Over a period of 50 years a legion of committed volunteers and professional researchers have combined their efforts to create a database of the burials that took place at East Perth Cemeteries from 1829. A partnership between the National Trust of Western Australia and the Friends of the Battye Library Inc has made this work accessible to the community with the generous support of Lotterywest.
It has been estimated there were over 10,000 people are buried within the grounds of the East Perth Cemeteries. Research has identified over 9,100 burials within the East Perth Cemeteries: 64% are male, 36% are female and 53 of unknown sex. Further 32% are infants, 6.7% are children (a child being defined as aged between 18 months and 12 years), 55% are adults and 214 without any age noted, most likely to be adults. The average age at death of individuals who are buried at the East Perth Cemeteries is 29 years 10 months. This is very young but not unusual in communities where unfamiliar and harsh environments can take a severe toll.
No burial register was kept by either the Church Wardens or the caretakers of the various cemeteries so it is unlikely the exact number will ever be known with any accuracy. Records from all government departments have been interegated from statistical data held within the Registrar Generals files; correspondence within Police Registers; State Gardens Board review documents, which contained many letters from families wishing to be buried alongside their loved ones; Perth Gaol Occurrence Books; Convict General Registers and Department of Lands records. Research from Chipper Funeral Directors have been used, which contain information pertaining to previous internments and addresses of next of Kin. The Uniting Church Archives provided two fabulous maps of the Wesleyan Cemetery. Joy Reindl provided her collection which she had collected during her time as a volunteer at the Cemeteries. Colin Caughey, a current volunteer also provided his records. An extremely valuable set of records is from the Colonial Hospital Admission Registers.
As with all research projects, this can never be considered complete but rather a work in progress. Additions to the database are always welcomed and it is hoped that people will share their own research findings and discoveries. Please share by clicking on CONNECT.