Publication Name

ADELONG CEMETERY 1861-1987

Location: From Tumut Street (Snowy Mountains Highway) turn into Neill Street passing Lockhart, Lynch, Gundagai and Gilmore Streets to the top of the hill. The road veers to the right down the hill and across Black Creek, then up the hill again to the cemetery, approximately 1.5 kms from the Post Office.

In 1853 the discovery of alluvial gold in the Adelong Creek brought a steady stream of diggers to the area, and the finding of reef gold in June 1857 attracted many more miners to the area. With the growth of population at Adelong, the increase of deaths was inevitable. A Burial Ground had been set aside but it could not be consecrated until it was securely fenced. Nevertheless, burials were still made in the cemetery. In August 1859 the Church of England Minister from Tumut, Rev. Samuel Fox called for subscriptions to enable the fencing work to be undertaken, however by 1861 it was still unfenced and indistinguishable from the surrounding bush. Even so, Archbishop Polding, on a visit to the town in July of that year, laid the first stone of the Catholic Chapel and consecrated the Catholic portion of the cemetery.

By May 1862 a sum of money had been obtained from the Government and a contract for clearing let to Mr. Bartlett and fencing carried out by Mr. Rogers. The Cemetery was then enclosed by a substantial paling fence but it was the duty of the respective denominations to fence their own portions. At this stage furrows marked the boundaries. In 1877 the Cemetery was enlarged and for a time used as a general burying ground until separate portions were allotted. The Cemetery was finally Gazetted on 15th August 1879 and enlarged 2nd September 1938.

Very early burials in the district probably took place close to where the death occurred and the graves now lie unmarked and forgotten. Later burials were made in the old cemetery at Tumut, the journey being a long one from Adelong. There is evidence of some type of communal burial ground established on the property of Martin Curran, an early Run holder. Records show burials were made in M. Curran’s Burying Ground or Old Vault at Adelong. The last interment recorded there was 5th May 1861. .

The first burial recorded in the Adelong Cemetery is of Margaret Goldspink, the infant daughter of Jonathan and Elizabeth Goldspink, who died from measles on 5 February 1861. She was buried the following day in the Protestant portion of the Cemetery.
A description of her funeral appeared in the Wynyard Times newspaper of 12 Feb 1861:
" – Sir – I am a stranger upon the Adelong. On Wednesday last, standing under the verandah of an hotel, I saw a funeral pass, - a train of mourners bearing to its last resting place a little child – darling of a household…….. We wound our way over the bridge, through the township, past all evidences of human existence into the bush, and there we stopped. To my horror and intense disgust I found the Adelong Cemetery, the burial place for her near and dear ones, still unconsecrated, unfenced, still unredeemed, still forming part and parcel of the wilderness around. No clergyman there. Beyond the recitation of prayers by a man, religion hallowed not the obsequies of the little lamb, or was its tiny grave protected by society from the violating tread of wandering beasts….."

In the first year, 1861, 12 burials were recorded in the cemetery. The earliest headstone is for Elizabeth Helvetia Elworthy who died 24 March 1862. Also commemorated on the stone is her eldest daughter, Emma Maria, who died in July 1861 aged 14 months.

The work of transcribing the headstones was undertaken in 1987 and includes all headstone erected to 31st December 1987. Up to 1967, when the Tumut Shire Council took control, each denomination was responsible for it’s own administration – however during the transition many of the old records were lost. The old portion has been arbitrarily divided into sections C. D. E. F. and G. in order to have workable lots. The more recent portions (sections A. B. H. and I.), for which plans are held by the Council, include Row and Grave site numbers. Also included are details of some burials without headstones, designated with *.