Albany Memorial Park Cemetery

Author

City of Albany

Place Number

15756

Location

263-275 Middleton Rd Albany

Location Details

bounded by Boronia & Suffolk Sts

Other Name(s)

Old Albany Cemetery, Middleton Road Cemetery,
Pioneer Cemetery, Memorial Park Cemetery

Local Government

Albany

Region

Great Southern

Construction Date

Constructed from 1836, Constructed from 1959

Demolition Year

N/A

Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents
State Register Permanent 14 Feb 2003 HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument, HCWebsite.Listing+ListingDocument

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management
Category
Classified by the National Trust Classified 11 Dec 2000
Municipal Inventory Adopted 30 Jun 2001 Category A

Child Places

  • 04344 WA Christmas Tree

Statement of Significance

One of the earliest pioneering era cemeteries in Western Australia, still to be found in relatively good condition. The Memorial Park Cemetery is thought to be the oldest consecrated cemetery in Western Australia. The Cemetery has a historically significant part in the history and development of the area, and its development is directly attributable to the historical and economic history of the town. The Memorial Park Cemetery has historic value as a record and burial place of many nationalities and socioeconomic levels of society, originally of local, interstate & overseas residency. Whilst records are incomplete, it is thought that approximately 5,000 people have been interred at the site. The diversity, style and age range of memorials and grave fittings in the cemetery, many of which display a impressive skills, artistry and craftsmanship in the disciplines of ironwork and stone-masonry, are now rarely seen in a contemporary cemetery. Many of the mature trees found around and throughout the cemetery, have historic and cultural significance. At its closing in 1959, the Memorial Park Cemetery is thought to be the longest serving Public cemetery in the State of Western Australia.

Physical Description

Set either side of Middleton Rd and easily accessed by pedestrians A number of mature trees, both native and exotic, shade the site There is a diversity, style and age range of memorials and grave fittings in the cemetery, many of which display a impressive skills, artistry and craftsmanship in the disciplines of ironwork and stone-masonry

History

To date, four burial grounds/cemeteries are known to have existed within the City of Albany. Of these, the Memorial Park Cemetery is the third area to have been used in this fashion, and at its official closing on 16 September 1959; it is thought to have become the longest serving Public Cemetery in the State of Western Australia. The first two burial grounds were situated on town lots S112 & S115, both of which are situated in the land that lies between York & Stirling streets. Lot S115 was originally used prior to 1832 by the NSW penal settlement. With the change of government control from NSW to WA (Swan River settlement), Lot S112 was noted as being in use from 1832 onwards. Whilst it is known that, one body was exhumed during property development of Lot S115 in June 1964, (later this body was re-interred at the Memorial Park cemetery), there is little firm evidence to suggest that any of the other remains that were relocated to any other cemeteries. This would suggest that there are at least two bodies still to be found at Lot S112, and approximately 35-60 remain under the car park behind the Town Hall at Lot S115. As stated previously, the Memorial Park Cemetery is probably the longest serving Public cemetery in WA, and has been identified on the first town maps of the settlement, which date from 1836. On 12th February 1840, the Government Gazette announced that Lot S51 had been set aside as a Public cemetery, although in keeping with the times, the land was placed under the care of the Church of England Trustees on 29 July 1845. It should be noted however, that this does not mean that the burial of members of other faiths were not permitted in the allotment, only that they would have been placed in a separate section of the grounds to those of the Church of England. The first minister of Albany, Rev. John R. Wollaston confirmed this view with his comments concerning the consecration of the site, which was probably the first cemetery consecration in the State. The Lord Bishop of Adelaide, the Right Reverend Augustus Short performed the ceremony, on 27th October 1848. He noted in his diary: " Lady Spencer gave a grand dinner on Friday, 27th Oct., on the afternoon of which day he consecrated a portion of the Burial Ground, leaving the remainder (three-quarters) for the other denominations. The Cemetery lies about halfway between Albany and Strawberry Hill." As the settlement and its population grew, there was a subsequent proliferation of the various religious institutions that could be supported by that population. In keeping with the segregationist policies of the era, the Government, in response to requests from the various church bodies, allotted cemetery land. The first additional allotment was gazetted on 30 April 1855, to the Albany Roman Catholic Church. This southern allocation was the first section to be used "above" Middleton Road. The Wesleyan Methodist church was granted lots in 28 January 1884. Finally, the Presbyterian Church received approval for use of lots in the cemetery on 16 July 1890. These various allotments continued to be operated and controlled by the various church authorities until the lands were revested by the government to the control of the Trust established under the Albany Cemeteries Act (1943). On 31 March 1944, by publication in the Government Gazette, all six lots were amalgamated into the Cemetery Reserve 22406. The same publication announced the appointment of 10 Trustees for care of this Reserve. Since that time, only one amendment to Reserve 22406 has been made. It was gazetted on 8 December 1972, and Lots 503 & 504 were reduced slightly, to give the cemetery it current size of 2.5323 hectares The Memorial Park Cemetery is the final resting-place of approximately 5,000 individuals, although only about 1,100 names are noted on memorials in the cemetery. These people from a wide range of racial and socio-economic backgrounds, and are not only members of local Aboriginal and pioneering families, but there also people of state prominence, together with travellers from overseas and other states. Unfortunately, as most of the records for the cemetery were held by individual church trustees prior to the creation of the Albany Cemetery Board, the remaining records are scattered and incomplete, although work on assembling a cross-referenced database is continuing. The remaining monuments and other sepulchral architecture in the Cemetery are the chief and most accessible element of the physical evidence and these are also documents of individual lives and the local community. Headstones in the Albany Memorial Park Cemetery commemorate people who reached all ages, from babies and children to more than a dozen nonegenarians. The dubious honour of being the oldest "Occupants" is one jointly shared by William George Hawkes and Esther Annie Maltby, both of whom were aged 98 at the time of their deaths. The memorials themselves vary from plain to elaborate, and it is notable that the cemetery also contains two rare wooden headboards, said to have been carved by ship's carpenters for their former crewmates, prior to the start of the 20th Century. Although there are no tombs, there are a number of imposing obelisks and columns, and an interesting range of headstones, which provide a range of good examples of late 19th and early 20th-century monumental masonry. Given the town's history of recurrent depressions and recessions, it is surprising to find that a number of these works were imported from not only other Australian states including SA, NSW and Victoria, but also overseas. Other funerary artefacts of interest include a surprisingly large number of well-preserved cast-iron "lace" grave surrounds. Once again there are examples ranging from various simple designs to elaborate family and group enclosures incorporating detailed designs. Both the Allambie and Memorial Park Cemeteries acquired their current names on 6 December 1963, from a list of names submitted by the public to the Mayor of Albany, Charles Johnson. Prior to this, they were generally referred to as the "Old" and "New" cemeteries. Allambie Park Cemetery, which opened on 4 August 1954, began operating five years before the official closure of the memorial Park Cemetary. Despite the official closure of the 'old' cemetery, a number of reservations remained current (with the last due to expire in 2003) and burials may still be permitted subject to the approval of the Minister and Albany Cemetery Board.

Integrity/Authenticity

Integrity: High Modifications: Some loss of funerary fittings, particularly in the oldest sections of the cemetery, due to decay and possibly early management practices and Monumental damage and fixtures loss owing to vandalism

Condition

Good

References

Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
D McAleese; "Memorial Park Cemetery Heritage Application/ Assessment". 2000
Heritage TODAY Site visit and Assessment 1999
L Johnson; "Town of Albany Heritage Survey". 1994

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
9478 Memorial Park Cemetery, Albany, Western Australia: conservation plan, volumes 1 & 2. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 2005

Place Type

Historic Site

Uses

Epoch General Specific
Present Use MONUMENT\CEMETERY Cemetery
Original Use MONUMENT\CEMETERY Cemetery

Architectural Styles

Style
Other Style

Construction Materials

Type General Specific
Other CONCRETE Other Concrete
Other TIMBER Other Timber

Historic Themes

General Specific
PEOPLE Aboriginal people
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Immigration, emigration & refugees
PEOPLE Local heroes & battlers
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES World Wars & other wars
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Community services & utilities
PEOPLE Early settlers
TRANSPORT & COMMUNICATIONS River & sea transport
SOCIAL & CIVIC ACTIVITIES Religion
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Settlements

Creation Date

25 Sep 2000

Publish place record online (inHerit):

Approved

Last Update

31 Dec 2016

Disclaimer

This information is provided voluntarily as a public service. The information provided is made available in good faith and is derived from sources believed to be reliable and accurate. However, the information is provided solely on the basis that readers will be responsible for making their own assessment of the matters discussed herein and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.