Geelong Cemeteries Trust proudly celebrated the 180th anniversary of the first burial at Geelong’s Eastern Cemetery with the opening of the Stage Three Geelong Community Mausoleum on Thursday, September 5th. The Mausoleum was officially opened by Anthony Carbines M.P., the Parliamentary Secretary for Health.
The 180th anniversary and the opening of the Mausoleum marked the final 15 years of available graves at the Eastern Cemetery, which is expected to reach full capacity in 2034. For this reason, the Trust is currently developing the new site at Marcus Hill (Bellarine Memorial Park), as well as further development at the Geelong Memorial Park, Armstrong Creek, and Flinders Memorial Park, Lara.
The historic ceremony was attended by leaders from Geelong’s business, religion and community sectors. Event guests were welcomed by Geelong Cemeteries Trust Chairman Lynden Smith OAM, followed by the official opening of the new Community Mausoleum, which was blessed by Father James Clarke. The 180-year plaque was unveiled at the final stage of the cemetery, and consecration of the Orthodox grounds was made.
Geelong Cemeteries Trust CEO Darryl Thomas OAM says that commemorating 180 years is an opportunity to reflect on Geelong’s substantial history, whilst bringing together religious denominations and community members.
“We’re extremely proud of the community and culture that exists in Geelong, and the history upon which the city is built. Geelong truly is a beautiful place to be through life, and in death.
“The Eastern Cemetery was the first public cemetery in the region, with the first burial being that of Hugh Niven on the 23rd September 1839, one year after Geelong was declared a town.
“Over 180 years, the cemetery has seen many interments of pioneers who settled the Western District, such as Alexander Thomson, the Chirnsides of Werribee Park, the Armytage family, Thomas and Elizabeth Austin, Ormond, Captain Foster Fyans, James Harrison, Anne Drysdale, and Caroline Newcomb, just to name a few.
“The opening of the Third Stage Geelong Community Mausoleum and the 180-year commemoration of the Eastern Cemetery brought together a number of religious authorities for the 180-year celebration, and blessings of the mausoleum and Orthodox Section.”
Geelong Cemeteries Trust would like to once again thank everyone who attended on the day. It was a fantastic opportunity to come together to celebrate Geelong’s history and future.