White Hills Public Cemetery
Corner of Holdsworth Road and Plumridge Street, White Hills
The White Hills Cemetery was originally known as the Junction Cemetery. In 1854 it was officially opened, however it had to be used as a cemetery well before this date.
Once gold was discovered at the seven White Hills, the area was inundated with optimistic diggers. Locals within the White Hills area, including the Chinese from the Chinese settlement then claimed the site as a cemetery to bury their dead. The initial burials took place without registration, therefore the first person buried at the White Hills Cemetery is not known. The earliest recognised grave at present is that of Gustave Alphonse Eugere Vazie who died in November 1853, aged 19 months.
Features of the White Hills Cemetery include: The original entrance pillars and gates designed by Vahland; a unique Victorian style rotunda; Chinese graves believed to be of world significance; a monument erected to the memory of Robert (Pump Handle) Benson; and the largest monument in the cemetery – Major Robert Moorehead of the Prince of Wales Light Horse.
The White Hills Public Cemetery is one of several cemeteries in the Bendigo urban area. It is regarded as significant because it is a substantially intact example of a mid nineteenth century gold-fields cemetery. The cemetery lies in a picturesque setting of curved pathways and has a number of significant and rare plantings.
It features are important as they are typically representive of nineteenth century cemeteries. Structures such as the Chinese Burning Tower, the Entrance Gates, the Rotunda and indeed many of the headstones and footstones are worthy of inspection. The original cemetery was about ten acres but today comprises some twenty four acres.
The Entrance Gates
Burial space still available has the potential to meet the needs of the Bendigo community well into if not beyond this century. There are some 40,000 sites still available and burial trends towards mausolea and cremation will provide opportunity for improved land use.
The Chinese Burial ground at the site is regarded as one of the most authentic Chinese burial sites in Australia, if not beyond.
Modern Day Needs
Whilst the cemetery does provide for large denominational areas it also serves modern day community needs for non-denominational lawn graves. Provision is also made for the interment and memorialization of cremated remains.
Can I find my ancestors?
There are many interesting monuments in this cemetery, 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.