Meet you at the Cemetery Gates

Part of the Series “News
Produced by on June 2, 2016

Whoever said dead men tell no tales had never watched an episode of CSI, or taken a tour of Gawler’s historic cemeteries with Graham Tucker.

Graham Tucker of the National Trust of South Australia, Gawler Branch

Organised as part of Australian Heritage Week by the National Trust of South Australia, Gawler Branch, and conducted by avid amateur historian Graham Tucker, the bus tour visited cemeteries all over Gawler, and delved into their value as an historical record.

Gawler has a diverse history, and from its origins as Kaurna land and colonial settlement, through its rapid settlement and industrial boom, through two world wars and beyond, right up to the present day, the cemeteries of Gawler reflect both the good and bad times of the people who have called Gawler home.

Whether it is the ages of those laid to rest, or the grandeur or poverty of the headstone, even the placement of the grave, cemeteries can tell us about how our predecessors lived, and what they considered important.

Heritage is all about the stories that make our place special, and many of those stories like buried in Gawler’s cemeteries. Luckily, thanks to tours like the one conducted by Graham Tucker and the National Trust of South Australia, the dead are telling their tales.

Want to hear a ghost story?

Long weathered gravestones at the Buchfelde Pioneer Cemetery

Gawler is full of ghost stories, and Rob Richter, member of the National Trust of South Australia, volunteer at the Gawler National Trust Museum on Murray Street, and former Curator of St George’s Anglican Cemetery has a good one. 

Click below to hear the story of Gracie …

John McKinlay’s grave column which towers over the Willaston Cemetery

Who was John McKinlay?

John McKinlay was a huge influence on the early history of Gawler. Let Graham Tucker, Secretary of the Gawler National Trust, tell you some more …

St George’s Anglican Cemetery on Cheek Avenue

Gawler Cemetery Tour

GBA members spent the morning meeting Gawler’s residents – past tense – and learning some quirky local history spiced with legends and anecdote.

It was a perfect morning to roam the graves of Gawler’s historic cemeteries with brittle sun dodging around heavy cloud puffs.

Under the expert guidance of Graeme Tucker of the Gawler Historical Society aided by local historian, Rob Richter, we visited four cemeteries, the cemetery on Cheek Avenue, the Loos cemetery and the Buchfelde cemetery both on the Two Wells Road and the Willaston cemetery. The tour ended at Pioneer Park where the names of those interred in Gawler’s original cemetery are recorded.

The tour highlighted the heritage of the original German settlement, the appalling infant mortality of the past and the rich contribution made to Gawler by the various foundries, from the intricate iron work fencing the graves to the monumental marble pillars of the foundry owners towering over the resting places of those who worked for them.

Janette Menhennet

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