City seeks community information for historical cemetery project

Published on Friday, 21 July 2023 at 3:46:42 PM

Have you ever strolled past the Old Busselton Cemetery (Pioneer Cemetery) and wondered about its origins? Perhaps you have a relative buried there.

The Old Busselton Cemetery, located between Marine Terrace and Adelaide Street, Busselton was established in 1847 and formally gazetted in 1856. Many of the districts prominent families are buried there. The first recorded burial was Mr Patrick Hurley in 1858 and there are over 250 recorded burials - although 550 individuals have records associated with the cemetery. The historical site also contains a memorial rock for Samuel Isaacs - an Aboriginal man who famously rescued passengers from the Georgette shipwreck when it ran into trouble in 1876. Burials ceased at the cemetery in the 1930s. 

Since 2009 significant progress has been made to conserve the cemetery through the guidance of a Council adopted Conservation Plan. The plan recommends how to undertake conservation and maintenance work. To implement the plan, the City has been working closely with community members to ensure good heritage outcomes.

The late Annie Faithfull, whose family were funeral directors during the time the cemetery was operational, worked with the City to clear around the grave sites and remove overgrown vegetation. Mrs Faithfull and local historian, Judith Murray organised interpretive signage on the cemetery’s history and information about some of the individuals buried there. A map was also created to make it easier for visitors to identify and locate gravesites.

While community support in maintaining the cemetery is appreciated, it is important that members of the public do not take it upon themselves to initiate or undertake any restorative or conservation work within the cemetery without clear direction from City Officers, who are working with heritage advisors and the State Heritage Office.

The next stage of the plan is to install new name tablets, as the current ones have incorrect dates and names misspelt.  The community is invited to come on board to provide some of the missing links – for example, dates and family stories for additional interpretation. If you have information, please get in touch with the City’s Cultural Development Officer, Jacquie Happ via email or visit the City’s Your Say Busselton engagement platform. The City will receive information until 1 November 2023. 

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Objectives outlined in this statement are aligned with the City of Busselton’s Strategic Community Plan (2021 - 2031) Key Themes Lifestyle: A place that is relaxed, safe and friendly with services and facilities that support our lifestyle.

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