The Ballaarat Old Cemetery
Ballarat's first public cemetery was gazetted on the 25th February 1856, the first trustees having been appointed in mid 1854. The first official cemetery burial took place on the 20th May 1856. However, records show that burials took place in the vicinity of the old cemetery from the late 1840's, several years prior to the discovery of gold. The site of the old cemetery which covers 7ha (18 acres) is situated 1.5 kilometres from the city centre and 0.5 kilometre from Lake Wendouree. The cemetery is rich in Ballarat's history as many burials were early settlers who were looking to make their fortune on the goldfields. Two important monuments in Australian history were erected following from the armed insurrection of 1854 - The Eureka uprising.
The Eureka diggers' monument was erected in 1856. Later in 1879, a monument was erected by the government of Victoria in memory of the officers and soldiers who died as a result of the uprising. Situated in the centre of the cemetery, surrounded by grand and simple monuments, is the original rotunda built in 1892.
The Rotunda has been restored to its original splendour and is now used as the cemeteries' official monogram. Cemetery records show 35,000 interments have taken place since 1856, 18,000 prior to 1884. Today there are very few new graves available.
The 1920 gatehouse building was restored in 1997 and houses a wealth of historical information regarding Eureka uprising and Ballarat's early generations. With the installation of a touch screen computer, community access to family grave information is readily available.