Melbourne’s oldest cemetery records have been digitised and added to the Public Records Office of Victoria (VicProv)’s online collection. The city’s first cemetery was established in 1837 on the site of the current Victoria Market in Elizabeth Street. Located on the edge of the central business district, the cemetery had a relatively short life due to its inadequate size and the regular encroachment by the adjoining market.
Just 14 years after it opened the cemetery was closed to burials other than for people who had claims on existing plots. The last burial was in 1917 following a parliamentary decision which allowed the cemetery land to be reclaimed and allocated to the neighbouring Victoria Market. When exhumations commenced in 1920 only 525 marked graves were moved. During excavation work in the 1990s, human remains were uncovered and reinterred in other Melbourne cemeteries including the Fawkner cemetery’s Old Pioneers Section.
All burial records pre-1866 were destroyed in a fire at the gatekeeper’s lodge. Nevertheless VicProv believes the remaining records represent the most complete set of information on interments in the Old Melbourne Cemetery. Although the records are not searchable, names are easily located as the images are grouped alphabetically according to the name of the deceased.
The List of Burials is a large register book commonly used in the 19th century and contains information on:
The alphabetical list ceases with the letter T. VicProv states that original records contain no surnames starting with U, V, X, Y or Z.
The records are located online at VicProv’s Series VPRS 9583.