Kingscote Pioneers Cemetery

Why did the old Kingscote Pioneers Cemetery get replaced by the new Kingscote Cemetery? And when?

The short answer is that in August 1883 the South Australian Company (who owned it) no longer wanted to be held responsible for it, and sold it to the Crown. The new cemetery was established by the newly formed Kingscote Council.

The agreeable research staff at the State Library kindly provided this for us:

With regards to the Cemetery, we have examined available finding aids for this record group, including transcribed correspondence, and checked various original records. We found the following in the series holding correspondence to and from the Colonial Manager, at the time of the sale of the land used for internments.

BRG 42/9 Letters received from the Colonial Manager.

6 June 1883 to J. Hutchinson Esq. Secretary of the South Australian Company, page 228

…Board minutes no. 1897 to 1904 are sent with this, in the last minute you will see recorded a Conveyance to H.M. the Queen of about one acre of Section No. 1 Kangaroo Island for the purposes of a Cemetery, when the Company’s first settlement was made on that island they had to do pretty well everything for the settlers, & among other things to find a place of burial for those dying there, some of the families of their own officers were so buried, & for a long time the site was cared for by those living on the spot, of late years however there have been occasional complaints that the graves were being trampled down by cattle feeding on the land, & that there was an absence of all proper reverence for the place, the communication with the island has hitherto been a troublesome business, but of late more people are settling upon it, & a small steamer has been going there once a week, & as the Government would have to provide a Cemetery for the district around Kingscote, I offered to convey the site of the old burial place for the purpose, if they would put it under proper charge & relieve the Company of all further responsibility in the matter, to this they consented, hence the Conveyance referred to, which I hope the Directors will approve. …

BRG 42/7 Letters sent to the Colonial Manager

10 August 1883 to William J. Brind Esq. page 489

…The Directors also approve the transfer of the Cemetery at Kingscote to the Government…

We have checked the catalogue of State Records of South Australia and found references to various relevant documents:

GRG35 1, Unit Id 93, File 1811/1882

W.J. Brind, South Australian Company: Offering portion of Section No. 1, Hundred of Menzies, which has been used for internments for Cemetery, Kangaroo Island.

16-Oct-1882 – 2-Apr-1883

In GRG35 1, Unit Id 155, File 2712/1889 is the request by the District Council of Kingscote for control of the Cemetery Reserve, Hundred of Menzies.

In GRG35 245 are two files concerning a survey of Section 1 with relation to the Cemetery. There is a note on one saying that there is no trace of the old survey (1882-1883).

We have also checked published heritage surveys of Kangaroo Island. For the archaeological survey of the Reeves Point site (published in 1983), no original plan of the cemetery had been located:

http://www.catalog.slsa.sa.gov.au:80/record=b1607844~S1

We have not located a reference to a register of burials in the records of the South Australian Company but there are 23 metres of records and unfortunately we are unable to undertake extensive research as we are restricted in the amount of time that we can spend on each enquiry. You could contact State Records to see if there is any mention of a burial register or documentation transferred upon the sale of the cemetery site, and whether council records hold any information about the new cemetery and relocation.

Chris Ward contributes:

The land comprising one acre and five perches was conveyed by memorial dated 17th May, 1883 from S.A. Company of London to Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria. H.M. Queen paid 5/- to the S.A. Company and got a receipt!!

The Gazette of 31 October 1889 dedicated the land “as a reserve for a cemetery” and placed it “under the care, control, and management of the district council of Kingscote”

Section 1 had been the subject of a Land Grant to the S.A. Company on 24th January 1857. This comprised 67 acres, 1 rood and 20 perches. I presume that was when the first survey was carried out.

S.A. Company seem to imply that they had some responsibility for the cemetery but were clearly pleased to unload it. The Calnan boys had been agitating for better facilities since the mid 1860s.

Back in England there had been a Land Order #438 issued by the late Colonisation Commissioners for the Province. The Land Grant of 24th January 1857 grant the land to the S.A. Company to fulfil that Land Order. It is described as Section 1, Kangaroo Island. The area had obviously been surveyed previously but the Hundreds (Menzies) didn’t come about until much later.

The S.A. Company sold the cemetery land to the Crown which was a small part of that land that had been granted to them in 1883. Normal land transaction with a Certificate of Title 352/159 (I think).

The Gazette of 1889 dedicated the land as a Cemetery Reserve and gave control to the Council. At that stage the land was still crown land. I think that at a much later date KI Council became the owner and CR5756/680 may have more information

The original part of the new cemetery was Section 462 which was set aside at the time of survey n 1881 for cemetery purposes. This appears to be about 8363 m² in area. In the late 1970s land owned by W.F. Chapman in Sections 51 & 52 were acquired and apparently added to Section 462. Section 52 comprised 18 hectares.

Copies of Land Titles and Crown Records would tell the story.

Brownlow Cemetery

(Section 456) was placed in the control of D.C. Kingscote in Gazette of 25 October 1888. I suspect that it was reserved as a cemetery in 1882 but can’t substantiate that. I have a copy of a letter from the District Clerk dated May 1959 to the Catholic Presbytery advising that the Council will set aside an area as a burial reserve for Roman Catholic people. On 30 January 1980 the land appears to have been proclaimed as a Recreation Reserve. On 22 December 1983 a small portion of the Reserve was set aside for other purpose (sub-station??)

Emu Bay Cemetery (Maxwell Cemetery)

Gazette of 28 December 1882 set aside land as the Public Cemetery of Maxwell. Gazette of 25 October 1888 placed the cemetery reserve under the care, control and management of D.C. Kingscote. Name change from Maxwell to Emu Bay on 20 February 1941.

- Chris Ward 20 Aug 2016