Early Cemeteries Help Plot Our History

Article excerpt

Byline: LOCAL HISTORY margaret henderson

THERE are 461 names listed of people who have been buried in the old North Lismore Cemetery.

The first recorded burial was of George Lumley in 1860, and the last was of Daphne Marwood Allen (nee Mackay) in 1948. Daphne was the daughter of Edward W Mackay, one of Lismore's earliest auctioneers.

She is buried with other members of the Mackay family. Most burials occurred before 1908, when the East Lismore Cemetery was opened. Barham Street Cemetery in Lismore was also being used at least as early as 1884, and continued to be until the middle of the 20th Century. However, most of the people buried there were Catholic.

Unfortunately, we do not have a complete listing of burials in any of these cemeteries and are very dependent on information mainly from surviving headstones. Local government did not take control of cemeteries until the 1960s. As many families could not afford a headstone, many names are now lost to us.

In other cases a headstone might have been provided for a lost spouse, and when the surviving spouse died he or she would be buried with their wife/husband. Details of the second burial may not have been added to the original headstone, especially if there was no surviving family.

Some idea of the number of these unrecorded burials can be obtained from looking at the numbers of deaths registered in Lismore up to 1918. A total of 5016 names are listed, which includes a small number of duplications. As well, there would have been registrations of Lismore residents at Grafton, Tabulam, Ipswich, and Ballina.

For most of this period there was only one registration centre for the whole district, so it is difficult to say from these records how many people were actually buried in Lismore. However, it seems likely that there were quite a few more buried at North Lismore than the 461 names we have.

In 1984, Meg Timbrell undertook a detailed study of the North Lismore Cemetery as part of her UNE Local History Diploma. …