The graves of some 74 Cobar residents who were buried more than 140 years ago at Cobar’s old cemetery on the golf course have been now been acknowledged with a memorial on the site.
Cobar Museum curator Kay Stingemore, who worked with Kevin Walsh (from the Cobar Intermine Golf Challenge committee) to see the project to fruition, officially unveiled the monument on the golf course on Friday.
“The original cemetery was at the southern end of the slag dump, on what is now part of the golf course.
“There are two remaining headstones on the course, but there were at least 74 burials,” Mrs Stingemore found in her research.
“The first known burial was of Patrick O’Grady on March 4, 1872.
“Patrick, who was 36 years old, was suffocated by a fall of earth while digging a tank for the Great Cobar Mine.
“The last burial was Benjamin Franklin, a woodcutter, who died at the age of 62 in September 1881.
“By the time Ben Franklin died, the new cemetery was already in use,” she said.
The are only two remaining headstones at the site and they belong to Thomas Prisk and Thomas Rogers.
“Mr Prisk was a mine captain, originally from Cornwall, who came to Cobar from South Australia,” Mrs Stingemore reports from her research.
“Although he had been employed by the Great Cobar, the previous captain refused to leave.
“There was a very stressful court case, which may have contributed to Thomas Prisk’s death in 1877, aged 63.
“Thomas Rogers was a Methodist preacher and another native of Cornwall.
“He died of rheumatic fever in 1878, aged only 31.”
Mrs Stingemore said the names of those buried in the original cemetery were recorded by local woman Joy Prisk.
“Joy spent many days at the courthouse, painstakingly transcribing the records by hand before they were centralised in Sydney.
“Current museum staff, with the wonders of the internet at their disposal, have been able to check all the information, make some additions and corrections, and also discover a lot of history both about the cemetery and those buried there.
“Joy and other keen local historians have always wanted to have some sort of memorial for those buried at the original cemetery, and with the help of the golfers (especially Kevin Walsh), this is at last happening” Mrs Stingemore said.
“Bronze plaques with a dedication and the name, age and date of death for each person have been placed on rocks near the two remaining headstones.
“It is hoped that in the future interpretation signs will be placed on the walking track with more information about the original cemetery and those buried there.”