Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bolton St Cemetery

During the last hols, I met up with E from Vancouver for a day in Wellington. We took the Cable Car uphill, then walked back down to the city via the Botanical Gardens, the Bolton St Cemetery, and Parliament Buildings. We never had time to do much exploring in the old cemetery, but I grabbed a brochure intending to get back there. Today I finally did....

The Bolton St Cemetery has graves of many original European pioneers in the city, but some years ago, many were disinterred to make way for the Motorway. There is now a well maintained memorial trail down through what is left of the cemetery, and it seems that many have worked to honour the memory of those interred there. (It was unfortunate though to discover remnants of a Friday night drinking session, near the burial vault where many remains were re-interred.)

The cemetery has graves of many 'famous' early inhabitants, and also sheds light on aspects of life in Wellington in the 1800s.As you approach the memorial park from the Gardens, this large tomb of Richard John Seddon is the first one you see. (I was surprised to learn the the observatory was re-sited to make way for this monument!) Seddon originally lived in Kumara, where my Scettrini, Payn and Lalor ancestors lived, so he is a Prime Minister we feel a link with.
The gates to the park threw this attractive shadow. After the weather of recent days, it was a bonus to have some sunshine for the walk....
There was this poignant reminder of one who died in WW1.
I was surprised to learn that Wellington had a small Jewish community. Some Jews had emigrated from England, as they could freely set up businesses here in NZ.
I presumed this was an early rendition of a NZ fern, now often used as our symbol.
There were several graves that told sad stories where families sometimes lost several children in a short period, of such diseases as diptheria or scarlet fever.
The upper part of the memorial park is separated from the lower section by this great swathe of modern Motorway.
This headstone took my eye, partly for its elaborate carving, but also because it was in honour of someone born in Jersey (as was my Payn great-grandfather.)
And, with that little wander through history over for the day, I joined my young niece and the extended family for a birthday celebration....


  1. Something I and my partner really have in common is a liking for browsing in cemeteries. It can be sad but also can paint a picture of how much someone was loved. There are all sorts of interesting details to note and then imagine about. Don't quote me, but I don't even think Australia has managed to drive a freeway through a cemetery...yet.

  2. I think putting the motorway through was pretty controversial. Wellington has done a lot of things right, eg the waterfront area has been made very people-friendly, and wandering there is always interesting. But it has this huge love affair with the motorcar that rules too much.