Journeys in Cemeteries


Throughout our family history journeys we all undertake the trek to cemeteries to family members from our past. For some this may be close and for others far away. Many are fortunate in that we can still see the headstones of those who have gone before us. For others we may never find the grave or the headstone, mostly because the graves have been lost. In Australia we are more fortunate if we have family members buried in country cemeteries in perpetuity. And so it was that in October 2021, I set out to journey to Kingston in South East South Australia from Adelaide to look at the burial sites of my maternal family.

My mother was born at Naracoorte in May 1930 and the South East was home to her immediate family and relatives. Her parents Henry George COOPER and Phyllis Moira NOSWORTHY were first cousins, there families had arrived in South Australia between 1840 and 1860. as land opened up the families all moved to the South East and settled around Kingston, Lucindale, Wangolina, and Mount Benson. My first stop was the Kingston Cemetery after booking into my accommodation. During my visit to the cemetery i was fortunate to find the graves of family members past and also to meet a distant relative who was a regular visitor to the cemetery.

Cottages in Kingston

The COOPER family were stockman, shearers and laborers and lived around Kingston. Charles COOPER my mothers great grandfather came to South Australia with his parents from County Essex. After marrying Anne Whelan a young Irish girl, he moved with his family to the Kingston area. Charles and Ann can both be found in the Kingston Cemetery along with a number of other Coopers. No marked grave for Henry George COOPER a son and and his wife Helena GIBBS was found. Henry and Helena are my mother’s grandparents. While they are buried in the cemetery but no head stone was found.

Helena GIBBS parents grave was found in the same cemetery. Thomas GIBBS and his second wife Mary IRWIN are buried not far from, Charles and Ann COOPER. If family stories were true Thomas had 23 children. I have only ever been able to find 16. One of whom was my mother grandmother Helen GIBBS. Sometimes known as Selena. Selena married Henry George COOPER. The lived in Kingston all their lives

Rose Elaina Tilbrook COOPER the last daughter of Charles and Ann and sister to Henry, married Herbert George NOSWORTHY. The Nosworthy family settled in the Lucindale area and it is here where they were buried. The Lucindale cemetery was a treasure trove of graves bearing the NOSWORTHY name. So on a wet spring day we rushed around the cemetery to take photos of the graves.

Luckily there was a list of names and the grave location.

Ancestral journeys are not just to look at graves though as country towns have monuments and plaques that may also contain names of relatives such as the Cape Jaffa memorial that honors those lost at sea and the war memorial monuments found in all country towns.

If you have the time, undertaking a ancestral journey can enrich your research and provide a personal understanding of where you came from.

2 thoughts on “Journeys in Cemeteries

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  1. So many stories in cemeteries! Glad you had a good trip. I had a chance to visit a grave on a recent trip. It is a small mortuary plaque on concrete, last exposed in 2018. It had become completely covered again in four years. Thank goodness I could find it because of the earlier photos on Find a Grave!


  2. I so love cemetery excursions but you need to be well prepared don’t you? Nosworthy is a very familiar name to us as we rented a house at Chelmer for a few years from a Graham Nosworthy. He grew the most beautiful orchids in the garden and had the most tremendous greenhouse where he cultivated them. I am a hopeless gardener but do love a good garden.


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