|Corner Arthur and Rattray Streets|
Otago New Zealand
Postal Code: 9016
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Has also been referred to as York Place Cemetery, and Rattray Street Cemetery.
Arthur Street Cemetery was the first cemetery in Dunedin, New Zealand. It is at the corner of Arthur Street and Rattray Street, overlooking the city's centre. The first burial at the site was of surveyor's labourer James Campbell, buried on October 29, 1846, over a year before the settlement of Dunedin was founded in 1848.
The cemetery served the young settlement until the early 1860s, when the rapid expansion of Dunedin due to the Central Otago Gold Rush made its location inconvenient. The cemetery became an embarrassment to the city as it was not maintained and some remains were relocated. In 1879 all remaining bodies in the cemetery re-interred into one large plot which formed a central mound. A monument (an obelisk modelled on London's Cleopatra's Needle) was erected in 1880. All that remains today of this cemetery is the monument set in a park-like area with swings and see-saws. The monument is supposed to record the names of those buried in the large mass grave, but even as early as 1880 it was suggested that the monument did not record all those still interred in the cemetery. Many of those were children, and several were people who died and were buried at sea on their way to New Zealand.
Main Plaque Transcription:
This Monument was erected in the year A.D. 1880 by the Corporation of the City of Dunedin in memory of a number of early settlers whose remains were interred here, and whose names so far as known, are recorded on this obelisk.
Newer plaque transcription:
Dedicated to the memory of those children who died at sea and their grieving parents in the course of the settlement of these southern lands
"....... and in a moment the gentle form that had been fondly clasped in a mother's and a father's bosom was plunged beneath the waves." - Isabella Bonthron "Helenslee" 1863
Erected by the Otago Settlers Association 23 March 2001
George M. Proudfoot
Janet W. Williamson
Thomas S. Watson
John Boyle Todd
George B. McGill
Agnes Jane McGill
Sophia Louisa Borrow
John T, Martin