Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Queen Victoria Market was a Cemetery!

Hi V ... Next time you buy apples at Queen Victoria Market spare a thought for the dearly departed! Did you know the Queen Victoria Market used to be a cemetery?  A small fading plaque on the ground beside a granite monument adjacent to the market is all that remains.  It states: -
"PASSAGE commemorates the Old Melbourne General Cemetery, which was located on this site between 1837 and 1917.  The illustration is based on an 1865 map.  In 1878 the market expanded and took up the land between Victoria Street and Fulton Street, three quarters of the Jewish allotment and all the Society of Friends and Aborignal Allotments. 
Between 1920 and 1924, 914 bodies were exhumed and re-interred in other cemeteries around Melbourne.  By 1936 the Queen Victoria Market expanded to take up the entire Old Melbourne Cemetery Site."
Shared with Taphophile Tragics.

15 comments:

  1. I am surprised that there is a special section for aboriginal people! That could have revealed some very interesting stories!

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  2. Wow, that must have been a big project to move all those graves! There is no end to what people will do to make money Joe!

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  3. I've been to the markets quite a few times but never realised it's situated on an old cemetery site ... What a mammoth task it must have been re-locating the graves.

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  4. Interesting. At least they moved the people.

    Beneath Thy Feet

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    1. Only some of them. I am rather sure that my Great-great-grandfather is still buried there. He died in 1850 and lived in central Melbourne. That was the burial place for Melbournians at that time. I don't believe that his family would have been able to afford a headstone, or certainly not one robust enough to last the distance. Hence my belief that he is still under the Market.

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  5. So does this mean that the bodies of the aboriginal and the poor and some of the Jews were not re-interred, but left under the market? I find it interesting that the market would have chosen that particular spot to begin with. But I guess if the land is valuable enough...

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    1. There are said to be 9000 bodies still buried there. Only 1000 bodies were moved, as many were unmarked or indecipherable. I believe that my Great-great Grandfather is still buried there.

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  6. What an interesting bit of history, Joe. I would love to know more about that time and the decision to move the bodies.

    Bises,
    Genie

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  7. 914 bodies is not a lot of bodies to move. When cemeteries have been closed in Sydney, tens of thousands of bodies were in the cemeteries, but far fewer were moved, eg the closure and removal of the Devonshire St Cemetery around 1900 to make way for Central Station which opened im 1906. And across that site (east to west) runs the Devonshire Tunnel. I have beeen on an excursion that traipses througt the myriad of tunnels beneath Central. I would love to read a history of the building of Central, if there has been one written. I have to go to Central on Friday, so shall look in the Heritage shop on the concourse.

    Yes, I knew this market was on top of a cemetery. But cities grow. Sydney Town Hall was on top of a cemetery too.

    I love love love the apples ...

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    1. Thanks Julie. I thought the apples brightened the image up a tad.

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  8. Really interesting Joe, I have a feeling there may be a few situations like this that may never have been marked in any way.

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  9. hmm, i like apples..
    did they move the graves one by one or did they make a big plot out of it?

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    1. They were moved to several other cemeteries. And only those that could be identified (readable gravestones).... so one by one I would presume, including John Batman.

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