pleiades in 1874 and she married Elijah Smart in 1878 in Andrew Burnett's House, Timaru [registered as Mary Gregg]. Mary came out as a single woman. Helen Bain, born at Conchura, Ross-shire, Scotland in 1826, came to New Zealand with her family in 1874 in the ship Pleiades. Her daughters were in the single woman compartment onboard:  Mary BAIN aged 20, Isabella BAIN aged 15, Johanna BAIN aged 13. Her sons including John Bain aged 12 was in the single man compartment. So Mary Smart nee Greig was a friend of the Bain family since her voyage to Canterbury, N.Z. 

Press, 27 February 1940, Page 2 MRS MARY SMART [Mrs E. Smart was living at "Dornie," Burke's Pass in 1938]
The death of Mrs Mary Smart, which occurred at her home at Burke’s Pass recently, removes another of the early pioneers of the Mackenzie Country. As a girl of 19 (then Mary Greig) she set sail from Ross-shire with her aunt, Mrs Donald Bain, on the Pleiades, in 1874, and landed by surf-boat at Timaru. She made her home in the Tekapo district until 1877, when she was married to Mr Elijah Smart, one of the Canterbury pilgrims, who arrived by the Randolph, one of the First Four Ships. Mr and Mrs Smart made their first home in the Mackenzie Country, first with Mr Sibald [sic: Sibblad], of Sawdon, and Lily Bank, and later at Simon’s Hill. Finally they retired to their farm at Burke’s Pass. Mrs Smart is survived by a family of five daughters: Mrs W. Manning (Wellington), Mrs W. Manning (Temuka), Mrs V. Howes (Albury), Mrs J. Struthers (Mona Vale), and Mrs J Willetts (Burke’s Pass). The funeral, which was a private one, took place at the Burke’s Pass cemetery. Many floral tributes were received.

McLEOD, Malcom, Sheepfarmer, Burke's Pass.

Mr McLeod was born at Bragar, Stornoway, Scotland, in 1859, and finished his education at the Glasgow Free Church Normal College, where he was qualified as a teacher. After teaching in several schools in Lewis, he became headmaster of the Cross parish school when he was nineteen years of age. In January, 1897, he arrived in New Zealand by the ship "Taranaki," Since his arrival in the colony Mr. McLeod (preferring other pursuits to his profession) has been in turn station clerk, shepherd, station manager, coach proprietor, and hotelkeeper, and he is now a sheepfarmer, with three small runs in the Mackenzie Country. He devotes his properties chiefly to cattle grazing. Mr McLeod has been chairman of the Burke's Pass school committee since 1892, and became representative for Tekapo riding in the Mackenzie County Council in 1892. In 1883 he did much to organise the Mackenzie County Caledonian Society, which is now amalgamated with that of Fairlie, and was twice president. Mr McLeod is Worshipful Master of the Fairlie Lodge of Freemasons. He was married in 1885, to Miss Bain, daughter of Mr Donald Bain, of Highfield, Burke's Pass, and has three sons and three daughters. Ferrier, photo. Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. Vol. 3 pages 960 - 962. Published 1903

Timaru Herald 3 December 1885 Marriage
McLEOD - BAIN - On the 4th November at the residence of the bride's parents, Highfield, Burkes Pass, by the Rev. George Barclay, Malcolm fourth son of Duncan McLeod, farmer, Bragar, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, to Johnina, second daughter of Mr Donald Bain. (Glasgow Herald and Rosshire Journal please copy.)

Johnina McLeod nee Bain son is Malcolm Alexander McLeod is buried at Burke's Pass and another son wrote a WW1 diary, a good read.  

Donald Bain from Highfield, Scotland

Donald married Helen Greig and they had a son John Bain b. Oct 1863 in Locarron Scotland, who settled in the Burke's Pass area. Mrs. Helen Bain was born at Conchura, Ross-shire, Scotland in 1826 and came to New Zealand with her husband, Donald, and family in 1874 in the ship Pleiades.

Timaru Herald, 7 April 1904, Page 2
BAIN. At Highfield, Burke's Pass, on 6th inst., Donald Bain; aged 80 years. Deeply regretted. Passed away peacefully.

Timaru Herald, 8 April 1904, Page 2
Another of the old pioneers of the Mackenzie County (Mr Donald Bain) passed away peacefully at his residence Highfield, Burke's Pass, on the 6th inst., at the ripe old age of 80 years. Mr Bain was a native of Applecross, Rossshire, Scotland, came to New Zealand with his family about 30 years ago, and took up land in the Burke's Pass valley in the old free selection days. Mr Bain was of quiet unassuming disposition, and never took any active part in public matters. He was highly respected by all with whom he comes in contact. He leaves a widow, four sons, two daughters, and three grandchildren to mourn their loss. His funeral leaves his late residence for the Burke's Pass cemetery at 1 p.m. today.

Timaru Herald, 12 April 1904, Page 2
The funeral of the late Donald Bain took place on Friday last, and was attended by the largest following of all ages ever seen in the Burke's Pass cemetery. The cortege left Highfield about noon, followed by a large number of vehicles and horsemen, from Fairlie and the surrounding districts. In the church, of which the deceased had been an active member and an office-bearer since it was built some thirty years ago, the Rev. Dr Black conducted a short, but impressive service. From the church to the grave the funeral was conducted in orthodox Highland custom, the coffin being carried in turn by the sons, grandsons, and friends of the deceased, the procession slowly marching to the doleful strains of the "Dubhack Tursach" laments feeling played by piper J. McMillan. Dr Black again officiated at the grave, and paid a feeling tribute to the sterling and christian character of the deceased.

 

Mrs Donald Bain
Mrs Bain died suddenly at the Temuka Railway Station December 1916.  photo

Timaru Herald, 6 December 1916, Page 9 THE LATE MRS BAIN.
What might truly be termed a link with the past was severed by the of Mrs Helen Bain of Temuka, relict of the late Donald Bain, of Highfield, Burke's Pass. The funeral took place yesterday at Burke's Pass, and was attended by a representative gathering from all parts of the district. The deceased wag one of the few remaining pioneers. She was born at Conchra, Ross-shire, Scotland, in 1826, and came to New Zealand with her family in 1871 in the ship Pylades [sic], some of whose passengers had a narrow escape from drowning while landing in Timaru in surf boats. Mr Bain was one of the original selectors of land in the Burke survey district resided until about twelve years ago. Mr and Mrs Bain's hospitable home at Highfield was a welcome shelter for many a weary traveller. Fairlie could then boast of only one or two houses. With marked ability and devotion, Mrs Bain performed the duties of maternity of the Mackenzie Country for a great number of years, and gave much zealous personal service in every case, and never had a mishap, although no medical aid was hearer than Timaru. She had often, to ford flooded rivers on horseback, and travel many miles over snow-covered tracks, but, possessing a hardy constitution, these obstacles did not deter her from reaching her destination in every case. The striking traits in her noble character were unshakeable principles of right and unswerving integrity. She was gifted with a fine intelligence, and a wonderful memory. The mass of information, historical, Celtic, and biblical that she possessed was a source of wonder to all whom she conversed, and her facts were seldom at fault, especially on Highland folklore. Two sons and a daughter pre-deceased her, the surviving members, of the family being; Mr Wm. Bain, of Fairlie, Mr A. Bain, of Auckland. Mrs McMaster, Cave, and Mrs M. McLeod, Timaru also numerous grandchildren. The Rev. J. Craig, of Fairlie, officiated both at the church in Fairlie and the cemetery at Burke's Pass, and delivered a fine eulogy on the deceased pioneer. Isabella Bain married Angus McMaster in 1889. 

John Bain

John Bain married Ellen Isabel BURGESS in 1893. John Bain died in 1916 at Kimbell.

John Burgess

Ellen's parents, John Burgess and Georgina Gilbert, were the first to have the Burke's Pass Hotel. John Burgess was only 18 when he married in 1858 and he was the brother-in-law of James Noonan who built the Burkes Pass Hotel but James was drowned while crossing the Te Ngawai River a fortnight before his license was to take effect so John Burgess took it over. John Burgess died 10 September 1887, some years before his wife Georgina (d) January 1904. Both are buried at the Burkes Pass Cemetery.

Timaru Herald, 13 September 1887, Page 2
Burgess — On Sept. 10th, 1887, at his residence, Burke's Pass, after a protracted illness, John Burgess aged 47.

Press, 23 September 1887, Page 4
Burgess. On September 10th, 1887, at Burkes Pass, John Burgess, aged 47 years, second son of Mr John Burgess, Ohoka.

Timaru Herald, 14 September 1887, Page 2
The following particulars concerning the late Mr Burgess, whose death was recorded in our issue of yesterday, will be of interest to many residents in this part of the colony. Though not of the first four ships, Mr Burgess may fairly be reckoned among the Pilgrims, for he came to New Zealand with his father's family in the Lady Nugent in 1851. Coming to Timaru in '58, he very soon after went to reside at Grey's Hills, Mackenzie Country. From then to the present time he has been uninterruptedly connected with the Mackenzie. He took the first load of wool with a bullock dray from Glenmore station, being the first from that part of the county. He was for a number of years proprietor of the Burkes Pass Hotel. He was for some years a mail contractor, and for a long period had bullock teams on the road. It will be seen from the above sketch that Mr Burgess took part in all the struggles of the early settlers. He was known to all as a warm friend and an honourable, straightforward man, and he has left behind him many a record of his kindly disposition and self-sacrificing unselfishness.

Timaru Herald, 12 January 1904, Page 2
BURGESS.—On January 10th, at her residence Cricklewood, Georgina, relict of the late John Burgess, Burke's Pass; aged 63. (Christchurch papers please copy.)

John Burgess died 10th September 1887 aged 47 years.
also Georgina Burgess wife of the above died Jan. 10th 1904. Aged 63 years.
O' may his soul to heaven _____
He was a kind father, a faithful husband and a true friend.
Matt XXVI. 39

Mrs John Bain

Children of Ellen Isobell and John BAIN
1894 Bain Mary Ethel
1896 Bain Donald John
1897 Bain William
1899 Bain James Gilbert
1901 Bain Lawrence Alexander
1903 Bain Thomas Albert
1905 Bain Ruby Helen
1907 Bain John Grieg d. aged 11 weeks
1910 Bain John Burgess  

Press, 21 April 1926, Page 4
There passed away after a few days illness Mrs J. Bain, one of that esteemed band of early-born settlers. The deceased lady was born at Burke's Pass, when that place was a mere dot in a veritable wilderness. Her parents were the first proprietors of the local hotel, where their hospitality became proverbial, not so much in their public capacity as district residents over ready to extend a helping hand. Mrs Bain leaves six sons and two daughters to mourn their loss. Her late husband predeceased her some few years ago when residing at Kimbell. Latterly Mrs Bain and family had resided in Fairlie. The Rev. Lambert conducted the funeral service, the final resting-place being alongside her parents in the Burke's cemetery.

Otago Daily Times 1 December 1925 Page 8
BAIN — BARCLAY. On October 28, at the Presbyterian Church, Kelso, by the Rev. Tweedie, Donald John, eldest son of Mrs and the late John Bain, Fairlie, late of Silverstream, to Hilda Helen Marion, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs J. W. Barclay, Kelso.

 

Elijah Smart
The Smart family sailed from England on the Randolph. There were at that time twelve in the family and two more were born in New Zealand. Elijah's sister Amy Smart married Charles Bourn in 1852 and the officiating minister was the Rev. Mr. Bradley. The Bourn family is very well known in Timaru and Christchurch.

Press, 6 December 1930, Page 18
The death occurred last evening, at his residence, Burke's Pass, South Canterbury, of Elijah Smart, one of the few remaining "Canterbury Pilgrims'' in the district. He was in his 86th year. Mr Smart arrived at Lyttelton on the ship Randolph on December 16th, 1850, when he was about four years of age. He was one of a family of ten who all came out by that ship, and three of his seven brothers are still alive. He himself stated in 1927 that the whole family had walked to Christchurch over the hills, his mother assisting them over the steep places with a clothesline. He was at one time a guide in the Mackenzie Country, and was in receipt of a pension from the Government for his services. He was interested in the activities of the Pilgrims' Association, and at the time of the visit of the Duke of York, in March, 1927, he presented a stock-whip to his Royal Highness, after first demonstrating that he was still able to use and crack it. For some years past he had lived at Burke's Pass, South Canterbury. The three surviving brothers are Messrs Eli Smart, of Woodville, William Smart, of Hastings, and Enos Smart, of Palmerston North. The funeral will take place at Burke's Pass to-morrow afternoon. 

Wee Georgie Smart

In loving memory Georgie Smart who died at the Timaru hospital September 4th 1903 aged 3 years & 3 months.
It was hard to part with one so young and full of promise bright,
But God to George a crown has given, and garments pure and white,
The fairest flowers are first to fall. The sweetest first to fade.
The fondest, dearest, best of all, within the graves are laid.

This toddler stood on a rake in the garden at Mary Hill Station and became ill with tetanus. His mother, Mary Smart, undertook a desperate ride on horseback with him cradled in her arms to seek help. She crossed the Tekapo River and the Mackenzie Basin, travelled over Burkes Pass to Fairlie and eventually took him on to Timaru where sadly he later died. He was buried in the Burkes Pass Cemetery. 

Charles Smart

Charles Smart's WW1 Memorial Plaque (also known as a Death Plaque, Death Penny, Deadman’s Penny, Widows Penny).  5" in diameter actual size. I didn't realise how small they were until I saw one on a headstone at the Burkes Pass Cemetery. Never polish the penny.

Charles Smart, born 8th June 1890 at Burkes Pass. shepherd, employed by A. McRae, Godley Peaks. Father Elijah Smart, Burkes Pass, Presbyterian.
7/1142, Smart, Charles. C.M.R. Mac Gun Sqd, NZR Bde. Died of wounds in the field 31 March 1918. Report made by A/C 2nd Light Horse Field Ambulance at Palestine Map Sheet AMMAM R.19.d. Officiating Chaplain J.P. Wilkinson, C.F. Buried 31/3/1918 Damascus Commonwealth War Cemetery.

 

Dolina "Dolly" SMART

Born 20 Sept. 1883 in Burke's Pass to Mary & Elijah Smart. Dolly married Victor Robert HOWES on 19 Dec. 1907 at Albury. They had eleven children. Edith Dulcie Howes married D.A. Kinsman in 1951 and Dolly d. 30 June 1960 on the family farm near Albury and was buried in the Burke's Pass Cemetery. Mrs Kinsman, the last of the 11 Howes brothers and sisters.

KINSMAN, Edith Dulcie (Granny) - Peacefully at McKenzie Healthcare on December 7, 2012 aged 85 years. Dearly loved wife of the late David Arthur Kinsman. Cherished mother and mother-in-law of, Marion and Colin White (Fairlie), and the late Ross Kinsman (Fairlie), Murray and Edith Kinsman (Hornby), Colin and Nicola Kinsman (Albury), and Glenis and Peter Taylor (Kaiapoi). A loved granny and great-granny to all her grandchildren. A much loved aunty of Jenny and David Kinsman (Waimate). A service for Edith is to be held at St Stephen's Anglican Church, Fairlie, on Tuesday December 11, 2012 at 1.30 p.m., and thereafter to the Burkes Pass Cemetery. Geraldine Funeral Services F.D.A.N.Z. Geraldine ph 036938788 Published in The Press on December 8, 2012 

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