Evatt Unmarked Cemetery
On 12 May 1861 St Paul's Church of England was opened on Ginninderra Station, it was part of 200 acres donated by Charles Campbell from his Ginninderra property to the church. One acre was to be used for the church building and two acres for a Church of England burial ground. The remaining 197 acres were to be used as a rural lease to support and maintain the church and grounds. (This is known as a glebe) The Cameron family, Donald and Ann and their children from Scotland were the lessees of The Glebe from 1850 till the late 1880’s.
The church was small, measuring 5 metres by 9 metres with a 2.5 metre square porch. It was constructed in part of slab and weatherboard and, in part, of lath and plaster, with bellcote, Gothic windows and a shingle roof. When the church building was completed it acted also as a schoolhouse.
The Church stood on the hilltop with the cemetery extending down the hillside. The building was in constant need of repair but managed to serve the Anglican community of Ginninderra for some forty years.
There are 18 European burials known to have taken place at the St Paul's Burial Ground between 1872 and 1900. A commemorative plaque listing their names was placed on the site by the Southwell Family Society in 1995. Unfortunately, there is no known map showing the location of the burial plots, nor can the list be confirmed as being complete.
The first known burial was that of Ralph Edge who was interred on 9 September, 1872. Although unconfirmed, an earlier burial may have been that of a person by the name of Ryan on 4 September 1865, four years after the church was opened. The last burial in the cemetery was that of two year old Charlotte Eliza Stear who was drowned in a well near her home on 19 September 1900.
There is also the possibility that at least two Aboriginal people were buried in the grounds of the cemetery. The area on the northern bank of Ginninderra Creek (the southern boundary of the original glebe) was a common gathering place for Aboriginal people, particularly in times of drought when the creek flow would fail. There was a permanent pond in this section of the creek near where the present Melba shops are now located.
In 1904 the church was closed and the cemetery was no longer used. The cemetery had been fenced but it was not enough to stop the deterioration and vandalism of the graves and the grave markers.
By 1970 there was very little left of the cemetery other than the corner posts of the fence and stone from one of the graves. The growth of the Belconnen suburb of Evatt in the 1970s resulted in residential and road development impinging into the cemetery area.
Photo: St. Pauls Church of England
Tales and Legends of Canberra Pioneers by Samuel Shumack: AA7/17/04
Hall School Museum/Rediscovering Ginninderra Portal: Cameron Snr, Donald
Evatt Unmarked Cemetery
Church Memorial Plaque
St Pauls Church