New Zealand has many lost or hidden cemeteries. We’re going to see which ones we can find.
Lower Hutt’s High St is one of the busiest. Most people driving into town, however, never know they are driving past one of the original graveyards and the original settlers buried there.
The Knox Presbyterian Church, just down from Hutt Hospital used to be the site of the Blackbridge Cemetery - now there is a garden and two memorial stones.
The church, which began in 1840, opened its first building in 1858 and burials took place in the late 1800’s.
But after difficulty maintaining the cemetery it was decided to remove all the headstones and monuments and create a small garden with a memorial.
No bodies were moved.
Many of the immigrants were from Scotland, but there were others from India, England, Ireland and France.
Buried there are Alexander Dalgety and members of his family. Dalgety, who arrived in 1841, was one of the original purchasers of the church ground.
George Stratton was found dying on the ground near the hospital in pouring rain and at an inquest he was found to have died of “apoplexy by exposure to cold and rain.” Most of his family are also buried there, including his wife Sarah.
Others include Peter Bruce, involved in setting up a public school in Taita, stood for the Hutt River Board several times, and is named on a plaque in the church as one of the founders.
Robert McCulloch and his wife Euphemia who arrived in 1852. Robert helped set up the Taita school. The couple, along with their daughter Catherine are named as founders of the congregation.
Also there are George McIlvride, blacksmith, farrier and district licensing commissioner and Rev John Hope, who formerly opened the church in 1890.
The last recorded burial was in 1913.
However a recent memorial stone also includes those connected with the church who had permission to have their ashes scattered there.
Do you know about a “hidden” cemetery. Let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can find out.
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