Mildura Homestead Cemetery - Mildura's Chaffey Trail
Mildura Homestead Cemetery
One solitary grave stood in the Homestead Cemetery, the first cemetery in Mildura, for nearly 40 years. In 1848, John Hawdon, an employee at Kulnine Station, fell from his horse. He later died in a tent on the riverbank. John was the son of Joseph Hawdon who, with MC Bonney, drove 340 cattle from Melbourne to Adelaide along the Murray, passing Mildura early in 1838. Years later John became a stockman for the Jamieson brothers.
Armourer Forster, Hawdon's fellow pioneer, and Mr AL Reid, founder of Mildura's stationery shop and first circulating library, were later buried alongside Hawdon.
Several Chaffey family members are also buried in the adjacent cemetery. After giving birth to her fifth child, Maurice, on 18 September 1889, WB's first wife Mrs Hattie Chaffey contracted pleurisy. She died on 6 October 1889 and was buried near the Homestead Cemetery. An article in The Mildura Cultivator described the local community's reaction to Hattie's death:
'She is spoken of with affection by all who came in contact with her or had the privilege of her friendship and acquaintance and it is probable many of her acts of kindness would never have been known but for her untimely death which has left all free to speak of her admirable character and qualities.'
Maurice died soon after his mother and he and three other Chaffey infants were buried in the cemetery. George and WB Chaffey's mother, Ann Maria Chaffey, died from illness and was interred in the homestead graveyard on 23 April 1903.
Did you know?
- WB Chaffey erected a magnificent granite monument to honour his young wife Hattie Schell. It now bears the names of those who died after her, including two children from his second marriage, as well as his own mother, Ann Maria Chaffey
- The small grave marked 'A.W.' stands for Arthur Waddingham, son of Chaffey's forman
- Both of WB Chaffey's wives were called Hattie Schell. The second Mrs Chaffey, niece of the first, is sometimes known as Hattie (Heather) Sexton Schell to distinguish her.
What is here today!
The Mildura Homested Cemetery actually consists of two adjacent graveyards. The earliest containing the graves of Joseph Hawdon and the other where the Chaffey women are buried.
In 1998 Antonia Chaffey, artist and great-granddaughter of WB Chaffey and Hattie Schell, offered to design a cemetery upgrade and beautification around the burial site of her female ancestors.
Works began in 1999 and were completed in 2004, with the aid of funding from State and local bodies.
Antonia also designed a commemorative garden, granite sculpture and observation seat to commemorate the lives of all the pioneering women of the region.
Indigenous plant species and sculptural elements symbolise the strength and courage of these women. Advice was also sought from Aboriginal elders regarding the significance of this area. With permission, shells from nearby middens were used to restore the headstone of the small grave inscribed only with 'A.W'.
'Rising from below', these shells remind us of the previous inhabitants of this land.
In Antonia's words, the garden 'pays homage to all the women of the region whose contribution to society must not be forgotten'. The observation seat inscribed with the words 'MEMENTO MATREM' asks us to 'Remember the Mother'.
Telephone 03 5018 8330 • (GPS Co-ordinates X=606,878 Y=6,218,728)
1. The Old Mildura Station Homestead ♦ 2. Mildura Homestead Cemetery ♦ 3. Rio Vista Historic House
4. Lock 11 & Mildura Weir ♦ 5. Mildura Wharf ♦ 6. Mildura Grand Hotel ♦ 7. Psyche Bend Pump Station ♦ 8. Chateau Mildura ♦ 9. Merbein
10. Further Links of the Chaffey Story ♦ The Chaffey Trail ♦ The Chaffey Trail Map
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