Tuesday 24 January 2012


John Batman bought the Northcote land from the Jaga Jaga tribe but the treaty was later declared invalid.  The top half of Northcote was sold to speculators in 1839.   Farmers along the more fertile upper reaches of the Merri Creek, Darebin Creek and the Yarra River supplied food for the growing city of Melbourne.  The surveyed township of Northcote was laid out in 1853, when there were just a dozen houses in the area.  By 1861 there were 170 houses.  Mansions and larger homes were established on Northcote Hill by the wealthy classes; a series of shops and hotels were constructed on major routes; and industries such as the Northcote Brick Company established in the early 1880's developed in the area.

A number of German immigrants settled in Northcote in the early 1850's.  Seven Germans bought blocks of land in Separation Street (named in honour of Victoria's independence from New South Wales), and they mostly settled on the flat land at the bottom of Northcote Hill.  The Germans were a close-knit community who wanted to preserve their national identity in a new country.  The 1901 census reveals that there were 77 German-born residents in Northcote. The Old Cemetery is located in Separation Street and is now wedged between houses and the All Nations Park at the rear.  The small rectangular cemetery is hidden away behind a one-metre red brick wall.  Entry is through a wrought iron pedestrian gate and vehicle gates supported by brick pillars.  This structure appears to have been erected in the 1960's.  The layout is structured around a central drive which runs from the entrance in Separation Street.

The records of initial burials are not available, but it would appear reasonable to that the earliest burials occurred in the 1860's.  Many graves bear names like Müller and Schwaebsh, although other nationalities are represented.  The earliest receipt book for burial fees commences on 10 February 1899.  The available records indicate fairly regular use of the cemetery up to about 1940.  There have been approximately 200 burials.  The cemetery has been closed since 1908, except for the holders of the right of burial.  The last burial was in 1971.  The Northcote City Council took-over the management of the cemetery in the 1920's, assuming all costs. Considerable works have made this cemetery a well-maintained and pleasant historic place. 

This post is part of Our World Tuesday meme, and


  1. I like these old graveyards.

  2. Interesting how this cemetery seems to be snuggled into the community living close by! It is a little like this at Mornington Cemetery! Also, there seem to be rows of garden beds dividing the gravestones!

  3. Looks well cared for and some beautiful plants/flowers.

  4. What a lovely old graveyard, Nick, and your captures are wonderful! It does indeed look well care for and I love all the beautiful flowers and plants! Hope you have a great week!


  5. It is lovely, I like the way its laid out like a Garden.

  6. Neat and well tendered Nick! I love to see these cemeteries which were once an integral part of city communities.

  7. Our burial plots aren't laid out like this - I like the little gardens with each one.

  8. I find cemeteries to be a great place to gain some historical insight. This is a nice piece of history, Nick.

  9. It almost looks like a community garden rather than a cemetery.

  10. What lovely captures of mood and life, life in all forms.

  11. Very interesting story and history. I also love to photograph cemeteries, one in particular is the Hollywood Forever where movie actors and actresses are buried.

    Your photos show clarity and vividness.

  12. Such a peaceful place. Lovely shots.

  13. I tend to agree with Carolyn, Nick, that Old Northcote Cemetery, at first blush, could be mistaken for a community garden. As an aside, is there a 'New Northcote Cemetery'?

    In the images you show, there is an egalitarian streak to the graves laid out. As though noone wants to bignote themselves by being grander, higher, and closer to god (God).

    The red and white flowers, the clipped bushes, and the lawns are a delight.

    I also thank you for the history you have included. I like that aspect of many of the contributions to this meme. I love the concept of 'Separation Street'. Such a quaint expression.

    Grand post, Nick. Much appreciated.

    1. Hi Julie, as you may have read re the cemetery, it was opened in the early days and in it, eternally rest the early German settlers of Northcote. In answer to your question about if there is a 'new' cemetery at Northcote, the answer is no, there isn't.

      These days, if you reside in the Northcote area, (and have the misfortune to die), then it is most likely you would be laid to rest in nearby (abt. 5 or so km's North at Fawkner, or if you've bought a mausaleum plot at the Melbourne General Cemetery or Preston cemetery, then in either of these cemeteries).

      Hope this helps your enquiry.

      Geoff. (Current Thornbury and ex-Northcote resident)

  14. I love cemeteries of all kinds. Glad you got to explore (and share) this one. You have some very nice shots.

  15. Amazing headstones -- surprisingly thin. A lovely place.


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