Chinese Burning Towers – Beechworth, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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Chinese Burning Towers

Constructed in 1857, mourners used these towers to burn offerings of paper prayers and gifts for the afterlife. 


The discovery of gold at Ballarat in 1851 sparked Victoria’s famous gold rush of the 1850s. This led to the most significant event in the evolution of the state of Victoria, the mass migration of people from across the globe to the region hoping to strike it rich. It’s believed that at the height of the rush, 6,000 miners arrived in the region each week. Gold was also discovered on the outskirts of Beechworth in Spring Creek in 1852.

Many Chinese nationals converged on Beechworth seeking fortune around the late 1850s. As the population in Beechworth grew, so to did the need for specialized services to cater to the cultural needs of the Chinese miners.

A section of the Beechworth Cemetery was also allocated. This site is complete with burning towers, altar, and footstones. The towers were constructed in 1857 and the altar in 1984. Mourners used the towers to burn offerings of paper prayers and gifts for the afterlife. 

It’s estimated around 2,000 Chinese gold-seekers and settlers are buried in this section of the cemetery. 

Know Before You Go

Located within the Beechworth Cemetery, the towers are located at the northern section of the cemetery.

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