Crosses on unmarked graves

Back from left: Dorothy Stubbs Mills, Doug Stubbs-Mills, Gil Daw, Rosalin Trethewey, Anthea Taylor, Chris Ward, Bev Ward, Jane Pendlebury, Jayne Bates, Joyce Holt, Ted Botham, Peter Denholm, Bev Willson, Hartley WillsonFront from left: Janet Haywood, John Haywood, Doug Willson, Sandy Brown, Beatrice Wilson, David Wilson, Lyn Firminger, Errol Firminger.On Sunday November 2, an historic ceremonytook place in Penneshaw Cemetery,with the dedication of 65 white crossesbearing the names of deceased, on whatwere previously unmarked graves.

Visitors came from the island community,Adelaide and Melbourne to witness theceremony, with Gil Daw, president ofthePioneersAssociation welcoming everyone.“One of the core objectives was to preserveKI history,” he said.

In 2011, Kangaroo Island celebrated its175th anniversary of the landing of the firstofficial white settlers to South Australia.

At that time, a number of commentswere made regarding the state of the Penneshawcemetery, indicating that many old wooden grave markers had disappeared orwere randomly found on the ground.

As a result, KIPA decided to launch aproject to replace markers, and identify theburial locations of the deceased, many ofwhom were pioneers.

Mr Daw thanked Chris Ward who hadtaken on the task of research, and KIPAwas supported financially by donationsfrom Kangaroo Island Funerals, individualsand descendants of the deceased, and agrant from the Foundation for Rural andRegional Renewal.

Chris Ward and Jayne Bates during the moving ceremony.

Mr Daw thanked Kangaroo IslandCouncil and staff for their assistance installingthe crosses.

He also thanked KIPA patron VickieChapman MP who was unable to attend,and retiring Mayor Jayne Bates for her support.Councillor Peter Denholm and directorof business support, Ted Bothamwitnessed the ceremony as well.

Sandy Brown, well-known local historianand Uniting Church lay-preacher,listed the names of the grave-sites thatwere marked by the new crosses.

He explained that the deceased representedall walks of life, with ages rangingfrom infancy to 98 years, with the first childhaving been interred 134 years ago.

They came from the Dudley Peninsula,including Penneshaw and outlying areas.Sandy also mentioned Betty Thomas, an indigenouswoman, who was brought to the islandpre-official white settlement by thesealers.

Betty and Nat Thomas have a numberof living descendants.

Mr Brown welcomed Lyn and ErrolFirminger, who had travelled from Melbourne.

Lyn and Errol Firminger at the grave site of relatives.

Ms Firminger is the great, great, greatgrand-daughter of Donald McArthur, whowas assistant lighthouse keeper at CapeWilloughby in 1860, and subsequently, afarmer in the district.

Donald is the oldest known person to beburied in the cemetery. Sandy dedicatedthe new white crosses, and thanked God forthe peoples’ lives and the pioneering rolesthey played.

Jayne Bates, whose relatives wereamong those to receive white crosses, said“congratulations to the KangarooIslandPioneersAssociation. It was the ‘best project’that added huge importance to the peoplewho have gone before us, that helped shapeour community today”.

Others who attended the ceremony,whose relatives’ graves bear the new whitecrosses included

Coralie Brown (related to all the Batesand Chenoweth families and great aunts,Martha Davidson and Martha Bainbridge);Anthea Taylor (related to Robert Barr Taylor);Bev Ward (both of Bev’s great, greatgrandparents, Thomas Johnston and hiswife Eliza); Bev Willson (related to EllenWillson); and Rosalin Trethewey (whosegreat grandfather was Captain JamesRichard Murray and his wife Mary Ann).

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