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As the access and availability of genealogy records continues to improve, there has been an increase in families heading to the Snowy Monaro to find out more about their ancestors. 

During this venture to learn more about their ancestors and the interesting stories of relatives past, more families than ever before are taking an interest in visiting the region’s cemeteries. 

The Michelago Cemetery offers a window in the history of district when the earliest European settlers arrived. From bushrangers roaming the mountain ranges to one of Australia’s leading political and military figures, the cemetery is one of the most popular in the region for visitors. 

Buried in the Michelago Cemetery is Sir Granville De Launne Ryrie. Born in Michelago in 1865, Ryrie enjoyed a distinguished political and military career. Ryrie served in the Second Boer War and  World War One. In September 1919, Ryrie was promoted to commander of the Australia Imperial Force in Egypt. 

Buried in the Michelago Cemetery in 1886, Garrett Cotter is a well known name across the Canberra region with the Cotter River and Cotter Dam in the Australian Capital Territory named after him. A convict, Cotter was born in County Cork in 1802. 

Noelene Whiting, of Snowy Monaro Regional Council’s Environmental Management team, oversees the management of the council run cemeteries. Ms Whiting has noticed a rise in the number of people visiting cemeteries across the Snowy Monaro. 

“Cemetery trails are becoming increasingly popular as people have better access to family records when researching their ancestors,” Ms Whiting said.

“Our cemeteries provide a history of the towns and localities in the region. There’s a lot of interesting information at each cemetery.”

Council has made significant improvements to most cemeteries in the Snowy Monaro with driveways upgraded, paths repaired and signage installed to provide more detailed information about each site. 

“In the last few years, significant upgrades have occurred to ensure each cemetery is accessible and well maintained,” Ms Whiting said.

“Signage has been erected to provide visitors with the history of the cemetery and of the people buried there. 

In Cooma, the Christ Church Cemetery was the earliest official cemetery on the Monaro. It is the resting place for many of the district’s early European settlers and ancestors of local families. 

Buried at Christ Church Cemetery is John Lambie, the public official of the district and first magistrate to adjudicate in Cooma. 

People seeking assistance to find the burial locations for their ancestors are able to contact Ms Whiting on 1300 345 345. 

“I can help people find where their relatives have been laid to rest. We have extensive burial records as do many of the local historical societies,” Ms Whiting said. 

A list of the region’s cemeteries is available on council’s website, alongside directions and historical information.

  • Issue #78
    June 2021
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