Series VPRS 9582
Plan of Old Melbourne Cemetery
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series ? 1873 - ? 1873
  Series in Custody 1873 - 2011
  Contents ? 1873 - ? 1873
Public Access: Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical/Digital
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1873 - 1873 Melbourne (Town 1842-1847; City 1847-ct) VA 511
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1873 - cont Melbourne (Town 1842-1847; City 1847-ct) VA 511
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    This series has been digitised and is available online as the P3 consignment.

  • Function / Content
    This series contains plans of the Old Melbourne Cemetery, including a plan of the whole cemetery and plans of each individual area set aside for the various religious denominations.

    This series appears to have been created by the City Engineer of the City of Melbourne in 1873.

    Background

    The first burial at the Old Melbourne Cemetery occurred in 1837. The cemetery was divided into sections for each religious denomination. In 1851, due to lack of available space, the cemetery was closed to burials apart from people who already had claims on plots. The last burial at the cemetery took place in 1917. The cemetery closed in 1922.

    The gradual encroachment of what is now known as the Queen Victoria Market saw cemetery land being taken over by the market. In 1877 the sections allocated to Koories and Quakers and the unused part of the Jewish section were taken over by the market.

    In 1917 the Melbourne General Markets Land Act (No.2913) was passed by parliament allowing the Melbourne City Council to reclaim the cemeterys land for the use of the market. The council had the responsibility of overseeing the operations of the cemetery through the appointing of trustees. The Melbourne City Council were co-trustees of the cemetery with the Board of Land and Works (VA 669).

    Exhumation of bodies began in 1920. Only marked graves were exhumed. George Simms of the Melbourne City Council had the responsibility for the exhumations and he identified 525 marked graves. Human remains were found in the early 1990s during excavation work for the market car park, the site of the major part of the Old Cemetery grounds. As part of the exhumation process 70 significant memorials were identified and relocated to the Fawkner Park Old Pioneers Section. Other bodies were reinterred at cemeteries around Melbourne.

    No records exist prior to 1866. A letter from the then Secretary of the Trustees of the Old Melbourne Cemetery in 1895 (Outward Letterbook p 180) apologises for records not being available due to them having been destroyed in a fire at the gatekeeper's lodge in 1865.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Researchers interested in the Melbourne City Councils role in the closure of the Old Melbourne Cemetery should consult the Minutes of Council Meetings (VPRS 8910) from around 1916 to 1922. The minutes of the Market Committee (VPRS 8945) contain many references to the Old Melbourne Cemetery between 1916 and 1922.

    Town Clerks Correspondence Series II (VPRS 3183) may also contain files pertaining to the closure of the Old Melbourne Cemetery.

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1873 - 1873 Open 1
P0003 ? 1873 - ? 1873 Open N/A
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