The Little Grave
This lonely gravestone beside an auto parts store is a reminder of the hardships of a pioneering past.
The first cemetery for what was then the new township of Traralgon was located at what is now a carpark and consisted of 12 graves before expansion of the town required it to be relocated due to growth with the expansion of farming and the discovery of gold in the area nearby. The lone grave is the final resting place of the infant daughter of the second mounted policeman stationed in Traralgon, Constable William O’Brien Sydney Smythe, and his wife Mary.
Prior to moving to Traralgon, the Smythes had already suffered the losses of five children; Mary Anne was their sixth. She was buried in the original Traralgon Cemetery. In 1877 when the railway line was built, the graves were relocated to the new Traralgon Cemetery, except for Mary’s who was left at the request of Constable Smythe who was given permission to leave his daughter’s remains in their original location. A white picket fence around the grave and a tall poplar tree marked the site where she remained, hidden away in what then became a railway yard paddock.
William and Mary eventually moved away from the area, They had more children, in total only two of their 11 children survived. For many years, William returned to Traralgon to visit the grave, but after he passed away it fell into disrepair. By the early 1900s, the gravesite had deteriorated, with the wooden fence rotting and falling down. William Mason, a local man, donated the money to have a proper stone and the site restored. The grave was kept clear and looked after by railway workers for many years.
In the 1990s the site was redeveloped including a new railway station, retail, and commercial development. The local historical society and its president Jim Hood worked to have an agreement that the grave would be maintained after the carpark was built and part of that work.
Know Before You Go
The site can be seen in the carpark between parking bays beside the Repco store.
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