Northcote Cemetery
1855 ~ 2003


BACKGROUND  ~   John Batman had bought the Northcote land from the Jaga Jaga tribe but the treaty was declared invalid.  The top half of Northcote was sold to speculators in 1839.   Farmers along the more fertile upper reaches of the Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and the Yarra River supplied food for the growing city of Melbourne and travellers to the district.  The surveyed township of Northcote was laid out in 1853, when there were just a dozen houses in the area.  By 1861 there were 170.  Large houses were established on the Northcote Hill by the wealthy classes; a series of shops and hotels were constructed on major routes; and industries such as the Northcote Brick Company [formed in the early 1880's developed in the area.
The suburb, which is mostly composed of a working-class and migrant population, has historically suffered from the most of the disadvantages of being part of Melbourne's neglected north.  But in recent years Northcote has attracted a greater level of government funding, a growing number of residents professional backgrounds, and an increasing interest in its history. 6

LOCATION  ~  This cemetery is located in Separation Street, Northcote and is wedged between two houses and the local rubbish tip at the rear.  

HISTORY  ~  A number of German immigrants settled in Northcote in the early 1850's.  Seven Germans bought blocks of land in Separation Street [named in honour of Victoria's independence from New South Wales], and they mostly settled on the flat land at the bottom of the hill.  They were August Schwaebsch, Moritz Heiner, Trangott Scholz, Albert Fritsche [one of his descendants became a notable architect], Edward Hellwig and August Schwerkolt.  These settlers in Separation [originally named German Lane], Northcote called their locality Cawdortown.  In May 1861 Peter Macarthur sold one acre on the north side of the street to August Schwaebsch, Albert Fritsche, Moritz Heiner and Edward Hellwig in trust for use as a cemetery by the inhabitants of Cawdortown.  The Germans were a close-knit community who wanted to preserve their national identity in a new country.  The 1901 census reveals that there were 77 German-born residents in Northcote.  For years there was an Annual New Year's Picnic in the German quarter, and its luncheon tents, merry-go-rounds, dancing, music and sports attracted very large crowds.
The records of initial burials are not available, but it would appear reasonable to that the earliest burials occurred in the 1860's.  Many graves bear names like Muller and Schwaebsh, although other nationalities are represented.  The earliest receipt book for burial fees commences on 10 February 1899.  The available records indicate fairly regular use of the cemetery up to about 1940.  There have been approximately 200 burials.  The cemetery has been closed since 1908, except for the holders of the right of burial.  The last burial was in 1971.  The Northcote City Council took-over the management of the cemetery in the 1920's, assuming all costs. 7

LAYOUT  ~  The small rectangular cemetery is hidden away behind a one-metre red brick wall, clone wire at the top.  An opening of 5.6 metres is in the centre with a wrought iron pedestrian gate and vehicle gates supported by brick pillars.  This structure appears to have been erected in the 1960's.  The layout is structured around a central drive which runs from the entrance in Separation Street.

MEMORIALS  ~  Most of the monuments face east, except for those against the eastern fence.  There is a total of 11 rows on raised banks running in a north-south direction.  The cemetery has suffered from vandalism.  Many of the marble slabs are smashed; gravestones have been knocked over, and iron railings have been bent.  The earliest surviving headstone is for Johannes Krupsch.  Another interesting headstone is that of the works manager of the Northcote Brickworks, Thomas Weatherall, who was buried there is 1892.  The headstone records that is was erected by the shareholders and workers of the brickworks and bears the words "Sweet Rest in Heaven".  Many plots are without markings.  Eva Perry, a descendant of one of the Germans [Cr. Carl Adolph August Schwaebsch] buried in the cemetery, has been rallying support for the restoration of the graves.  In 1992 the Northcote Council were considering restoring the cemetery and making it more secure from intruders and vandals. 9

[Taken from "Cemeteries our Heritage" with kind permission from the author Dr. Celestina Sagazio].

This CD contains the complete burial register including those without headstones plus Pictorial Register of all headstones. This includes a close up of headstone and a long shot which shows the whole grave.  Parents where known have also been added.

Cost ~ $40.00 plus $5.00  P & P to anywhere in Australia.

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