Church Street Cemetery, Pretoria, South Africa Back to Search

Normal 2016 7 19   church st cemetery pretoria sth africa   entrance to cemetery   locked tight

Cemetery Details

Location
Description

Pretoria Old (Church Street) Cemetery:

The Church Street Cemetery sits in the centre of the city and Ariel Eyal, Pretoria,
South Africa, on the corner of Church Street and DF Malan Drive in Pretoria. 

The entrance to this cemetery is very bland, and usually locked tight - as many
apartheid's leaders were laid in this cemetery.

The first burials took place in 1867.  

In 1973, Tom Andrews (with the assistance of the Girl Guides) was the first
surveyor of the cemetery.  He documented all graves and later published it as a
book called "Pioneer Sketches" (May 1983).

This cemetery, with 1,185 graves, has the second largest number of British/
Imperial graves from the Anglo-Boer War.

Three Commonwealth war casualties from the First World War are also buried in
the cemetery.

**Noted since 2014 - it is suggested best NOT to attend this cemetery alone
- best to get a local or a tour guide to take you.***

The cemetery is sadly in a very poor start of affairs with most of the graves,
either vandalised or, at best, neglected. The state of the cemetery reflecting the
fact that it is the final resting place of many Afrikaan’s ‘heroes’, like Andries
Pretorius, Paul Kruger and Hendrik Verwoerd.

The easiest way to find ‘Breaker’ Morant’s grave, is to enter the cemetery from
Cowie Street, walk across the cemetery until you hit a formal path that runs
perpendicular to the direction you are walking. Turn to your right and you should
see a small sign (near the ground) on the left-hand side of the path pointing to
the grave.

The grave, which had suffered from neglect and vandalism, stands in a quiet
civilian section of Pretoria’s Church Street cemetery, 50m from the official
Commonwealth military plot containing the remains of fallen soldiers from
Britain, Ireland, Australia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.

(In July 1998 the Morant/Handcock grave was taken under the care of the
 Australian government.)

The central part of this historic cemetery is known as The Heroes Acre.

The silver crosses in The Heroes' Acre are significant and distinctive of the
cemetery.  (The Heroes' Acre is listed as a heritage site).

"The Heroes' Acre (Afrikaans: Die Helde Akker; Dutch: De Helden Akker) is a
 section of Church Street Cemetery in Pretoria, South Africa. It was established
 in 1867, and contains the graves of renowned citizens and public figures. It is
 the burial place of a number of historical figures including Andries Pretorius,
 Paul Kruger and Hendrik Verwoerd. Australian Boer War anti-hero Breaker
 Morant and Peter Handcock (executed by the British for war crimes during the
 Second Anglo-Boer War) are buried here."

The cemetery is a vast green field filled with tombstones of diverse shapes and
styles which are organized in rows - although it has many reports as having
been left in disrepair. As this is a Christian cemetery, the graves are oriented
facing east.  Trees and shrubbery give the cemetery a calm feel.

A total of 275 grave markers had to be replaced (Dec.2011).   In addition, there
is a large plot with graves of casualties from the Transvaal War of Independence.

In cooperation with the Tshwane/Pretoria Municipality, the border of the military
plots will be developed (Dec 2011) further with the establishment of horticulture.

Within the cemetery is a section  "HEROES ACRE" - where the military graves are
placed.

Submitted by Julianne T Ryan.   19/7/206.  Lest we forget.

Read more...

Names

Showing 8 people of interest from cemetery

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HULL, George

Service number 294
Private
3rd Queensland Mounted Infantry
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 26 Jan 1869

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LETTE, Louis Frances John

Service number 81
Trooper
1st Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 1871

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SPIERS, Harry

Service number 1016
Trooper
2nd New South Wales Mounted Rifles
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 20 Jul 1881

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MORANT, Henry Harbord

Service number 37
Lieutenant
Bushveldt Carbineers (BVC)
British Army
Born 9 Dec 1864

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THORPE, Frederick Beal

Service number 6
Trooper
3rd Victorian Imperial Bushman
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)

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GALVIN, Thomas Joseph

Service number 96
Private
1st Tasmanian Mounted Infantry Contingent
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 30 Jun 1870

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HANDCOCK, Peter Joseph

Service number 488
Shoeing-Smith
1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 17 Feb 1868

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KNOX, Edwin

Service number 450
Private
Victorian Citizen Bushmen
Australian and Colonial Military Forces (Boer War / Boxer Rebellion)
Born 1878