The Events of the Centenary Weekend


After a breakfast at the Barbecue from 7 am, people moved by various transport means (foot, horses, coaches, wagons, cars, caravans and buses) to the Gilgunnia Cemetery ground for the Ecumenical Church Service conducted by the Reverend Rob Rutzou. He had flown into Gilgunnia on Easter Friday in his Parish aircraft which he uses to visit many out of the way places to conduct services and offer comfort to his parishioners.

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Above: Rev. Rutzou welcomes the ecumenical congregation.
Right: Rev. Rutzou delivers his re-consecration sermon.
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There is no doubt that his congregration welcomed his words and readings and joined in the singing of hymns in this beautiful setting. He performed the re-consecration of the Gilgunnia Cemetery grounds, arranged the unveiling of the plaque listing the names of those in the Cemetery and opened the new gateway which had been constructed for this Centenary celebration.

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Left: The Plaque mounted on local diorite stone,
listing those buried in the Cemetery.
Above: The new Centenary Memorial Gateway with two stalwarts
Mrs Joy Prisk of Cobar, daughter of Fred Eves of Gilgunnia,
and Colin Jones, then Curator, Cobar Regional Museum.

The Cemetery Plaque gives a list of those who were known to have been buried in the Gilgunnia Cemetery. Besides this list there are others who are known to have been buried in the vicinity of the Cemetery or in old Gilgunnia. In the Table below, we give the names listed on the Plaque, buried in the actual Cemetery area. There are, sadly, many infants, together with some young people and adults whose ages span up to 80 years. One marble headstone to the little girl, Lillian May Rostron, is still present with its clear engraving, surrounded by its paling fencing. The Aboriginal man, Jacky, became famous in Old Gilgunnia because it was he who discovered a gold nugget at the site where diggings are still visible. Thus began New Gilgunnia and its gold diggings in April 1895.

Burials at Gilgunnia Cemetery

COLE, Thelma Easter Adeline d. 1.11.1901, aged 6m.
EASON, Charles d. 11.12.1895, aged 34y.
ENGLISH, Edward d. 7.7.1905, aged 72y.
ENGLISH, Sarah d. 1.6.1905, aged 77y.
FINN, Ethel Myra d. 6.12.1895, aged 9m.
FINN, Richard Dennis d. 31.3.1896, aged 40h.
GOVERS, John d. 25.6.1896, aged 10d.
HARRINGTON, Julia Ann d. 9.1.1896, aged 8m.
JACKY d. 18.4.1906, Aboriginal, no age.
MacQUEEN, Lachlan d. 6.9.1909, aged 51y.
McLOUGHLIN, John d. 10.6.1896, aged 49y.
MITCHELL, Lilian d.2.5.1896, aged 16m.
MORGAN, John d. 14.2.1895, aged 34y.
MOODY, Baby d. 30.8.1895, aged 5h.
PRESTON, Margaret Christina d. 1.9.1895, aged 15m.
PRESTON, Venona Beatrice d. 20.11.1896, aged 16m.
ROSTRON, Lillian May d. 3.3.1913, aged 2y.8m.
SIEGEL, Beryl Elaine d. 18.1.1906, aged 4m.10d.
SIEGEL, Valerette Isabel d. 18.11.1905, aged 2m.10d.
TOBIN, David d. 3.10.1895, aged 60y.
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There are other people who were buried near the Cemetery site before its original consecration. One important person is Henry Kruge who was buried in 1888 not far from the old Gilgunnia Hotel. He and his wife Sidwell were the founders of all that became Gilgunnia, as we describe elsewhere. Another is Sydwell Trevallin, niece of Sidwell Kruge, who was visiting from South Australia and was drowned in the large water tank of the hotel in 1881.

Known Burials at Gilgunnia

AKHURST, Julian James d. 27.9.1885, aged 61y.
CLARKE, James d. 27.11.1886, aged 80y.
JOHNSON, Earnest Albert Strickland d. 28.11.1888, aged 11m.
JOHNSON, Herbert Michael Henry d. 11.10.1886, aged 2y.6m.
KRUGE, Henry d. 27.2.1888, aged 54y.
McDONALD, Alice May d. 2.6.1894, aged 6d.
PRESTON, Archibald Bolton d. 14.2.1892, aged 11w.3d.
PRESTON, Bruce Alexander d. 6.2.1892, aged 2m.3w.
TREVALLIN, Sydwell d. 1.12.1881, aged 19y.10m.

Many of the congregation at the Ecumenical Service were descendants of people who had lived in Gilgunnia and nearby. They were accompanied by many children who were delighted to be able to discover something about their forebears. There were also many of people who had connections with the area as a result of mining groups which were founded, coach lines which served the area, shopkeepers who served the area with goods and services and so on. The exchange of stories was a fascinating part of the preliminaries to the service and afterwards, when the recounting of tales continued.

The full story of Sidwell Woolcocks - The Bal Gal is available from the Menu List. It is an Adobe Reader file of the story as told by Dr John Symonds at the Kernewek Lowender Festival in Kadina SA in 2005.