Devonport City Council is seeking community input on its draft Don Congregational Cemetery Master Plan 2022-2032, which is aimed at sustainably managing the site for current and future community needs for the next 10 years.
Council sought community feedback on the top priorities for management of the cemetery through a survey, which attracted 90 responses earlier this year.
Devonport Mayor, Councillor Annette Rockliff said Council was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest in the historically significant cemetery, with the majority of respondents based in Devonport and 9% from interstate.
Survey respondents were asked for their suggestions to improve the cemetery. The top three improvements suggested were:
• General maintenance (weed control, clean).
• Historical and interpretive information (on site and online).
• Plot maintenance/restoration.
Please take the time to review the master plan and provide your feedback, as your input is valued and will help shape the future management of this historic property.
The draft Master Plan can be viewed via the link below and also feedback can be submitted via the survey until 9am on Monday, 31 May 2021. A hard copy of the survey is also available online here or at Council reception, or by contacting Council at email@example.com or calling 03 6424 0511.
The Congregational Cemetery is just under one acre of public open space in ownership of Devonport City Council, located at 207 Stony Rise Road.
It is the second smallest of the four cemeteries along this road and is diagonally opposite to St. Olave’s Anglican Cemetery (50m to the north) and 350 metres in a straight line from the General Cemetery (to the south-east).
The Congregational Cemetery is a small burial ground, with the older headstones dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Cemetery is one of the oldest in Tasmania. At rest in this historical patch of ground are many of the Don Pioneers, many of whom were the original pioneers of the City of Devonport and its surrounding district.
There are over 700 known recorded burials and a number of unmarked sites. The first recorded burial is 17 October 1865 of Elizabeth June and Jane Hodgkiss. The historical record is incomplete.
The cemetery is closed to new burials, with only reserved plots and re-openings available.
The site is permanently registered on Tasmania’s Heritage Register due to its identification as a place of importance to Tasmania, and Tasmanians, because of its connection to the State’s history, culture, and society.
Devonport City Council, being the cemetery manager, has a range of important legal obligations and duties as listed in the Burial and Cremation Amendment Act 2019.
For example, cemetery managers are responsible for:
- the correct handling and interment (burial) of human remains;
- providing public access to cemeteries;
- administration and record-keeping; and
- general maintenance and upkeep of cemeteries.
As per the Act (section 34.3) maintenance of vaults, graves or monuments are generally not the responsibility of cemetery managers.
However, with the passing of time Council may be obligated to repair vaults, graves or monuments that present a risk to public health or safety.