Bendigo Public Cemetery
Carpenter Street, Bendigo. Established in 1858
The first registered burial was that of Ellen Mowbray Murphy on February 1st 1858 age 3½ years. This cemetery has also been known as the Back Creek and Sandhurst Cemeteries (not to be confused with the Sandhurst Burial ground in Bridge Street).
The Gothic designed Mortuary Chapel and the former Sextons residence are two important architectural features at this cemetery. An unusual feature is the monument erected in memory of the explorers, Burke and Wills.
The Bendigo Public Cemetery dates from the 1850’s and from that time it was a site destined to display features of historic cultural and social interest. Four such features are:
Constructed about 1872 this very picturesque building is the major feature confronting those who enter from the main gates in Carpenter Street. Constructed of granite quarried at Harcourt is it flanked by two Southern Magnolias.
A timber steeple crowns the building and the portico features a doorway with concentric arches and collarettes, and a cloverleaf finial.
The building has a number of fine stained glass windows which have been recently reinstated. Plans are now afoot to restore the building.
Burke and Wills Monument
This feature which can be seen off to the right of the Chapel was erected by the people of Bendigo. The fate of the team it honours is well known. It appears to have had a paint finish but is clearly a sandstone column.
The foundation was laid in 1862 and more than 5000 people were in attendance. History indicates that objects of the time were buried at the site.
These nineteenth century shelters or rotundas were recently the subject of a restoration program but are the frequent magnet of vandals.
Two such features are in the cemetery. They are octagonal in shape, have a corrugated iron pergola shaped roof which is enhanced with a metal finial. They display timber posts with cast iron capitals and cast brackets. The tessellated tiled floor is quite unique and the timber and cast panelling a display of fine craftsmanship.
Chinese Burning Tower
This structure is some four metres in height. It is a hexagonal tuck-pointed brick structure. The roof is peaked and of galvanised sheet metal. The structure was and is used for the burning of offering by the Chinese during specific ceremonies.
The major burial ground for the Chinese exists at the White Hills Cemetery, however there are some 250 Chinese buried near to the burning tower. The site has a number of footstones, the first Chinese burial occurring in 1859.
Can I find my ancestors?
There are many interesting old monuments in the monumental section, but there are also many unmarked graves which can be identified. The Trust is pleased to assist descendants who wish to mark the graves of their ancestors with memorial bronze plaques (subject to the status of the grave site). Please contact the office at Eaglehawk to discuss available options.
You may wish to browse our 'Database search' for information on burials in the cemeteries administered by this Trust.
The Bendigo Cemeteries Trust Volunteer Committee is the Trust's authorised committee for the conduct of displays, cemetery tours and research. More information is available on the 'Volunteers' page of this website.