information is available for the period April 1853 to May 1854 leading up to
the appointment of men of standing to represent the religious denominations
in the Brighton district and why it took so long. One possibility is
that the Stipendiary Magistrate for the County of Bourke may have called a
public meeting as was the case with St. Kilda Cemetery,
but no such notice has been found for Brighton. Suffice to say,
Archibald McMillan played a central role during this period and appears to
have taken a leading role in the establishment of the cemetery.
A native of Greenock, near Glasgow, Scotland, McMillan migrated in October
1839 on board the David Clark as an assisted immigrant with
his wife Katherine née McTaggert (d 1880) and large family. He
found work as a
stonemasons labourer and learnt farming part-time, saving enough money to purchase
42 acres at the end of Kooyong Road where he went on to become a resourceful and well
respected farmer as one of a few to make a living from the
land within Dendy’s Estate.
meeting was held at the Little Brighton Hotel on 29 May 1854 to appoint
trustees of the “Elsternwick New Cemetery” as it was described. The
Argus newspaper went on to write;
…It is to be hoped that no time
will be lost in carrying out so desirable an object as the completion of the
necessary arrangements, in order to make the cemetery available for the
inhabitants of this neighbourhood as soon as practicable.
1853, McMillan wrote to the Colonial Secretary possibly seeking what further
steps were required to expedite proceedings. It took over eight months
before the following reply was received;
Colonial Secretary’s Office
Melbourne, 31st August 1854
With reference to your letter
of the 19th December last respecting the Cemetery at Brighton situate to the
East of Elsternwick, Parish of Prahran, I have the honor [sic] to inform you
that it will be necessary in the first instance to submit the names of such
gentlemen as may be willing to act as Trustees for the approval of the
Lieutenant Governor, in conformity with the Act Legislative Council clause 2
of 19th Victoria No 12.
2. His Excellency would
wish when approving of the Trustees, that each Religious Denomination should
be represented by them.
I have the honor [sic] to be,
Your most obedient Servant