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Blackwood Cemetery

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Byres Road, Blackwood VIC 3458

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  • Historic cemetery
  • Beautiful views
  • Little Doatys Grave
The Blackwood Cemetery is a fascinating place to stroll through, situated atop a grassy hill with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. 

Notable features of the Blackwood Cemetery include multiple Chinese graves (located at the rear of the cemetery), a gazebo with an information sign, and the interesting 19th century grave of "Little Doaty". 

Little Doaty's grave sits right alongside the entrance gate and is adorned with colourful decorations. This is the grave of four year old Josephine Rowan, who died of diphtheria in 1878 - an all-too-common fate for children of the gold rush.

The information sign at Blackwood Cemetery displays the following text:

Welcome to the Blackwood Cemetery

Welcome to the Blackwood Cemetery. It has been a burial site since 1855, when gold attracted thousands of people to the area. It was officially recognised in 1860. Earlier burials almost certainly took place amongst the diggings in the surrounding hills; most are now lost to time and, unfortunately, to any hopeful ancestry researcher. A celebrated exception is the grave of Isaac Povey, which sits atop Deadmans Hill. 

Blackwood Cemetery provides a wealth of evidence about life in the Gold Rush period. People from all over the world were drawn to the area. A substantial number of Chinese graves sit at the rear of the cemetery, while those on the main grounds are generally grouped by religious denomination. Life expectancy on the 1800's goldfield was low, as children were especially vulnerable to disease and the adults engaged in constantly hazardous work. 

Many visitors are curious about the grave of 'Little Doaty', which sits prominently at the entrance gates. It is the resting place of young Josephine Rowan, who died in 1878 from the then-common disease of Diptheria. 'Doaty' is most likely a child's rendering of the name Josie. 

We  hope you enjoy your visit to the Blackwood Cemetery. We ask you to keep to the pathways out of respect for those interred in these plots, as half the graves here are unmarked. Many of the souls memorialised here came to this area with high hopes of making their fortune. Some did, most didn't. Here lie the rich and poor, the famous and the infamous. All made their unique mark. Now and forever, they rest together in what we believe is the most picturesque of Victorian cemeteries. 

Research by Margot Hitchcock



  • Many cemeteries in the goldfields were established in the early-mid 19th century. Walking through the historic cemeteries of the area is like taking a walk through time.


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Margot Hitchcock
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