Cemetery Exploring With Akari

Workers and players have earned their repose.
Soon on their names all in vain we shall call,
For even the grandest old landmarks must fall.
Just a warm hand-clasp ere one disappears—
These are the last of the old pioneers.
John Sandes

Turn off the Castlemaine to Maldon road onto the gravel Sandy Creek road and follow the old Cobb & Co route, past the old hotel, where they stopped for a break and drive on  towards Welshman’s Reef through Box-ironbark country.

Welshmans Reef is a former gold mining town 15 km west of Castlemaine and 110 km north-west of Melbourne. The name presumably came about from a Welshman discovering the gold-bearing reef: there were numerous Welsh and Methodist settlers at neighbouring townships such as Fryerstown and Vaughan.

West of Welshmans Reef there were the Loddon flats, which enabled miners to diversify into farming. A school was opened in 1877. The place was seldom more than a hamlet and its peak pre-twenty-first-century census population of 215 persons was in 1915. In 1956 the Cairn Curran Reservoir was completed, inundating much of the river flats.

As you approach the hamlet a sign points to the old Sandy Creek Cemetery, a cemetery that was closed in 1956. Many pioneers who came seeking gold lie here. Noting our arrival a large mob of kangaroos took off, bounding across the creek.

The sight of so many small white, numbered markers, combined with the fact that there were only a few headstones, took my breath away. Memorials placed by descendants revealed that this  is a place to honour the pioneers who came here.

3 thoughts on “Cemetery Exploring With Akari

  1. Jan Ferguson 28 Jan 2018 / 12:04 pm

    Thank you so much for placing this on the web. I was recently in Maldon, and found out some of my relatives were buried in this cemetery. But to get directions to this place was impossible, no one knew about it. I only found out about the name from the local historian, but she had a vague idea of where it was, but that didn’t help me. I came back home with photos from the pioneer section of the Maldon Cemetery only. So once again thank you so much.


    • Heather Blakey 30 Jan 2018 / 5:51 pm

      I am so pleased that you have found this post helpful in locating your ancestors!


  2. Heather Blakey 4 Jul 2019 / 12:30 pm

    Reblogged this on Danse Macabre and commented:

    Many years ago my late husband and I hopped from one National Trust Garden to another in the United Kingdom because our Australia National Trust membership gave us free access. Cemetery hopping not only introduces you to many well-manicured, serene spaces and can provide a focus for the traveller who does not want to follow the most popular tourist routes.


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