Pioneers' eternal resting place
IN THE 1840s Commissioner Rolleston subdivided two smaller holdings from the vast Jimbour run.
They were Cooranga to the north and Cumkillenbar to the east.
The latter passed through several hands until it came into the possession of Thomas Delacey Moffatt in the 1860s.
It was about this time the cemetery was commenced and today it is the only remnant of the old station still visible.
Just who was buried there first is lost in time.
By the 1980s the old cemetery was deteriorating and neglected. Local volunteers fenced it cleaned up the fallen trees and mowed it. A plaque was erected with all the known names of those buried there.
The area was settled in the early 20th century, so it was used extensively by the pioneers.
With only horse transport, local cemeteries were a necessity.
The first grave to have a headstone was that of Thomas Luff who had settled nearby and called his property Sunningvale. At time he also worked on Cumkillenbar and died at the age of 50 in 1880. His headstone is inscribed 1881.
There are many tragic stories behind the ageing fences and headstones.
George Burnham was only 27 and had a wife and two children. He had come recently from Forrest Hill.
One day he was gored by a cow and died in hospital.
The grave of Margaret Hope is a reminder of the short lives of some pioneer- ing women. She died at 39 from kidney disease.
Two and a half years later, while their father was delivering milk to the cheese factory, three of her boys decided to go swimming in the nearby dam.
James, the eldest, got into difficulties and sank beneath the surface. His broher, Robert, ran to get help but it was too late as James had drowned. He was buried beside his mother in the Cumkillenbar cemetery.
One family has three generations buried in the old cemetery. George Ross came from Maitland and was married to Mary Clark. In old age he and his wife retired to Kaimkillenbun where they both passed away and were buried in the old cemetery.
Catherine married Harry Myers. Though they had a large family, they lost Victor as a baby and Willie as a little boy. Another son, Henry, died from appendicitis.
For Catherine, the funerals at the Cumkillem- bar cemetery were not over. Her mother's was in 1930 and her husband Harry's in 1941.
There were then three generations there. Catherine's wish was to join them and, in 1957, her turn came.