A number of maps exist which tell the story of the development of Coburg Cemetery. One of the earliest dates from 1860 when the cemetery was first planned and a little over 14 acres (5.75 hectares) had been set aside on the eastern boundary of the Coburg Township. The new Trustees had allocated compartments within the cemetery for the major denominations and an area for ‘strangers’. As can be seen the cemetery in 1860 did not front Bell Street as it does today but the southern boundary aligned with Urquhart Street which bounded the Penal Stockade west of Merri Creek.
The Trustees discussed the allocation of the compartments as evidenced by notes scribbled on a letter from George Duncan to his fellow Trustees and the back of an application from a Mr Mitchell for the position of Sexton.
|Back of application for Sexton position, 10 May 1860. Coburg Cemetery Archives - FB-S03-04||Jottings on letter from G Duncan, 16 May 1860 Coburg Cemetery Archives - FB=S04-04|
The early layout of the cemetery is better seen in this Suburban Allocation map of Coburg dating from the 1870s. The allocation of housing blocks south of the original cemetery are clearly shown and numbered 9 to 16. These were later gazetted as part of the cemetery following extensive petitions from the Trustees.
Suburban Allocations, Coburg, 1870s
Source: SLV Map Collection
The Coburg Township Plan (Parish Map) published a little later indicates that these housing blocks are now ‘cemetery extensions’ except for one acre block on the south-west corner allocated to Harris. The road extension of Urquhart Street is likewise now part of the cemetery.
Coburg Township Plan, Parish of Jika Jika, C5128
PROV Series 16171
The digitised Parish maps for all of Victoria are available online by searching the Public Record Office Victoria’s website.
In 1921 Anderson Gown Pty Ltd published a map of Coburg. The cemetery is shown with the current day boundaries. The section as it has been drawn would suggest that the compartments located closest to Bell Street had yet to be laid out. This may well be simply ‘artist licence’ so further research is needed.
The Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works surveyed areas as they prepared sewerage connections. These maps have been digitized and are available on the SLV website. This 1926 plan of the cemetery shows the internal roads and buildings. The caretaker’s residence, office, stables and sheds close to the gates are clearly shown. The buildings in the north-west corner have not yet been identified.
MMBW Plan 2535, Coburg Cemetery, 1926
Source: SLV Map Collection
The current layout of the cemetery can be seen on the following map and plan. The Google Earth scan has been overlayed with a line marking the approximate extension of Urquhart Street on the western side to indicate the area of the original cemetery to the north.
The various compartments of the current day cemetery are shown on this plan.