Ballaarat Old Cemetery
Memorials to the soldiers and gold diggers can be seen at the same site, not far from one another. The tombstones and graves of many other participants of the eureka battle are at both old and new cemeteries. Tombstones of Chinese miners, Jewish men, women and children, and other multicultural groups, are evidence of the mix of nationalities that were present on the early Ballarat gold fields. The contribution these groups made to early Australian society and our national identity is enormous.
Location of cemeteries and crematorium Ballarat has two relatively ‘old’ cemeteries, and one crematorium. The Ballaarat Old Cemetery was officially gazetted on 20 May 1856, although a cemetery had been operating on the site since 1847. Ballaarat New Cemetery was officially gazetted on 8 February 1858, but not declared open until 10 June 1867. the crematorium opened in 1958 after much discussion with councils, planning committees and government.
The Ballaarat Old Cemetery was set out adjacent to the main road to Creswick, now known as Creswick Road. The spelling in 1856 appears as Ballaarat cemetery which is the same as the spelling today. On 15 July 1856, John Hamlet Taylor, acting government surveyor, drew one of the first plans showing its location. To the west of the cemetery was a quartz reef and Daniel Sweeney’s pound where he kept his horses. The Old Ballaarat Cemetery site covers 17 acres or 7.045 hectares. There are approximately 11,000 graves and around 33,000 interments in this cemetery.
Eureka Graves Visitor Centre
The new centre was opened on Friday 27 February 1998 in the gatehouse, Ballaarat Old Cemetery, by the Honourable Michael Ronaldson with many members of the Ballarat Historical Society and the Ballarat & District Genealogical Society in attendance. Members of both societies had been involved in the planning and implementation of the project.
The centre provides information on the Ballaarat Old Cemetery and houses a computer touch screen which has data on graves and burials in the Ballaarat Old and New Cemeteries and Crematorium. There is a database of early burials (to 1856) including Eureka names compiled by Dorothy Wickham.