• Date: 31/07/2012
  • Cemetery: Werribee Cemetery
The Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (GMCT) will employ ground penetrating radar technology as it works to establish the history and use of one of Victoria's oldest and significant cemeteries, Werribee Cemetery.   The GMCT has teamed with GBG Australia Pty Ltd who will carry out the radar investigation on various sections of the 150 year old Werribee Cemetery on Thursday 2 August, 2012.   The historic cemetery is one of 18 cemeteries under the care of the GMCT and dates back to the mid-nineteenth century, with its earliest known graves dating between 1850 and 1865.   In the 1950's a fire at the cemetery's records office destroyed valuable historic volumes which held the details of burials and plot locations between the cemetery's official establishment on 10 October 1864 and 1909.   The GMCT's Client Services Manager - West, Tanya Tabone said the research is part of the Trust's conservation strategy to make sure Werribee Cemetery is properly recorded, grave sites are recognised and that local history is protected.   "We know that burials took place in the cemetery between 1864 and 1909. These are our lost years," Ms Tabone said.  "Surviving records also suggest that the site had been used for a number of burials prior to being gazetted as a cemetery."   "Recent exploratory digs have revealed previously unmapped burial sites we suspect date back to the early settlement of Werribee."   "A mobile radar unit will be used to probe below the surface, down a depth of around two metres. The equipment will work across sections of the cemetery, painstakingly compiling metre-wide bands of data."   "The ground penetrating radar will be looking for coffin-shaped disturbances in the levels of soil about 900 mm below the surface."   "It is the GMCT's hope that the use of radar technology will assist us in creating a more complete 'map' of the cemetery and unearth the lost chapter in the history of the Werribee community," Ms Tabone said.   The GMCT is in the process of establishing a Werribee Cemetery Friends Group and will collaborate with Wyndham City Council and the local community on the progress of the research.   ENDS   Download a PDF copy of the media release here