East Perth Cemeteries
Perth, Western Australia

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Nov 1, 2001
Grave Surround

... It is in the western corner of the graveyard, where grey stones lean under the sombre shadow of cyprus and yew, that you will find names written deep in the history of Western Australia. Here rest the Honourable Peter Broun, Colonial Secretary from the foundation of the colony to the date of his death, a period of 18 years; Richard Hinds, Surgeon, 1843; Richard Hinds, his son, also a surgeon, 1846; Lieut-Col. Andrew Clarke, Governor, Commander in Chief and Vice-Admiral of Western Australia and all of its dependencies, 1845; John Septimus Roe, first Surveyor-General; George Leake, 1849, with Sir Luke Samuel Leake, Kt. first Speaker of the Legislative Council, 1886; John Burdett Wittenoom, first Colonial Chaplain, 1855; Frederick Durck [sic] Wittenoom, Sheriff of the Colony, 1865; C.A.J. Piesse, "sometime Colonial Secretary," who died in office, 1851; Sir Archibald Paull Burt, Chief Justice, from St. Kitts in the West Indies, with his wife and his 10th son, 1879; Bishop Hale [sic], first bishop of the Colony, and his schoolboy son, drowned while bathing; Lieut-Col. John Bruce of H.M. 16th and 18th Foot, for 20 years Staff Officer of Pensioners; Anthony O'Grady Lefroy, C.M.G., first Treasurer; Walter Padbury, John Ferguson, Colonial Surgeon; William Bowles Habgood; Goldwyer, Harding and Panton [sic], three young surveyors who were speared to death while sleeping on a headland of Lagrange country Roebuck Bay, with Maitland Brown, who risked his own life to recover the bodies ...

That was how "E.H." described the Church of England section of the East Perth Cemeteries in the West Australian on January 30, 1932.

Although the cemeteries were remodelled in the early 1950s, the section "E.H." described has remained intact. Fortuately for visitors today, all of the stones that were left standing were renovated or restored and any imperfections that exist today have arisen during the last forty years.

This page represents the initial concept of this project which was to take cyber-tourists on a virtual tour of the cemetery. Since there are over 800 stones still standing, and since they are scattered over an area of around five hectares, the most concentrated and historic section of the Church of England burial ground was chosen.

A section of a survey map created for the Richardson & Davies study in 1986 has been recreated and 30 gravesites have been selected. They represent some of the people mentioned by "E.H." above, but also mention some other interesting, but less famous, pioneers as well.

Each gravesite is described and photographed and transcripts of the inscriptions are presented as well. Those who are interested are also encouraged to try and read the stones for themselves.

An abbreviated biography of each individiual is presented too, but once again, those who want to do some research for themselves are given the opportunity to read transcripts of death notices and funeral descriptions as they appeared in the newspapers of the day. Unfortunately, they were not readily available in all cases.

Out of necessity, there had to be omissions from the tour and a non-virtual tourist would get the opportunity to view graves belonging to other famous people along the way. Some of them are even in the same family plot.

The Church of England section is the oldest in the cemetery and this tour concentrates on the section reserved for family vaults and bricked graves, but going by the early dates on some graves, it would seem that it was also the site of the original public burial ground which was established in 1829.

Grave Surround

32 Prominent People buried in the Church of England section

As can be imagined, this tour took a lot of effort to organise and it is beyond the scope of this project to consider doing the same for the rest of the 800 gravesites in the cemetery. However, it is conceivable that similar tours could be organised for prominent sections of the other denominational burial grounds. Maybe a brief biography could be organised for everyone listed in the burial register which was provided earlier. Time will tell.

The transcript of the paper presented to the Historical Society by Mrs Ray Oldham in 1988 concluded by saying:

... a fuller history of the Cemetery has been compiled and will soon be published. It includes the names and brief biographies of all those known to have been buried there, a relevant account of the various religious denominations in which sections of the land were vested, and an analysis of the unique value of this cemetery in Western Australia's history, culture, art, public health and social conditions in the nineteenth century.

Unfortunately, that publication does not appear to have eventuated so far.

Grave Surround

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