Maria Island cemetery from a distance (the grey rectangle in the middle of the photo). For location context: Darlington is in the valley behind the barn on the left, the blue hills are the Tasmanian mainland. Google Maps
The cemetery was in use for all the settlement periods. During the convict eras, it was only used for free settlers, the prisoners being put in a mass grave. With one exeception. Most of the headstones have fallen down and broken so you don’t see them until you’re on top of them. That’s what the “rocks” in the photos are, remains of headstones.
The Parsonage commands a splendid view of Freycinet’s Peninsula, and the shores at the head of Oyster Bay, Lord’s Bluff, Spring Bay, etc., etc. At its foot is God’s acre. To this we strolled, and with some difficulty read the inscriptions on the tombs. One of these bears the name of “Benjamin Bayley, Esq., late Captain of the 21st Regiment, Royal Scotch Fusiliers, and four years visiting magistrate of this island. Died March the 3rd, 1850, aged 55.” On approaching this our philosophic, yet somewhat irreverent, friend Jones, despite the solemnity of the place burst out the following remark : -“The boss of the shanty lives here, I suppose!” Suppressing a laugh at this, and reproving Jones, we came to a stone, on which were the following lines: ” Sacred to the memory of Mrs Margaret Boyd, beloved wife of Mr. James Boyd, Assistant-Superintendent, Darlington, who, in the fond hope of regaining her lost treasure, health, sought a residence in this remote climate; but, after briefly sojourning here, departed this life in the joyful anticipation of eternal rest, 10th October, 1845, aged 27. This tablet is, also, sacred to the memory of Jamas Andrew and Frederick William Boyd, the infant sons of the above, who died at Pentonville, London, A.D. 1811, aged 21 months and 6 mouths.”
To mark the suffering of her babes,
Who could not tell their grief
To see the infant tears gush forth .
Yet know not why they flow.
To watch their meek uplifted eye
That fain would ask relief,
Yet could but toll their agony,
This was then mother a grief
Though oceans now thy dust divide
The day shall soon appear,
When incorrupt and sanctified
Thoul’t meet in yon bright sphere
Another, sacred to Mrs Daniel Griffiths, etat 33, bore the following beautiful stanzas: –
“Forgive, blest shade, the tributary tear
that mourns thy exit from a world like this ,
Forgive the wish that would have kept thee here,
And stay thy progress to the realms of bliss !
“No more confined to grovelling scenes of night,
No more a tenant pent in mortal clay,
Now should we rather hail thy glorious flight, And trace thy journey to the realms of day.”
One more, and I have done. It stands in a corner, hard by the “phantom moaning of a circle sea, alone : –
HOHEPA TE UMUROA
IMATE HURAK 19th
Here lie the remains of Hohepa To Umuroa, a native of Wanganui, New Zealand, who died July 19th, MDCCCXLVII.”
We turned away sadly from the grave of this stranger who sleeps his last sleep in a strange land. Outside the burial-ground is to be seen a grave. It appeared to us as though its occupant was not considered worthy of being placed within the sacred enclosure. Telle est la vie ! Besides the graves I have noticed there are many others. Over some the roses were blooming ; others are hidden by luxuriant salt-bushes. The fences and walls have fallen down, and cattle trample over the remains of those who once, perchance, were loved.
If the Government is too stingy or too impecunious to expend a few pounds per annum in keeping the last resting place of those who served Tasmania in their day – even though there be some of the despised and down-trodden sleeping near them – in repair, surely there are private individuals whose friends repose there who would not begrudge a trifle to prevent the spot from being desecrated, as it will, if untended, certainly become. Better, far better, to level it to the ground, to wipe it out of man’s remembrance, than to leave it as at present-a disgrace to Government and to those whose relatives are buried there.
Charles Henry Lapham,
Born June 27, 1848
Died June 28, 1848
Samuel Lapham was Superintendent of Convicts. He was dismissed for leniency towards a prisoner, William Smith O’Brien.
Thomas Cherry Adkins
Died 28 June 1890
Aged 42 years
Died 17 July 1942
Aged 94 years.
There is a plaque in the ground nearby:
Thomas Adkins and his wife Rosa were married in Warwickshire, England in 1870. They came to Tasmania in 1884, settling on Maria Island in 1890. Thomas Adkins was Works Manager of the first cement works and died in an accident whilst preparing a sample of cement for the 1890 Melbourne Exhibition. Rosa, aided by her seven children, became a pastoralist and also ran the boarding house. She was the last person to be buried on the island. (First erected by descendents in 1979)
Hohepa Te Umuroa, one of seven Maoris transported for “rebelling against the Queen”.
Benjamin Bayly, Esquire
Late Captain of the 21 Regiment
Royal Scotch Fusiliers
4 years visiting magistrate of this island
Died March 3, 1850. Aged 55.