West Terrace Cemetery

The West Terrace Cemetery is South Australia's oldest cemetery, first appearing on Colonel William Light's 1837 plan of Adelaide. The 27.6 hectares (68 acres) site is located in Park 23 of the Adelaide Park Lands just south-west of the Adelaide city centre, between West Terrace, Anzac Highway, Sir Donald Bradman Drive and the Seaford and Belair railway lines. Originally known as the Adelaide Public Cemetery, it is divided into a number of sections for various communities and faiths, including two Catholic areas, as well as Jewish, Afghan, Islamic and Quaker sections.

West Terrace Cemetery
West Terrace Cemetery aerial
Aerial view of the West Terrace Cemetery. Also seen are Anzac Highway and West Terrace
Establishedbefore 1837
Adelaide, South Australia
Coordinates34°56′4″S 138°35′6″E / 34.93444°S 138.58500°ECoordinates: 34°56′4″S 138°35′6″E / 34.93444°S 138.58500°E
Size27.6 hectares (68 acres)
No. of interments>150,000
WebsiteWest Terrace Cemetery (Adelaide Cemeteries Authority)
Find a GraveWest Terrace Cemetery
The Smyth Chapel in the Catholic section of the West Terrace Cemetery was built in 1871.


The Adelaide Park Lands were laid out by Colonel William Light in his design for the city. Originally, Light reserved 2,300 acres for a park, and a further 32 acres (13 ha) for a public cemetery. [1]

Throughout much of its early history the West Terrace Cemetery was plagued with controversy and mismanagement. It was the subject of much public and religious debate and was many times under threat of closure. As early as the 1880s the size of the cemetery was considered insufficient to keep up with demand.

In 1843 the establishment of a Jewish burial area began the distinctive denominational division of the cemetery. In 1845 a Catholic cemetery was established on land adjacent the main public cemetery and in 1849 a third of the public cemetery was given over to the Church of England.[2]

The Smyth Chapel was built in 1871 as a memorial to the Very Reverend Dr John Smyth, Vicar General, who lies buried in the crypt beneath the chapel. It was designed by E. J. Woods in the latter part of 1870 as a result of a competition conducted by the Smyth Memorial Fund and built by Peters and Jones for approximately 472 pounds.

Situated within the Catholic area, the foundation stone was laid on 18 December 1870 by the venerable Archdeacon Russell, Vicar General, and was officially opened and formally consecrated on 22 October 1871.[3]

In 1902, the first crematorium in the southern hemisphere was built and began operating in 1903. For the next 20 years, this was the only crematorium in Australia. A number of famous and important South Australians have been buried in the cemetery and since 2002, the site has been administered by the Adelaide Cemeteries Authority, which also controls a number of other cemeteries within the metropolitan area.

War graves

AIF Cemetery

With concerns from various patriotic associations about soldiers from the First World War without relatives being buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery, a deputation to the Minister of Public Works in February 1920 sought a "Soldiers Lot" not only for these soldiers but also those whose families wished to bury their "soldier loved ones" there. The minister set aside a half an acre of the Light Oval for this purpose, with a monument to be erected by public subscription and soldiers in unmarked graves to be re-interred there.[4] The first burial was in March 1920 but with slow progress of public fund raising the area was not dedicated until Sunday 10 December 1922.[5]

There are buried (at June 2014) 275 Commonwealth service personnel from both World Wars in West Terrace Cemetery whose graves are registered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.[6]

Notable interments or cremations


  1. ^ "The Park Lands". Herald. 6 September 1902. p. 7 – via Trove.
  2. ^ West Terrace Cemetery History, Adelaide Cemeteries Authority
  3. ^ Smyth Chapel, Adelaide Cemeteries Authority
  4. ^ "Deputation to Minister". The Mail. Adelaide. 14 February 1920. p. 2. Retrieved 30 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Dedication of the Soldiers' Cemetery". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 9 December 1922. p. 11. Retrieved 30 May 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ Adelaide (West Terrace) Cemetery, CWGC Cemetery Report.
  7. ^ Symonds, Richard Gilbert (1810 - 1896) Encyclopedia of Australian Science
  8. ^ SYMONDS, Richard Gilbert State library – correspondence

External links

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Abraham Tobias Boas

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B. T. Finniss

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Carl Linger

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German-born intellectual Carl Linger, who had studied at the Institute of Music in Berlin, came to South Australia in 1849 on the Princess Luise. He settled in Gawler, grew potatoes, went broke and settled in Adelaide, where he was far more successful as a musician.

He was the founder and conductor of the Adelaide Liedertafel in 1858 and composer of church music, including the "Ninety-third Psalm", "Gloria", "O Lord who is as Thee" and "Vater unser". For several years he played the harmonium at St Frances Xavier Cathedral.

Performances were given at his funeral by the Adelaide Liedertafel and Brunswick Band, of which he was also a founder and conductor. His remains were buried at the West Terrace Cemetery. Later, as part of the State's Centenary, a monument was built on his grave. Much of Carl Linger's music has not survived, including orchestral works that were extant in Adelaide in the 1930s. However some sacred works, the orchestral motet "O Lord who is as Thee", The Lords Prayer for choir and organ (Vater Unser), and Four Motets in German have been edited by Richard Divall and are to be found on the Music Archive Monash University site, together with his Sechs Zwischenspiele for Orchestra. His surviving eleven songs in both German and English will also be included on the Monash site in the near future.

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Charles Simeon Hare

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Emanuel Solomon

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John Colton (politician)

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John McPherson

John Abel McPherson (28 January 1860 – 13 December 1897) was the first leader of the South Australian United Labor Party from 1892 to 1897. So successful, less than a decade later at the 1905 election, Thomas Price would form the world's first stable Labor government. John Verran led Labor to form the state's first of many majority governments at the 1910 election.

John Morphett

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Jørgen Jensen (soldier)

Jørgen Christian Jensen, (15 January 1891 – 31 May 1922) was a Danish-born Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in battle that could be awarded to a member of the Australian armed forces. Jensen emigrated to Australia in 1909, becoming a British subject at Adelaide, South Australia, in 1914. A sailor and labourer before World War I, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in March 1915, serving with the 10th Battalion during the latter stages of the Gallipoli campaign. After the Australian force withdrew to Egypt, Jensen was transferred to the newly formed 50th Battalion, and sailed for France with the unit in June 1916. On the Western Front, he was wounded during the battalion's first serious action, the Battle of Mouquet Farm in August, and only returned to his unit in late January 1917. On 2 April, his battalion attacked the Hindenburg Outpost Line at Noreuil, where his actions leading to the capture of over fifty German soldiers resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross.

In June 1917, the 50th Battalion was involved in the Battle of Messines; the following month, Jensen, now a corporal, was posted to a training unit in the United Kingdom. He returned to his battalion in October, and was promoted to temporary sergeant in November. In March 1918, the German Spring Offensive was launched, and Jensen fought with his battalion at Dernancourt and Villers-Bretonneux. Shortly after the fighting at Villers-Bretonneux, Jensen was on patrol when he received a severe head wound, and was evacuated to the United Kingdom, then repatriated to Australia, where he was discharged in Adelaide at the end of the war. He worked as a marine store dealer and married in 1921, but died the following year.

Mary Colton

Mary Colton (née Cutting) (December 1822 – 30 July 1898), remembered as "Lady Colton", was an Australian philanthropist and suffragist.

Patrick Boyce Coglin

Patrick Boyce Coglin (15 January 1815 – 22 July 1892) was a businessman and politician in the early days of South Australia.

Coglin was born at Ballynote, in the county of Sligo to an old and honorable family. His uncle, Dr. Boyce, of Tullamore, county Roscommon, was a noted horse breeder. In 1831 he, his parents, brothers and sisters sailed for Tasmania in the Lindsay, captain Fenton, arriving in Hobart on 24 June. After completing his education in Hobart he was articled to Mr. Biggins, a prominent architect and builder. In 1836 or 1837 he left in the Lady Liverpool for South Australia, where he married Mrs. Frances Gerrard, the mother of William Gerrard of Yolo Station at Rapid Bay. Shortly after his arrival he purchased from Charles Beaumont Howard, the Colonial Chaplain, land in Hindley Street and opened a timber-yard, which developed into a flourishing business, bringing in Tasmanian timber, and when the Burra mines were opened up he purchased the site upon which the Napoleon and Royal Exchange Hotels later stood, to cope with the expanded business. He built the first Napoleon Hotel, and was its landlord for many years. He purchased more land about the corner of Waymouth and King William Streets, which he later sold at a great profit. He invested in pastoral properties, in which he was equally successful.

About 1877 he purchased a section of land adjoining Brompton and laid it out as a township, giving it the name of Brompton Park, where resided until his death. Coglin Street is a major thoroughfare in this area.

Reginald Rudall

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Stanley Price Weir

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West Terrace, Adelaide

West Terrace is a street in Adelaide, South Australia. It is the western-most street of the Adelaide city centre. It ends at North Terrace and South Terrace, and connects to Port Road and Anzac Highway.

The southern end of West Terrace, where it connects to Goodwood Road and Anzac Highway, is home to a Rydges Hotel and the West Terrace Cemetery. The northern reaches are occupied by several car dealerships, and hq, Adelaide's largest nightclub. The remainder of West Terrace is occupied by fast food outlets and smaller shops.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital is also located near West Terrace, having moved from premises at the eastern end of North Terrace in 2018.

West Terrace is also the location of Adelaide High School, South Australia's oldest government high school.

Traffic on West Terrace can be very heavy, as it is a major route in and out of the city, and some areas are designated traffic black spots.

There is a tram stop at the junction of West and North Terraces near the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

William David Ponder

William David Ponder (18 March 1855 – 21 May 1933) was an Australian politician who represented the South Australian House of Assembly multi-member seats of Adelaide from 1905 to 1915 and North Adelaide from 1915 to 1921. He represented the United Labor Party until the 1917 Labor split, when he joined the National Party.Ponder was born in London, but his family moved to Adelaide in the same year he was born; his sister was prominent journalist and author Winifred Ponder. His family initially lived in Adelaide and Gawler, but moved to Kapunda in 1860, where he was educated and undertook a printing apprenticeship for the Kapunda Herald. He worked as a compositor for the Government Printing Office and the South Australian Register. He subsequently moved to The Advertiser, where he worked as city collector and wrote a regular cricket column. He was subsequently appointed by Sir Langdon Bonython as a sub-editor for The Express and Telegraph. Later, he was an advertising agent from 1897 to 1918, a director of the Co-Operative Building Society for thirty years, and governor of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. He was also a significant Freemason, occupying a number of positions in that movement. He was an active member of the South Australian Literary Societies' Union; his claim to have first mooted that body's Union Parliament, was refuted by George Hussey.Ponder was first elected to office in 1898 with his election as a City of Adelaide councillor for Young Ward, having been defeated in an attempt for that seat the previous year and in a bid for the Legislative Council in 1901. He was a councillor for six years, but ran for alderman and lost in 1904. Ponder was elected to the Legislative Assembly as a Labor member at the 1905 state election, and in 1915 was reported to have only ever missed one sitting. He was a state MP for sixteen years, being re-elected numerous times. He was expelled from the Labor Party in the 1917 Labor split over his support for conscription, joined the splinter National Party, and was re-elected in 1918 under that banner. However, following the collapse of the National Party's coalition with the conservative Liberal Union, he was defeated in 1921 for the short-lived Progressive Country Party alliance.He died at "Wilcot", his home in Gilberton, in 1933. He had been in good health until a short time before his death, but suffered two heart attacks in short succession. He was buried at West Terrace Cemetery.

Cemeteries in South Australia
Adelaide Cemeteries Authority
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