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Cemetery Reef Gully

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Mount Street, Chewton VIC 3451

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Features

  • Early gold rush cemetery
The early gold rush cemetery at Cemetery Reef Gully lies beneath rolling hills in a scenic setting which overlooks the heart of the historical Forest Creek Diggings. This cemetery was used for a brief period in the 1850s, during the early years of the Mount Alexander gold rush. It sits above a gully that drains directly into Forest Creek, which ultimately made this location unsuitable due to the effects it had on the hygiene of the diggers who lived and worked along the creek. 

The Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery lies in a small fenced field along Mount Street in Chewton. The cemetery is acccessed by a gate in the corner alongside the road. 

Multiple grave stones and mounds are visible, along with a fallen headstone.

The Victorian Heritage Database provides the following information on the cemetery at Cemetery Reef Gully:

Primary historical records on the cemetery in Cemetery Reef Gully are scant. Its origins lie with the great Mount Alexander alluvial goldrush of 1851-54. Like the other small cemeteries linked to this rush, the Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery would have closed c.1857. The cemetery is situated at the head of a gully that drains directly into Forest Creek. Gold seekers, in the frenzy for gold, chose a convenient patch of ground where gold was unlikely to be found, but one which was totally unsuitable in terms of the affect it had on the hygiene of those working and living along Forest Creek.

The Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria. The Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery is historically important due to its association with a key event in Victoria's Report generated 07/09/20 history and a defining moment in the development of Australia's character and culture. The cemetery is associated with the first significant rush to the district. The Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery is historically and scientifically important as a very rare artefact of Victoria's greatest gold rush.

A comprehensive archaeological survey of the Castlemaine district undertaken in 1989 concluded that ' because of the ephemeral nature of structures and technology (predominantly, timber and human sweat) employed in the early gold-rush days there is little physical evidence of the intensity of activity and cathartic social experience sustained by the study area during the rush years'. The significance of this site is also derived from its setting: the cemetery overlooking the heart of the Forest Creek diggings and the township of Chewton.

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