Ross Cemetery, Ross, West Coast

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Date: About 1884 [unknown]
Location: Ross, Westland District,West Coast, New Zealandmap
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Ross Cemetery.

The Ross Cemetery is located on the top a hill, immediately north of Ross, on the west side of the Ruatapu-Ross Road (State Highway 6), Ross, Westland District, West Coast, New Zealand. Coordinates: -42.88984, 170.82262.


The locations of two historic Ross cemeteries were south of the original township named Ross to the east and south of the second / current Ross township in the west.

Three Ross Cemeteries

The Ross Cemetery is the third burial ground near the town since it sprung up during the gold rushes in the mid 1860s. Ross was first developed on the east side of Jones Creek, the then centre of the gold diggings. After the Ross township had been completely moved to the west side of the creek by mid 1869, the exhumed remains from the First Ross Cemetery, West Coast. were reinterred in the second cemetery, now known as the Old Ross Cemetery, Ross, West Coast.or the Historic Ross Cemetery. Both of those cemeteries were on hills immediately to the south of Ross. The current cemetery is on a hilltop, overlooking the Tasman Sea, but north of Ross.

Ross Cemetery looking toward the Tasman Sea

In 1883 after a road had been constructed between Ross and Hokitika, an application by the Mayor of Ross for a site for the new cemetery near Donnelly's Creek bridge on the new road was successful. A road up the hill to the new cemetery was completed in about mid 1885, but there were burials before then.

On 2 August 2023 the Westland District Council published a proposal of intention to extend the Ross cemetery and to declare land, Rural Section 1351, 1.6997ha, being all the land in Record of Title WS3A/925 and Rural Section 1565, 2.3396 ha, being all the land in Record of Title WS3A/587, currently owned by Council, to be Local Purpose (public cemetery) Reserve. This would then be managed by the Council with the existing and adjoining Ross Cemetery which is already vested in Council a Local Purpose (public cemetery) Reserve.

Ross Cemetery Plots

While a few burials were permitted in the Old Ross Cemetery up until 1914, possibly 1923, the majority of burials since the third cemetery opened have been there.

The first head stone in the Ross Cemetery is for William Dove (30), born in 1854 in Newbury, Berkshire, England, who died in an accident,19 July 1884.
William Dove Headstone
The next recorded burial was for Thomas Coughlan in September 1884
Then Antonio Bassanelli, who died in a mining accident, in October 1884.

In 2023 the Ross Cemetery has no available plots for burials. A new extension on a lower terrace was begun at the beginning of the year, but because of budget constraints will not be completed until April 2024. Residents are concerned that the new extension is being constructed on swampy land once used for collecting spagnum moss. Anyone from the Community who needs to be buried in the interim has to be taken to Hokitika or elsewhere, much to the disappointment of long term residents.


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