Monday, 15 September 2014

A visit to the cemetery

Yesterday was a glorious spring day. My husband, devoted dog, and I visited the cemetery at Avoca.

In July this year at the Ballarat and District Genealogical Society I heard an excellent talk about World War 1 commemoration in Ballarat cemeteries  by Barry Snowden, a trustee of the Ballarat Cemeteries Trust. To date over 940 men who served in World War 1 have been identified as buried or memorialised in Ballarat cemeteries. About 400 of their graves are maintained by the Office of the Australian War Graves Commission. Snowden's project which is expected to result in a book about the men remembered in the Ballarat cemeteries.

My visit yesterday was not systematic and did not cover all of the cemetery.

My exceedingly observant husband and I found the following men buried or memorialised at the cemetery:

  • Hartigan, Clarence Victor. Killed in France aged 20 years.

  • The rifle is a Lee-Enfield .303, used by British troops from 1895 to 1957, in both the Boer War and the First World War.

    The funeral of Clarence Hartigan's brother Michael was reported in the Argus:

    FUNERAL OF A RETURNED. SOLDIER. (1901, August 13). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from

    The memorial headstone was erected in 1903.

    SOUTH AFRICA. (1903, January 20). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 5. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from

  • Leersen, Albert Henry , 39th Battalion, died 6 September 1952. Area: Protestant Section: A 3 6 Grave: 643

  • Lindsay, Frank, 9867, 22nd Battalion, died 11 August 1958. Area: Roman Catholic Section: D 3 5 Grave: 704

  • Robinson, Robert Webster, 21st Battalion, died 14 April 1972.

  • Wrigley, John Aloysius, 3300 58th Battalion, died 2 September 1948. Area: Roman Catholic Section: DD 2 3 Grave: 608

Some graves were erected and maintained by the Office of Australian War Graves (OAWG), others were private. One was a memorial only. Nearly all the bodies of Australians who died overseas during World War I were not repatriated.

The OAWG erects and maintains graves where the death is attributable to war service. The Avoca cemetery has 21 graves for which the OAWG has arranged official commemoration. Of these 16 are for men who served in World War I. Two or three of these 16 probably are buried in Avoca, Tasmania rather than Avoca, Victoria. There are others of the 16 who were not associated with the Avoca district during the war.

Service number Year of death Grave location
DRIVER William Henry
1915 Area: Protestant
HENDERSON Charles 6819 1955 Area: Protestant
MITCHELL Thomas Trebilcock 955 1969 Area: Protestant
NICHOLSON William G 3845 1920 Area: Protestant
LEERSEN Albert Henry 1861 1952 Area: Protestant Section: A 3 6 Grave: 643
GREENWOOD Harold James 1852 1930 Area: Protestant Section: A 7 14 Grave: 428
WILSON George Lancelot 4641 1937 Area: Protestant Section: A 8 16 Grave: 487
JARDINE William Edward 2772 1954 Area: Protestant Section: B 11 3 Grave: 540
BARNETT Maurice 6712 1948 Area: Protestant Section: B 13 7 Grave: 605
HENDERSON John Hamilton
1915 Area: Protestant Section: CC 1 2 Grave: 291
LINDSAY Frank 9867 1958 Area: Roman Catholic Section: D 3 5 Grave: 704
WRIGLEY John Aloysius 3300 1948 Area: Roman Catholic Section: DD 2 3 Grave: 608
HUMPHREY William J 1721 1934 Area: Unden Section: C Grave: 486
BADKIN Sydney 1792 1963 Unknown – maybe Avoca,Tasmania
PYKE Henry James 5163 1966 Unknown – maybe Avoca,Tasmania
VINEY Louis Gordon 25 1953 Unknown – maybe Avoca,Tasmania