An eight acre allotment of land was set aside for
cemetery purposes during the 1850s when the first
surveys were made for a Berwick township. An early
1858 map of the Township of Berwick, prepared by
the Public Lands Office in Melbourne, shows the cemetery
allotment close to the town's northern boundary. A
later 1871 map of Town and Suburban Lots at Berwick,
surveyed by M. Callanan, shows the cemetery site bounded
by Inglis and Buchanan Roads. It is located on the
north side of Allotment 10, known at first as the
Berwick Recreation Ground and from 1978 as the Arch
As with other rural cemeteries, the Berwick Cemetery is
a memorial to 'the rigours and difficulties of country
living - virtually every burial ground has reminders of
people who perished under harsh
The earliest graves at Berwick include that of George
Moore, a 60 year old labourer who died in 1867, and
children from the pioneer Brisbane, Buchanan and Wilson
families who died in 1868.
The story of hardship and
suffering in those early days is also told in the large
number of stillborn babies listed in Berwick Cemetery
records. The graves of members of the Paternoster
family last century included William Simon (6 weeks) in
1888, William (5 years) in 1896, Rensalier (8 months) in
1897, and Jack (11 months) in late 1899. Young
Mrs. John Paternoster, who died earlier in 1899, may
have been Jack's mother. However, many settlers
survived into their sixties, seventies and eighties.
The oldest death recorded in these records was that of
Catherine Buchanan, who was buried in July 1902 aged
Graves of notable resident include those of storekeeper
William Brisbane; hotelkeeper Robert Bain; and Dr. Elmes,
as well as various members of the Greaves, Kelly,
O'Connor, Robinson, Vieusseux and Barr families.
There are a number of German names in the Independent
compartment of the cemetery such as Warmbrunn and Meyer,
recalling the German Lutheran families who came to the
district early last century. Other compartments
set aside for Anglicans, Methodists and Presbyterians
are reminders of the important role played by these
denominations in Berwick's early history.
Located at the corner of
Buchanan and Inglis Roads, the cemetery can be entered
from either road; the Buchanan Road entry has wrought
iron gates with timber gate posts. The cemetery
has been divided into compartments separating the
different denominations, each identified by ornate cast
iron markers. The area is planted with melaleuca
and eucalypt species. An octagonal shelter with
timber frame and simple bracketing and balustrade, and
two timber stores are built features of the site.
Today the cemetery covers an area of approximately 3.24
hectares and is managed by the Berwick Cemetery Trust.
Australia's first Olympic champion, Edwin Flack,
owned and operated a dairy farm in Berwick and his final
resting place is in the Berwick Cemetery.
In the Athens 1896 Olympic Games, the first Olympic
Games of the modern era, Edwin Flack won the 800 metre
and 1500 metre athletic events. Flack was one of the
most popular athletes at the 1896 Games and became
fondly known as the 'Lion of Athens'.