Penny Weight Flat Cemetery
The Cemetery at Penny Weight Flat is a grim reminder of the many children on the goldfields who lost their lives to disease and accidents.
The following text is displayed on an information sign at the Pennyweight Flat Children's Cemetery:
PENNYWEIGHT FLAT CEMETERY: 1852 - 1857
This site is a rare surviving example of a Gold Rush cemetery. Shortage of water, contaminated water, poor diet and frequent accidents took a heavy toll on those who flocked to the diggings in search of fortune.
Those children who accompanied their parents and babies born on the gold-fields were particularly vulnerable to the harsh conditions. Between 1852 - 57 about 200 bodies, including children and babies, were buried here at Pennyweight Flat on the fringe of the Mt Alexander gold workings.
A pennyweight is a very small measure of gold, no wealth was sacrificed by establishing the cemetery here. The site was so barren it would not be disturbed by fossickers or miners.
Today's peaceful landscape, including the grey-box trees which began to grow just after the cemetery's establishment looks very different from the swarming activity of what was once the richest alluvial (surface) gold-field in the world. So wealthy were the Mt Alexander diggings that stories of gold "there for the taking" spread round the world, prompting one of the great mass-migrations of the nineteenth century.
Often unrecorded and uncoffined, buried in shallow graves, these fossickers and their families represented the coming free Australia.
Remember them as you visit here and respect where they rest.